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Basel

Beautiful town this time of year

sunny 5 °C
View Basel on kmclean's travel map.

This past weekend we didn’t want to stray too far with school actually getting into full swing, but we couldn’t resist taking just a little trip. We spent Friday night in Basel, and for a small city it really has a lot to offer. It’s a really neat city because it lands right on the point where Germany, France, and Switzerland meet. It’s just too bad the city is in Switzerland; that makes it so expensive! It’s really well connected to the French, German, and Swiss rail lines and easyjet flies in and out to quite a few destinations, so we always end up just passing through and this time we figured it’d be worth a stay. We spent the night with a couchsurfer and had another great experience.

The first day there we just started wandering around a bit and we came across the “Basler Weihnachtsmarkt” – Christmas market. Christmas markets here are a big deal I guess, and every village has one. They sell mostly crafts and treats rather than vegetables like the regular markets, which still go on during the Christmas market season. The Basel one was really great, although expensive. We enjoyed some glühwein there and then went on to the Basler Kunstmuseum. It’s a really fantastic art gallery. It’s three and half floors of the most amazing art; masterpieces from the 15th century all the way to the modern “Arte Povera” work, which I have to say I didn’t really understand. Either way, it was a great experience and definitely a “must-see” in Basel.

The next day we went out for a $6 coffee then ate our packed lunches on the water. We quickly figured out why there was one else around – as soon as we dropped a crumb a pigeon would come, and then another, and within a few minutes there were dozens of them. A few minutes later the sea gulls came, and that’s when we took off, finishing our sandwiches on the go. That day we went to the Basel history museum, which is in an old church in old town. The city/national history museums are always my favourite, because you learn so much about the place you’re visiting.
Another neat thing about Basel, and I think Switzerland in general, is the language. Swiss German is quite a bit different than “standard” or “high” German, and when the locals realized we don’t speak Swiss German, they started speaking to us in English rather than high German. We were talking to our host who had been living in Basel for a while about it, and he said it’s pretty common in Switzerland for English to be someone’s second language after Swiss German, rather than standard German. It’s even more common to be spoken to in French before high German once they realize you don’t understand. It’s a weird thing about German – nobody actually speaks it. Everyone has their own local dialect.

For a small place Basel has a lot to do and is really well connected. Overall we had a great time in Basel, and I’m sure we’ll be back again before the year’s over, hopefully not just passing through!


Here are the pictures.

Posted by kmclean 20:16 Archived in Switzerland Tagged art museums markets cathedrals christmas basel couchsurfing Comments (0)

Arrived in Split

Finally our trip has started

sunny 30 °C
View Summer 2012 on kmclean's travel map.

We arrived in Split this morning at 8:00 am. I definitely didn’t consider how difficult a 6:20 am flight would be to get to and catch. Luckily there’s an airport bus that leaves from Neunburg every hour – even at 4:00 am! – to the Basel airport. Meike drove us to the bus stop (we owe her big time!) and we caught the flight with no problems. Also, EasyJet doesn’t seem to be as bad as it can be made out to be. Of course there are “no frills”.. no drinks, snacks, pillows, towelettes, or headphones, but for the price and a one hour flight, we had no issues.

Our first view of Croatia was absolutely beautiful; the Split airport is surrounded by mountains and palm trees. Germany is beautiful, but I think Croatia is so stunning because it’s so different from what we’re used to seeing in Canada. The drive from Basel to Heitersheim looked surprisingly similar to a drive through the Valley. Anyway, our first day in Split was action packed. We had the worst time finding our apartment and ended up walking around the old town and then through it, and we somehow ended up on top of a mountain in a forest park. After an hour of trekking with our heavy packs, we made it, and discovered that the apartment was actually only a 10 minute walk from the centre of the old town. Our apartment was great and the host Ivan was very helpful – he even gave us a quick tour of the city as soon as we checked in. The first day in Split we toured around the old town and explored Diocletian’s palace. It’s quite extravagant. We also went to the ethnographic museum, where you can climb to the roof and catch an amazing view of the city. It was well worth the 10 kunas it cost. We checked out the market to get some groceries and then went home for lunch. By the end of a busy day touring around we’re exhausted, so we’re going to get some rest and get ready for tomorrow!

Update: Here are some of our pictures from Split.

Posted by kmclean 17:47 Archived in Croatia Tagged germany croatia flights split basel easyjet Comments (0)

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