Written by Wildcat Dianne on 14 Apr, 2012
When I stayed with my friend Monica near Biella, Italy, I got to sample some great Northern Italian food including the staples of pizza and pastas. But the funniest and most interesting part of this traveler's first time trip to Italy was sampling an…Read More
When I stayed with my friend Monica near Biella, Italy, I got to sample some great Northern Italian food including the staples of pizza and pastas. But the funniest and most interesting part of this traveler's first time trip to Italy was sampling an Easter treat called the Columbi.
The first time I had the Columbi, it was at Ristorante Ioris on Easter Sunday. After a gazillion courses of great food, I was ready to surrender to the food gods but I remembered my late beloved Nana always saying, "I always leave room for dessert!" Knowing I would need to be taken out of the restaurant in a wheel barrow I anyway put any ideas of diet to death and indulged. The Columbi is an Easter one-layer angel food cake that is flavored with lemon and almond extract. It is topped with sliced almonds and confectioners sugar. You see it in restaurants and in grocery stores throughout Italy at Easter time. I enjoyed the Columbi and didn't have to be carted out of the restaurant in a wheel barrow.
Easter Monday is also a big holiday in Europe, and Monica, her husband Luca, son Alberto, and I were invited to Luca's family for dinner. Luca is from another small village near Biella in Piedmonte, and he grew up near an old church that I took pictures of before going inside his mother's house for dinner. Luca was honored an outsider took pictures of his church, but I love old churches and architecture and take pictures of them all of the time. After feasting on antipasti and ravioli and other goodies, it was time for dessert. Wondering if I was going to need a second seat for my flight to Amsterdam later that week, I once again succumbed to the Columbi that Luca's mother put before us. Oh boy! Once again I enjoyed the Columbi very much, and picked at some almonds that were left on the serving plate. Both Monica, Luca and his family noticed my enjoying the Columbi and commented on it.
The night before I left Italy for The Netherlands, Monica and Luca said they had a little present for me for my birthday that was three days away. It was a big bag and inside was, you guessed it, a Columbi from the local market in a box. I laughed about it and Monica and Luca said it would be something for me to enjoy when I got to the Netherlands for my birthday. Now the fun part was lugging that on the plane without damage or confiscation from security like they do here in the airports.
After a train ride from Biella to Novarra and a bus to the airport in Milano in my suitcase, I get to the check-in desk at Milano Malpensa and the girls at the desk opened my bag to make sure I had nothing illegal in there. They got a good giggle after seeing my Columbi, and I told them my birthday was in two days and it was for me to celebrate the day Italian style.
The Columbi made it to the Netherlands in one piece but it was flattened. I offered some of it to my friends for my contribution for dessert, but my friend Monique, who is diabetic, told me to save it. I shared half of it in Germany before sealing it up in a bag for the trip home to America where the remaining pancake of Columbi was consumed by Mom and me and probably the six dogs.
So that is the tale of the Traveling Columbi for you.
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 07 Apr, 2012
On the way to Colmar and Strasbourg by train, we had to stop in Breisach, Germany to take the bus into France. Why do you ask, "how come you didn't take the train all the way into France instead of having to take the…Read More
On the way to Colmar and Strasbourg by train, we had to stop in Breisach, Germany to take the bus into France. Why do you ask, "how come you didn't take the train all the way into France instead of having to take the train then the bus to France?" History is responsible for the reason why one has to travel from Freiburg, Germany to France this way, and it will be explained later on in this journal entry.
Breisach is a small town of about 16,500 people in the Baden-Wurtemburg region of Germany. In the old days it was known as Altbreisach, but now it is formally known as Breisach-an-der-Rhine since it is located on the Rhine River. Breisach dates from Celtic times when it was run by Celtic princes and the name Breisach is Celtic for "breakwater." This little city on the Rhine has been through centuries of war, occupation and changes in owner ship starting from Celtic times. The Romans occupied Breisach and called it Brisacus.
During the 13th Century, the Munster of Breisach, St. Stephenmunster was constructed in the Romanesque style of architecture and remains the main attraction of Breisach today. During the 16th Century, Breisach was a stronghold of the Holy Roman Empire and remained the city's main owner for the next three centuries. That was when Breisach wasn't under French attack. The first French attack on Breisach occured in 1638 and after 10 years of war and French occupation, Breisach was given to France in 1648 and was under French control for the next 49 years. In 1697, Breisach was returned to the Holy Roman Empire as terms with the Treaty of Riswick (Riswjk). The War of Spanish Succession began shortly after this and once again in 1703, the French occupied Breisach for another 11 years. Then the Treaty of Rastatt returned Breisach to Holy Roman Empire control until the Austrians annexed the city in 1790. During the French Revolution and wars between France and German states, Breisach suffered damage from the battles that occured there. Breisach was finally returned to German hands for good in 1805 when it was annexed to the state of Baden.
Now to answer your question about how history affected how one can travel from Freiburg, Germany to Alsace, France. In March 1945, the Allies began their final push into Germany by crossing the Rhine River at the French border. Breisach suffered about 85% destruction during this time and that included the rail lines. The French side of the Rhine River and its rails suffered serious damage and never was able to rebuild its rail lines into Germany. So that is why I had to travel from Freiburg to Breisach and then take a crowded sweaty bus into France and Colmar from there.
But I made the best of my little layover in Breisach by walking the streets and checking out the little shops and taking pictures of St. Stephenmunster. There was a little fair going on in Breisach that day for the local wineries but I was too early to sample any wines, but I did discover a knitting store on Breisach's main street and went inside to browse around. I found a beautiful turquoise cotton yarn that changed into several shades of light and dark turquoise and grabbed four skeins of it. The shop's owner showed me some ideas for knitting with this yarn, but to this day I haven't been able to figure out what to do with this yarn. While it was outside on the back porch in a container, my puppies Remy, Dustin and Dewey thought it would make a great toy to play with and one skein is scattered through the back yard. Oh well. Some day I will make something with my Breisach German yarn!
Except for the St. Stephensmunster and some fairs, there is not a lot to see in Breisach, but it is worth a short trip whenever you are heading into France via Freiburg.
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 21 Jan, 2012
My last day in Europe in 2011 culminated with a day trip to Basel, Switzerland, the third largest city in that little mountain country and is located at the French, German and Swiss borders. It was the only place I visited during my short…Read More
My last day in Europe in 2011 culminated with a day trip to Basel, Switzerland, the third largest city in that little mountain country and is located at the French, German and Swiss borders. It was the only place I visited during my short visit to Switzerland, but I can say "I've been there, done that!" and got my Swiss flag for my collection to prove it.
Basel is a city that dates from Ancient Roman times, but archeologists have discovered evidence that the Celtics had lived there at one time before the Romans arrived in the area. When the Romans came to the Basel area around 374 AD, they named their newest settlement Augusta Raurica and they had built a castle where the Basel Munster now stands. Basel's strategic location along the Rhine River made the city an important shipping mecca along with a place where merchants could gather and several guilds were established.
In the 12th Century, many Jewish people settled in Basel and funded the money for the only bridge over the Rhine River. The Jewish people of Basel had a good life until the 14th Century plague that swept most of Europe for the previous two years hit Basel in June 1349. As it happened in other European cities, the Jews of Basel were blamed for bringing on the plague and several of them were arrested, tortured, and eventually executed by the guilds of Basel.
Basel has always been a city of neutrality but in 1499, it had been plundered during the Swabian War. The Treaty of Basel ended this war and gave the city of Basel exemption from the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian's taxes and splitting them from the Holy Roman Emperor. Basel became part of the Swiss Confederation as its 11th canton in 1501 and was the only canton asked to join instead of being forced into the confederation. Reformation hit Basel in 1529, and Basel then became a Protestant state and the Munster went from becoming a Catholic church to a Protestant one.
I enjoyed my short visit to Basel and enjoyed the scenery and walking the narrow cobblestone roads that go through the city. It has not lost a lot of its old-world charm. But it was an expensive city to visit to me as is most of Switzerland. I was searching for a place for lunch where I could experience some Swiss cuisine but many of the restaurants who had menus outside their establishments cost a mini fortune. So I was content to get a open-faced mozzarella cheese, basil and tomato sandwich at one of the little bakeries in downtown Basel and enjoyed a little picnic on the stairs leading up to the Basel Munster. It was a great way to people watch and enjoy the sunny warm Swiss day.
Trains are the best way to get to Basel and there are several of them that leave Freiburg and other cities nearby. Remember that Basel, Switzerland is not part of the European Union, so it's advisable to exchange your Euros or Dollars for Swiss Francs and then if you have money leftover when you leave Switzerland, you can switch back to the currency of your choice. If you are looking for a little taste of Switzerland in a short period of time like I did, Basel, Switzerland is the place to go.
Written by Ozzy-Dave on 07 May, 2003
Looking for a mascot
It’s been the Swiss capital since 1848. Toblerone was invented here. Einstein even published his theory of relativity here in 1905. But Berne is most famous for its bears.The city’s founder, Berchtold V, named it after the first thing he slayed…Read More
Looking for a mascot
It’s been the Swiss capital since 1848. Toblerone was invented here. Einstein even published his theory of relativity here in 1905. But Berne is most famous for its bears.
The city’s founder, Berchtold V, named it after the first thing he slayed on the site and today the bear is the adopted mascot, decorating everything from flags to chocolates. A walk around this compact, architectural, historical and scenic museum of 140,000 is bound to reveal some bears, but you’ll soon realise there is so much more.
By the numbersThe train station’s Information Centre (1) has a good, free map and organises many excursions, including half-day walking tours for 15Sfr. We study the map and design our own tour for free.
It’s still early and the grand buildings surrounding the Barenplatz and Bundesplatz (2) guard a handful of frenetic market stalls, so we stock up on picnic essentials. Expansive views to the south highlight Berne’s unique position, occupying high ground on a lush peninsula created by the Aare River.
Burned in 1405 and rebuilt in sandstone, the arcaded streets of the city have changed little in 600 years. Berne is now a World Heritage Site, listed by UNESCO as one of the world’s most important cultural assets.
With four miles of promenades, almost as much exists above ground as below. It’s the largest shopping mall in Europe and Karen’s eyes sparkle as we stroll down Marktgasse (3), past Theaterplatz, stopping at a small chocolatier with a window display that screams indulgence. Inside Tschirrens we sniff out the truffles, settling on a Champagne and Dark selection to compliment the picnic. A free sample of Honey truffles is our unexpected prize.
It’s nearly 10am and we return to the Theaterplatz for the hourly stage show at the city’s oldest building, the 12C Zytgloggeturm (clock tower).(4) There are almost a hundred people here now and sure enough, at a few minutes to the hour, the bells ring and a parade of mechanical figures that includes – you guessed it – bears, perform for the crowd as Father Time struts his stuff.
The crowd disperse and artistic diversions lead us across the river to the Kunsthalle (Art Gallery) (5), dedicated to promising newcomers and displaying a kaleidoscope of (soon to be known) local talent. Architecture follows art in the Munsterplatz, Berne’s cathedral (6)towering over the city in a display of 15C Gothic pride.
We’re both captivated by its exterior portal, an intricate sculpture of the Last Judgement that omits no detail. Our Information Centre literature, a typically monotonous, English translation that would simultaneously cure insomnia and cause dyslexia, redeems itself with two notable facts:The tower’s spire (that affords 360-degree views) is the highest in Switzerland (closed today) and, at the time it was built, the cathedral was large enough to accommodate half the population.
Window shopping continues in earnest down Gerechtigkeitsgasse and we reach the Nydegggbrucke, pausing to enjoy the sun and views over the surrounding district. There’s commotion in the adjacent Bear Pit(7), home to the city’s mascot since the 15C, as two males argue. I’d argue too if I had to live in a concrete bunker because somebody killed one of my ancestors and named a town after me. Bears are extinct in the region now, but still the charade continues with these imported icons.
We retreat to a small, grassy park and enjoy our picnic, a feast of breads, cheese, meats and truffles. Nearby, a resident charges an electric car at a refuelling station while another repairs a delicate fresco on a crumbling, 16C façade. It’s a magic moment of contrasts and we smile.
Priceless antiques cram the arcaded shops of Postgasse and soon we reach the Town Hall(9) hidden in a small Gothic square lined with a splendid collection of buildings and another of Berne’s fascinating fountains, its subject holding aloft a bear-emblazoned flag.
There’s time for more cultural pursuits and we finish the tour with a visit to the Kunstmuseum (Gallery of Fine Arts)(10), an unashamedly biased fine art collection dedicated mainly to Switzerland’s favourite son – Paul Klee. There are fine canvases from Cezzanne and Picasso through to Pollock, but the majority of space displays Klee’s bright, challenging and comical work – an appropriate end to a day out in this historical and scenic wonderland.
Need to Know More?Refer to the map for directions; allow a full day at leisure to cover this seven-kilometre route.
* Most museums are closed on Monday, and you’ll find exciting morning markets in the Bundesplatz on Tuesday and Saturday.* If you want to feed the bears, you can do it any day for 3Sfr.* It costs 3Sfr to climb the Munster tower (if it’s open) – Tue-Sat, 10-5 and Sun 11-5.* The Kunsthalle and Kunstmuseum are both open Tue-Sun, 10-5 and cost 6Sfr.
***** DAVE’S FAVES are the views from the many bridges and squares around town; exciting, fresh exhibits in the Kunsthalle; the arcaded streets and shopping for chocolates.
Tourist magnet of the northAn hour by train from Basel, Lucerne lacks the former’s cosmopolitan swank, but this tourist epicentre provides charm, history, tradition, and idyllic waterfront beauty.Frescoed streets and wooden bridges beckon, and cafes provide abundant opportunity to blow the froth off an extra…Read More
Tourist magnet of the northAn hour by train from Basel, Lucerne lacks the former’s cosmopolitan swank, but this tourist epicentre provides charm, history, tradition, and idyllic waterfront beauty.
Frescoed streets and wooden bridges beckon, and cafes provide abundant opportunity to blow the froth off an extra creamy latte and escape the masses. And then there’s the lake. Skirted by forest and framed by 6,000-foot peaks, the landscape is breathtaking.
Let’s take a walk (and cruise) around Lucerne, Switzerland’s tourist centre of the north.
By the numbersOn an overcast morning in May, the friendly, English speaking staff at the Visitor Centre (1) have few diversions and load us with literature, including a self-guided city tour that we adapt to our own interests.
Shrouded in mist, the lake’s indefinable features resemble an impressionist painting and we stroll riverside to the 17C Baroque-style Jesuit Church (2)with its feast of interior frescoes. Artwork also features inside the 15C Spreuerbrucke (3), an eerie, wooden, walk-through canvas of paintings illustrating Europe’s gruesome surrender to the 14C plague. Poor light has Karen lingering to examine the work but has me looking over my shoulder.
A short, uphill walk leads to the old town wall (4), providing panoramic views and a close-up of its decorated watchtower. Built in Basel in 1385, this beautifully ornate clock still keeps impeccable time.Karen is unmoved. "Of course," she says. "This is Switzerland!"
Near Lowenplatz the tourist crowds swell, divining us to the Lion Monument (5). Mark Twain coined this monument to the Swiss Guard, "the saddest, most moving piece of rock in the world." Carved from a cliff-face in the 19C by Lucas Ahorn, it commemorates the 760 men who died defending Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI against marauding French revolutionaries in 1792. Even amidst today’s crowd, the personal impact of this iconic memorial is undiminished.
Back in the Old Town at the Weinmarkt (6) we find fairytale, 16C frescoed buildings and gothic fountains, stopping to enjoy our picnic and a mug of Kafi Laz from a small café. This Schnapps-based coffee is a local favourite, but needs loads of sugar to tame its fiery impact. Karen’s love of sugar [sic] has her returning for seconds.
Inside the nearby Picasso Museum (7) we enjoy a display of the master’s later works, including a handful of ceramics and a remarkably comical and insightful collection of photographs, before we cross the river again at the Kapellbrucke (8), Europe’s oldest wooden bridge. Devastated by fire in 1993, many of the 100 roof paintings in this 14C wonder have been restored, but hordes of camera-toting, flag bearing tour groups sour our appreciation.
Emerging unscathed, we return to the train station and nearby dock with most of the afternoon to enjoy the lake. Sadly, the famous Lucerne paddlesteamers aren’t operating today, but we’re spoiled for alternatives with dozens of destinations on offer. Indulgence prevails, and we opt for a three-hour cruise(9) along the length of the lake to Fluelen – an inspired choice since it connects with a return train to Basel.
For the price of a pizza we close the day aboard MV Lucerne, dining on a sublime soup of mist, wild forests and secret villages. No mountain peaks today, just teasing glimpses of the Pilatus and Rigi giants through occasional breaks in the pea-soup haze, but hey, there’s always next time.
Need to Know More?Refer to the map for directions; this tour covers around five kilometres at an easy pace, leaving enough time for an afternoon lake cruise.
* Any day is good, although some museums close Monday.* Be prepared for rain, Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s wettest towns.* The Picasso Museum costs 6Sfr and is open 10-6 daily.* You’ll find good cafes along Rathausquai and Nationalquai.* If you’re into mountains, consider staying in Lucerne and plan a trip up nearby Mount Pilatus – the sunrise and sunsets here come recommended by Mark Twain and a stellar cast of thousands.* Free lake transport comes with your Euro or Swiss rail pass but if you have to pay, 12Sfr will get an hour of floating solitude. Frequent services link dozens of lakeside destinations all year round. The three-hour trip to Fluelen is highly recommended - it touches some of the lake’s most remote and exciting corners, and Fluelen trains connect with Zurich’s main north-south line.
***** DAVE’S FAVES are the illustrated history provided by Lucerne’s covered wooden bridges; views from the Old Town wall; lump-in-the-throat beauty of the Lion Monument; a candid collection of Picasso photographs, and the incomparable atmosphere of the lake.
Written by Ozzy-Dave on 08 May, 2003
Let’s go exploringBasel woos visitors with a mix of culture, fun and style, but those who linger reap even greater rewards from this Renaissance capital of Switzerland’s forgotten north.Although the country’s flattest region, the Rhine’s green belt and surrounding landscape of forests and villages provides…Read More
Let’s go exploringBasel woos visitors with a mix of culture, fun and style, but those who linger reap even greater rewards from this Renaissance capital of Switzerland’s forgotten north.
Although the country’s flattest region, the Rhine’s green belt and surrounding landscape of forests and villages provides tempting diversions for nature lovers and explorers. Here are some destinations you won’t find in many guidebooks.
Lange ErlenBus 36 heads east to this free botanical park adjacent the Wiese River. This is family-friendly territory, where kids get hands-on with a variety of farm animals and birds while many different species of deer roam larger enclosures throughout the park.
We enjoy the animals, but the adjacent forests and river are impressive, boasting 70 varieties of indigenous trees and encouraging romance with their winding paths and secret nooks. There’s a fine restaurant and kiosk too, but Lange Erlen is tailor-made for picnics. It’s open every day from dawn to dusk.
ArlesheimRows of vines line the hills, promising a bounty of cool-season Riesling gold as tram 10 rocks into sleepy Arlesheim village, south of Basel.
There’s little activity on an overcast, spring morning and the medieval town square echoes our gasps of approval at its 17C baroque cathedral, a stark contrast to warm summer nights when this same square buzzes to the excitement of popular amateur theatre productions. The interior frescoes are beautiful, muted morning light highlighting grand scenes of mythical wonder.
Outside, a series of trails lead through fringing forest, exploring a fairyland of creeks and caves and ending with a short climb to Castle Birseck. Photo opportunities abound on the (different) return route as we pass a grand, 19C residence in a secret pocket of forest. A cat opens one eye, sprawled on a rug atop a suspended basket of firewood. Just another postcard moment in Switzerland.
Green 80Basel’s reputation for gardens is well deserved and tram 10 passes one of its finest green spaces, just south of the city. Green 80 was founded in 1980, hence the name, and today’s spring sunshine showcases rambling displays of seasonal colour explored through a myriad of easy walking trails.
Today is Saturday and Basel is playing hard. Teams of young and old crowd the sports fields; kites pepper the sky; families picnic on vast check rugs. Kebabs, pretzels and schnitzels are the fuel of choice. Ice cream runs a close second. We eat, drink and party with what feels like half the city, then eat ice cream under a 40-foot dinosaur called Dino.
RheinfeldenBisected by the Rhine and straddling the German border east of Basel, Rheinfelden’s rail station is the gateway to an interesting town, combining a charming, medieval centre on the Swiss side with extraordinary shopping bargains on the German side.
We stock up on whiskey, wine, smallgoods, cheese and chocolate, easily accommodating the 100-euro limit, before boarding a boat for the two-hour Rhine cruise home. Now that’s a day trip – leisure, culture and indulgence in one enjoyable shopping expedition!
Written by Travelenthusiast on 22 Jun, 2003
Three countries in an hour? Why not? This is, after all, a three-country corner with France, Germany, and Switzerland coming to a point around the Rhine River. Basel is the ideal anchor city to see all of these countries and some of the most noteworthy…Read More
Three countries in an hour? Why not? This is, after all, a three-country corner with France, Germany, and Switzerland coming to a point around the Rhine River. Basel is the ideal anchor city to see all of these countries and some of the most noteworthy sights in them. First stop: The Alsace region of eastern France. This region toggled between the hands of Germany and France for well over a hundred years and is rich in history, natural beauty, and wonderful wines.
Strassburg is about a two hour train ride from Basel. The historical significance of this city can be seen everywhere. The gorgeous Notre Dame de Oeuvre towers over the city. A not-so-quick climb to the top is definitely worth the view. Colmar, an hour closer to Basel than Strassburg, is ideal for those looking for the Alsace-style excursion without traveling two hours to do so. Noteworthy sites include the Musee d'Unterlinden, home to the Issenheim altarpiece amongst other works, the Saint Martin cathedral, and the Musee Bartholdi, the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty. Next stop: The Black Forest. A trip to Freiburg, renowned for its university and position within the Black Forest region, is a short 40 minutes away by train. Rebuilt after being destroyed during World War II, the city can appear to be older than it really is. A side trip to the Black Forest is just a skip away.
In Switzerland: Augusta Raurica is an excavated Roman city a few minutes outside of Basel. Many of the sites can be seen free of charge, but the museum costs about $3.
What’s in a name?Basel, Bale, Basle. You’ll hear all three in Switzerland’s capital of the northwest. Sharing a border with France and Germany may confuse passport-toting visitors, but Basel’s residents remain fiercely independent.This university town of 250,000 is one of the country’s best kept secrets.…Read More
What’s in a name?Basel, Bale, Basle. You’ll hear all three in Switzerland’s capital of the northwest. Sharing a border with France and Germany may confuse passport-toting visitors, but Basel’s residents remain fiercely independent.
This university town of 250,000 is one of the country’s best kept secrets. A beautifully preserved Old Town and a menu of world-class museums attract more tourists each year. Often touted as Switzerland’s wealthiest city, Basel’s streets and squares ooze culture, history and atmosphere but its demeanour is curiously ordered, reserved and discrete. At night, however, its university-town pedigree prevails, and the trendy cafes, bars and pubs bulge.
Basel is safe, fun, pedestrian friendly and chocolate rich, so come for a walk and discover this finely polished gem of the north.
By the numbersThere’s an Information Centre at the train station but this one near the Mittlerebrucke (1) is not as busy and the staff seem better equipped to deal with English-speaking tourists. At the entrance to the bridge, high on a wall, you’ll spot the comical Tongue King (2), spawned from an era when the rich merchants of Grossbasel (Greater Basel, south of the river) looked down their noses at the Kleinbasel (Lesser Basel) working class north of the river.
A walk across today’s 20C stone bridge (3) offers fine river views, but also reveals a lovely 15C decorated chapel at its centre, a remnant of the original structure.
Discerning residents and budget-conscious travellers can stock up on quality produce in the frenetic market square of nearby Marktplatz (4), overlooked by a very red and very unique 16C Town Hall - resplendent in its frescoed façade and courtyards, and its ornate turrets.
(It’s refreshing to see fun and humour reflected in government buildings.)
The pedestrianised streets of the medieval Old Town (5) lead to the university quarter and Petersplatz (6), site of a popular Saturday antiques market and a perfect spot to relax under the trees and people watch. No relaxing today though, it’s market day, and Karen rushes off in search of hidden treasure. Our diligence is rewarded; a mint condition Stones Paint it, black record for me and an elegant pair of antique turquoise earrings for Karen.
Heading down Spalengraben, our view is dominated by the 14C Spalentor (7), one of the town’s original city gates, before returning to the Old Town (8) and its shuttered windows, grand old doors and vine-covered walls. Emerging by the river, Basel’s 12C cathedral (9) towers above spacious Munsterplatz – a red sandstone, Gothic masterpiece framed by a marvellous square of old townhouses and an ideal lunch stop.
Our afternoon focuses on culture as we explore the Museum of Contemporary Art (10) before catching one of Basel’s unique cable ferries across the river at St Alban to Klein Basel. A short walk leads to the waterfront Jean Tinguely Museum (11), its bizarre, fun and macabre scrap metal exhibits showcasing the wonders of mechanised art.
Back in Gross Basel, via the Wettsteinbrucke, is a spectacular display of 13th to 20th century art at the Kunstmuseum (12). Dating from 1661, this is Europe’s oldest public art collection. A strong Swiss contingent dominates the walls but Karen gives the Matisse and Van Gogh collections the nod; I prefer Picasso and Dali.
Our day concludes with a visit to Basel’s Zoological Gardens.(13) It’s state-of-the-art blend of botany and beasts caters equally well for adults and children, with impressively designed enclosures and displays that educate and entertain – a fitting dessert to the day’s smorgasbord of culture, fun and history.
Need to know more?Refer to the map for directions; this tour covers around eight kilometres and takes a full day. If you prefer a slower pace, leave the Zoo and perhaps one of the museums for a second day.
* Saturday is best – all attractions are open, and the Petersplatz antique market is in full swing. Avoid Monday and Tuesday, many museums are closed.* The gondola ferry costs around 1.20Sfr.* The Jean Tinguely Museum costs 7Sfr and opens Wed-Sun, 11-7.* The Kunstmuseum costs 7Sfr and opens Tue-Sun, 10-5. Entry is shared with the Museum of Contemporary Art and a visit to both provides a wonderful contrast.* The Zoological Gardens costs 10Sfr and is open daily, 8-6.* If you’re not picnicking, Café Zum Issak on Munsterplatz is hard to beat for value and views.
***** DAVE’S FAVES are the gorgeous, muraled, medieval streets of Basel’s Old Town; the Kunstmuseum; the Jean Tinguely Museum, and the skilfully designed and presented Zoological Gardens.
Written by travel2000 on 05 Nov, 2000
Start at the Marktplatz, explore the outdoor market. Then go around the area and check out the buildings and do some window-shopping. (There are department stores as well as some pretty ritzy boutiques in this area). Don't miss Münster von der Wettsteinbrücke aus (lovely castle-like…Read More
Start at the Marktplatz, explore the outdoor market. Then go around the area and check out the buildings and do some window-shopping. (There are department stores as well as some pretty ritzy boutiques in this area). Don't miss Münster von der Wettsteinbrücke aus (lovely castle-like buildings by the Rhein), Andreasplatz, Heuberg and St. Alban-Vorstadt (quaint small streets and steps). Close
Written by Laroca on 13 Aug, 2005
Basel is one of the Switzerland cities surrounded by France and Germany, with 190,000 inhabitants. We can find a lot of surprises, because 2,000 years of history is located on the bend of the Rhine. It offers a unique range of culture and art and…Read More
Basel is one of the Switzerland cities surrounded by France and Germany, with 190,000 inhabitants. We can find a lot of surprises, because 2,000 years of history is located on the bend of the Rhine. It offers a unique range of culture and art and possesses one of Europe's most attractive and best preserved Old Towns. Close