A Day in Basel, Switzerland

Basel is a thrilling city – the history, the culture, the entire lifestyle, is wonderful. I really tried to keep the number of photos down for this post, but it just didn’t work for me – there’s so much I’d love to tell you, but there’s no time. So here’s a summary of our full day in Basel.

We started off today with breakfast at the hotel again. The breakfast room appears to be a converted coal bunker – beautifully done, and the food and service are equally high quality.

Breakfast room at the Hotel Basel - Basel, Switzerland

We basically planned our day around the “Experience Basel” brochure we got at the hotel. It describes 5 walks that cover the main sights of the historic part of the city.

Early into the Thomas Platter Walk, I spotted the “white horse” house in the craftsmen’s district. Quite different than any house seen in the Whitehorse I know – particularly the sign above the door that says it was built in 1279, enlarged to its current form in 1461.

Historic house in Basel, Switzerland
At the university, Switzerland’s oldest (it was founded in 1461).

University in Basel, Switzerland
This home was built in 1579.

Historic house in Basel, Switzerland
It’s hard to not end up back at the Rhine River at some point during a walk around Basel – this is the Mittlere Brucke.

Mittlere Brucke in Basel, Switzerland
Detail on a government administration building up the Elftausendjungfern-Gasslein (11,000 Virgins Lane). I’d sure like to know where that name came from!

Basel, Switzerland
One of the hundreds of restaurants we passed by, the Restaurant zum Isaak, in the Munsterplatz (the Cathderal Square).

Restaurant zum Isaak in Basel, Switzerland
The cathedral is both magnificent and fascinating. After buying a small book, “The Cathderal of Basle”, that describes and explains many of the details of the structure and it’s complex construction history, I could have spent an entire day there.

The Cathderal of Basel, Switzerland
Having these women performing while we were exploring the cathedral was wonderful.

The Cathderal of Basel, Switzerland
There is some superb stained glass.

The Cathderal of Basel, Switzerland
Cathy is in the choir, browsing a book describing some details of the renovation currently underway.

The Cathderal of Basel, Switzerland
The tomb of Queen Anna, wife of Rudolf of Habsburg, with her 3-year-old son Karl. She chose to be buried in Basel to atone for her husband’s cruelty while ruling Basel during the 1270s. Several of the men, and this child, have their feet cradling a dog or other animal – I haven’t yet found out the significance of that.

The tomb of Queen Anna and her son in Basel, Switzerland
A large bulk carrier sails down the Rhine below the cathedral.

Basel, Switzerland
One of the town’s more important families apparently built this home near the cathedral.

Basel, Switzerland
Above the door, a pair of leopards are guarding a shield that says “Olsperger hof, 1389”.

Basel, Switzerland
It was interesting to see the massive man-power required to rebuild a cobbled road.

Basel, Switzerland
A preserved section of the city wall, near the St. Albans ferry.

Basel, Switzerland
We had hoped to see the Paper Mill Museum, but had forgotten that most museums, large and small, are closed on Mondays throughout much of Europe. A renovation project has this museum closed for 3½ months, so we would have been out of luck on any day, though.

Paper mill museum in Basel, Switzerland
Another of the 40 museums in Basel is dedicated to cartoons. The Cartoon Museum collection includes over 3,400 pieces of original art and related artifacts.

Basel, Switzerland
Beautiful cars are seen everywhere in Basel, but this lovely old Volvo (an early-1960s P1800) brought back memories of the TV series “The Avengers”, in which Emma Peel and John Steed raced around Europe solving crimes.

Basel, Switzerland
Back to the hustle and bustle of the center of the historic area. Freie Strasse, seen here, is a major shopping avenue. The tower of the Rathaus (town hall), can be seen in the distance.

Basel, Switzerland
One of my must-sees was a fountain created by Jean Tinguely – “unique” just begins to describe it!

This is the photo that I’ve picked as the one that says “Basel” the best. It was shot at the southern edge of the Barfusserplatz.

Basel, Switzerland
A scene from the daily life of a Basel family.

Basel, Switzerland
On the street directly below our hotel room is this Christmas shop, Johann Wanner. The word below the name is “Weihnachtsbaumschmuckausstattungsspezialgeschaeft” which means roughly “Christmas tree decoration special features shop” – phew, that’s a mouthful!

Basel, Switzerland
By 4:30 we were tired, so went back to the hotel for a nap. At 6:00, I went back out, on a mission to find a beautiful purse we’d seen earlier and then couldn’t find again. I continued on from that unsuccessful quest, taking a tram to the Hauptbaunhof (main train station). Near it, on the Aeschenplatz, is the BIS (Bank for International Settlements) building. Designed by Mario Botta in the early 1990s, it’s built of 2 colours of granite.

Basel, Switzerland
I was attracted to this statue in the little park Elisabethenanlage. During the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, the city of Strasbourg was under a tight siege and constant bombardment. A private Swiss delegation persuaded the Prussians to allow them to take 3 convoys of old people, women and children out of the city, and in 1889, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi created Switzerland Succoring Strasbourg as a gift to Switzerland from Strasbourg. Bartholdi is best known as the creator of Liberty Enlightening the World, usually called the Statue of Liberty. It’s amazing the stories that can be found in out-of-the-way places in combination with Google 🙂

Basel, Switzerland
Night falls at the Hauptbaunhof.

Hauptbaunhof in Basel, Switzerland
The train system in Europe is remarkable in its size and efficiency – I’m hugely impressed. I got a few shots out at the end of the Hauptbaunhof platform, then headed back to the hotel by tram.

Basel, Switzerland

This had been an excellent day. It’s now 6:25am on Tuesday – today we board our ship for 13 days sailing down the Rhine. ttyl 🙂


A Day in Basel, Switzerland — 15 Comments

  1. I’m enjoying your photos of the trip Murray, it looks like such an amazing place to visit!
    Safe travels to you both!

  2. Much enjoyed your tour through Basel, especially the video of the Tinguely fountain. Look forward to the rest of your trip. Enjoy.

  3. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! Love the pictures, and especially the fountain.

  4. Loved the photos, Murray. My daughter has lived in Basel for over a year and hasn’t sent photos this good. She did say, “Mom, you have to come over and see the cute little country I found.” These photos inspire me to do just that!

  5. Hello, I just wanted to say that I live just outside of Basel and I couldn’t agree with you more about that image of Barfusserplatz being iconic of this city. Thanks for the post and enjoy the rest of your trip!

  6. I like your story about Basel. I’m in Zurich this Saturday when you already left Switzerland. At least we are very close in distance at the present time 🙂
    Continue now with my O scale of Whitehorse station…. Enjoy your cruise.

  7. Hi Murray and Cathy…great pics so far and fascinating stories. What I found amazing in every photo is the cleanliness of the city. I didn’t see garbage anywhere! Have a fantastic time sailing!

  8. I ran across your site and want to say Thank You for a beautiful set of Basel Pictures. I was born there and return every few years.Be sure to try the Basler Brunsli cookies,or e-mail me and will send you the receipe, I try to keep up the traditions every year and share many swiss items with friends and neighbors . Thankyou again Rolf

  9. Thanks for sharing your pictures, my wife and I depart for Basel on thur from New York.How did you like the hotel Basel , as we are booked there, and can you recommend a restaurant near the hotel. Thank You Richard Garrone

    • The Hotel Basel was wonderful – absolutely top notch in terms of both quality and location. There are restaurants everywhere and we ate at so many I can’t give you any names. The breakfasts at the hotel are excellent – the quality of the dinners at the hotel is extremely good but the restaurant is lacking in character, so there are many better options, along the river being the best in that regard. Have a great trip, Richard.

  10. Hello, happy travellers. I am catching up with your photos and stories. Your Basle folio is wonderful, you seem to have captured the fascinating essence of that historical city.
    Best Regards,
    Marie G.