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A Day Trip to Basel

Saint Alban's Area.

We travelled to Basel from Karlsruhe for the day, but I did not include it with my other blogs about days in and around Karlsruhe, because it is in a different country.

This was our second trip to Basel. We came here originally more than twenty years ago and on that occasion I was not all that impressed with the place. I think the reason for that had more to do with the nature of our trip rather than the city itself. In those days we had very little money and often travelled very cheaply, by over-nighting on trains rather than in hotels. I believe we came here after two nights spent trying to sleep on trains and, as a result, arrived here exhausted. Thus, I was unable on that occasion to appreciate this city properly. All I remember from our first trip is crossing the River Rhine on one of those little boats that are moved by the current of the river, the huge cathedral and the Tinguely Fountain.

When my husband suggested visiting Basel from Karlsruhe, I was not very keen, but I am glad I gave in and agreed to the trip as the city turned out to be very beautiful and we spent a very enjoyable day here. What a difference being awake makes!!!

We arrived in Basel by train. Basel is located in the north-western corner of Switzerland and shares borders with Germany and France. This visit we came here from Karlsruhe, Germany; last visit it was from Strasbourg, France. There is a very convenient Co-op opposite Basel's main station from which we purchased supplies for our homeward journey.

Basel Station.

Basel Station.

We began our day by seeking out the Hammering Man Sculpture. We have seen one of these in Seoul, Korea, but thought we might as well go and view another. Hammering Man is a series of monumental moving sculptures which were designed by Jonathan Borofsky. They have been installed in various cities around the world. The one in Basel dates from 1989. Hammering Man is symbolic of workers everywhere. We have also seen Molecule Man, another of Borofsky's sculptures, in the River Spree, Berlin.

Peter with Hammering Man.

Peter with Hammering Man.

From there we followed the tram line on foot towards the Saint Alban's district of Basel. We first visited its picturesque Saint Alban's Gate which dates from around 1400. We passed through this into the lovely old area of St. Alban's with its long stretch of city walls, canals, paper mill and church. Due to the canals St Alban's is sometimes called the Little Venice of Basel. St Alban's also boasts the oldest guesthouse in Basel, Gasthof zum Goldenen Sternen, guest house of the golden stars. The historic paper mill here is now a museum of paper making and has a working water wheel. I was delighted we had visited St Alban's as I found it one of the loveliest parts of Basel.

St. Alban's is located right on the banks of the River Rhine and has great views towards Basel's old town and cathedral and towards Roche Tower, a skyscraper, which at 178 metres is the tallest building in Switzerland.

St Alban's Gate.

St Alban's Gate.

Church in St. Alban's.

Church in St. Alban's.

Canal in St Alban's.

Canal in St Alban's.

Paper Mill St Alban's.

Paper Mill St Alban's.

Picturesque St. Alban's street.

Picturesque St. Alban's street.

View towards Basel Cathedral.

View towards Basel Cathedral.

View towards the Roche Tower.

View towards the Roche Tower.

Gasthof zum Goldenen Sternen.

Gasthof zum Goldenen Sternen.

peter outside the paper mill.

peter outside the paper mill.

Fountain Square, St Alban's.

Fountain Square, St Alban's.

Old City Walls.

Old City Walls.

Old City Walls.

Old City Walls.

Looking towards the paper mill.

Looking towards the paper mill.

We left St Alban's and wandered along the banks of the Rhine to the centre of Basel. On the way we passed one of those little ferries that cross the Rhine using only the river's current to move. Basel has four such ferries, “Wilde Maa”, “Leu”, “Vogel Gryff” and “Ueli”. The one near St Alban's is Wilde Maa. The ferries names are interesting as they are associated with Basel folklore: the wilde maa is the savage man, leu- the lion, vogel gryff - the griffin and Ueli a short form of Saint Ulrich. The wild man, the lion and the griffin are all symbols of Basel. I kept encountering griffins everywhere during our visit and was wondering why they were so prevalent.

Ferry, Basel.

Ferry, Basel.

Griffin, Basel.

Griffin, Basel.

Posted by irenevt 20:43 Archived in Switzerland

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Comments

I'm glad you liked Basel better this time round. It really is an attractive city.

by Nemorino

Yes, it is lovely. We enjoyed visiting it very much. Thanks for viewing my blog.

All the best,

Irene

by irenevt

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