The DougBlog
"Et sans savoir pourquoi, disent toujours: Allons!" —Baudelaire

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A brief visit to Basel

Given that I’m nearly through my vacation in Belgium and the Netherlands, I’d better get caught up on the blogging. I recently made my first business trip to the infamous Swiss city of Basel, center of the European pharmaceutical industry. I was there to give a presentation at Novartis’ world headquarters (which went well, by the way) and since it was my first time there and a Friday to boot, I took an extra day to explore.

First of all, check out the amount of crap I had to lug for this presentation—I was a veritable pack mule:

Second, the Hotel Euler where Novartis put me up was nice, but my room was tiny with only a twin bed:

And the shower was so small I couldn’t bend down to wash my own feet (note the standard-sized washcloth on the floor of the shower for scale:

The hotel was right in front of the train station:

I knew Basel would be a classy city when the first statue I saw was of a vomiting duck:

My first stop on my foot-tour of Basel was the Rathaus, or City Hall. It’s actually the most impressive sight in the city, with its striking red façade and colorful ornamentation:

As always, you can click any photo to enlarge. Also, I've noticed that photos on Blogger are "dulled" unless you click them, so cliicking will also allow you to see the true colors shining through:

Next up was the main cathedral, called Münster (like the cheese), although it was under reconstruction:

The colorfully tiled roof was reminiscent of St. Stephen’s in Vienna:


I enjoyed some of the ornamentations on the outside, like this odd (but happy) creature:

And I call this “Jesus of The Bug-Eyes”:

The church was set in a lovely square:

In fact, there were many disturbing faces on buildings throughout the city:

The city is set on the Rhine, near the borders of both France and Germany:

Some other random city views:

I enjoyed this dog:

Next up was the Spalentor, the last remaining tower of the Medieval city walls:

As I mentioned, Basel is on the borders of France and Germany. RIGHT on the borders. So, finding myself done with sightseeing for the day, I decided what the heck, why don’t I walk to France? Just to be able to say that I walked to France! Turns out France is just past Novartis:

The first road I took into France was blocked. France was closed!:

So I tried another road, and happily it turned out France was open after all. In these days of Europe without borders it was rather anticlimactic: just a customs booth, and only for trucks at that:

Welcome to France! There was no border control whatsoever. I just walked right in. Just this traffic sign and the fact that all the signs were suddenly in French rather than German was your only indication that you'd crossed the border:

Just over the border the town is called Saint Louis:

Of course the first sight was a pâtisserie:

Then I turned around and went back to Switzerland, and that was that:

I went back past the Rathaus by night:

So that was it, a brief but lovely trip (and probably not my last).

Artsy photo from Swiss Airlines:

Once again, Google always knows where you are!:

Not only is smoking sometimes more than welcome…:

…but they put a lovely edelweiss blossom on the cigarette machines to convey the clean, fresh air of a smoke:

Coming Low Country adventures with Janet in Belgium and the Netherlands!!


  • wow! you didn't tell me you were basel-bound. i've had many times there, good and bad...

    Got your postcard!

    PS - calacing an asian/nordic sport involving automobiles

    By Blogger Colleen, at 1:37 PM  

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