Eurotrip 2011, Part 7: Kicking Back in Basel

Basel, Switzerland

This installment covers Days 16–18 of my 2011 trip to Europe…

After our final night in the villa we awoke, finished packing, and walked up the road to the bus stop. We had time before the bus was due to arrive so we entered the nearby restaurant to have lunch, where we bumped into three of our villa-mates. They had left the villa earlier in the week but returned to the area on this day to have one last lunch at the restaurant and say goodbye to the waitress they had befriended. We were very fortunate to have run into them because our bus arrived early and never stopped. We exited the restaurant just in time to see it speeding down the hill.

If our villa-mates had not been there we would have been screwed. The next bus wasn’t coming anytime soon and we would definitely have missed our train to Basel. Luckily, they had a car and were able to drive us down the hill and into Florence, all the way to the train station.

So we hopped aboard the train for the long ride to Switzerland. We had one layover in the very busy Milan train station before getting on the final train to Basel. As is always the case when riding through Switzerland, the scenery was gorgeous.  Here’s one photo I took from the train that didn’t come out too badly (most of them had window reflections):

We arrived in Basel late that afternoon. Uncle Kipp’s friend Andy met us at the train station and guided us via public transportation back to her apartment. We would be spending the next three nights here before heading to Croatia. At the apartment we met the rest of her family, including her mother, who cooked us a delicious Tex-Mex dinner. Before dinner I had my first ever glass of Prosecco—and a love affair was born that continues to this day. It’s so inexpensive over there that Andy had an entire fridge stocked with it. After dinner I tried my first roasted chestnut, which was a big deal for me because I don’t like any kind of nuts in general, but I was able to enjoy these.

Before bed that night I skyped with my wife, Jen. I had chatted with her on the phone throughout the first 16 days of the trip, and of course I missed her the whole time, but it wasn’t until seeing her and my dog, Heidi, on video that I truly began feeling homesick—and I still had two weeks to go. We had been apart for 8 to 9 days on my previous trips, but a month is a long time. For the most part I was okay because I was always so busy during the day, but at night it would catch up with me a bit.

After breakfast the next morning we went for a walk all over the city. Unlike Lucerne, Basel is not nestled in the Alps, but it still has plenty of its own charm, and the Rhine is never far away.  There was a fall festival going on that reminded me of the carnivals we have in the States. While walking though the festival we rode the large Ferris wheel, which provided us with spectacular views of the city when we reached the top.

For this post I decided to try a photo gallery for the first time, so here is a collection of some of my favorite photos from Basel.  The fall foliage lent a beautiful color palette to the city.  You can click on a photo to view a larger version and a description:

That night after dinner we watched some TV before heading to bed. The next day, we went into France for lunch. Basel is so close to both France and Germany that a trip to one of these countries is akin to hopping in a car in New Jersey and heading to Philly or New York. This was my first visit to France, not counting the Paris airport, so I could now say that I had set foot in the country, even if it was just over the border. We had a nice lunch at a Japanese restaurant—that’s right, we went to France to eat Japanese. 🙂

After lunch we went to a mall, which was near a McDonald’s. I was very tempted to get my Pulp Fiction on and go order a “Royale with Cheese.” Anyway, that night I skyped with Jen again before bed. It was Halloween, but they don’t really seem to celebrate it in Switzerland, so it was basically just a normal night.

Overall, we had a nice, relaxing three days in Basel. I am very grateful to Andy and her family for welcoming us into their home and for everything they did for us. It was a much-needed escape from hotel living that allowed us to recharge our batteries before embarking on the second half of our trip, which would begin the following morning with an early (and long) day of riding trains that would take us through Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and finally into Zagreb, Croatia. That part of our journey will be covered in the next installment. Until then…

View more photos from Basel

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Writer, traveler, photographer, hiker, film/TV addict, amateur chef, casual gamer, and occasional tennis & saxophone player . . . in real life I do web design.

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Posted in Europe, Switzerland, Travel
One comment on “Eurotrip 2011, Part 7: Kicking Back in Basel
  1. Sue says:

    Sounds great.

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Portland, Oregon - August, 2017 This is Mount Hood looming over the city of Portland, shot from my viewpoint in the Japanese Garden. A few days after this photo was taken, I drove all the way out to Mount Hood to stay at the famous Timberline Lodge (aka Overlook Hotel) near its summit. #cities #Japanesegarden #landscapes #mounthood #NorthAmerica #Oregon #Photography #Portland #Travel #UnitedStates #mountains
Portland, Oregon - August, 2017 A rock garden in Portland's Japanese Garden. #Japanesegarden #landscapes #NorthAmerica #Oregon #Photography #Portland #Travel #UnitedStates #rockgardens #zengardens
Portland, Oregon - August, 2017 Waterfall cascading into a pond in Portland's Japanese Garden. #Japanesegarden #landscapes #NorthAmerica #Oregon #Photography #Portland #Travel #UnitedStates #ponds
Portland, Oregon - August, 2017 Portland's Japanese Garden is so sublime that you almost forget you’re in a major city. #Japanesegarden #landscapes #NorthAmerica #Oregon #Photography #Portland #Travel #UnitedStates
Portland, Oregon - August, 2017 This was taken at Portland's International Rose Test Garden, which I passed through on my way to the Japanese Garden. #NorthAmerica #Oregon #Photography #Portland #Travel #UnitedStates #roses #flowers #InternationalRoseTestGarden
Portland, Oregon - August, 2017 Silhouette of the Portlandia statue in downtown Portland. It is the second largest copper statue in the country after the Statue of Liberty. #cities #NorthAmerica #Oregon #Photography #Portland #Travel #UnitedStates #landmarks #statues
Portland, Oregon - August, 2017 Tree-lined street in downtown Portland, near the apartment where I stayed last summer. #cities #landscapes #NorthAmerica #Oregon #Photography #Portland #Travel #UnitedStates
Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017 Another prairie dog shot, this one in the iconic standing pose. Not as sharp as I would have liked, but not too bad for handheld at a 250 mm focal length. #animals #devilstower #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica #Photography #prairiedogs #roadtrips #Travel #UnitedStates #wildlife #Wyoming
Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017 There is a giant field beneath Devils Tower that is entirely covered with prairie dogs. I was so mesmerized by the little critters with their cute screeching noises that I almost forgot I was there to visit the tower. #animals #devilstower #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica #Photography #prairiedogs #roadtrips #Travel #UnitedStates #wildlife #Wyoming
Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017 This shot only features the top of Devils Tower, but I liked the variety of colors in the landscape. #DevilsTower #Wyoming #NationalMonuments #travel #buttes #landscapes #photography #UnitedStates #NorthAmerica #RoadTrips #hiking #colors
Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017 A closeup shot of climbers scaling Devils Tower. Pretty soon, climbing will no longer be necessary because, according to a sign I saw at the site, they are apparently installing an elevator to the top. Although it would be neat to see the top of the tower, I think it’s unfortunate that they are going to ruin its appearance with an elevator apparatus. I’m glad that I was able to see Devils Tower in all its natural glory before this happens. #buttes #devilstower #hiking #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica #Photography  #roadtrips #Travel #UnitedStates #Wyoming #climbing
Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017 A view of Devils Tower from my hike around the base. This is the opposite side of the tower from the shot I posted yesterday. The black dots in the sky are birds. #DevilsTower #Wyoming #NationalMonuments #travel #buttes #landscapes #photography #UnitedStates #NorthAmerica #RoadTrips #hiking
Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017 A lifelong dream sparked by 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' was finally realized when I visited Devils Tower last August--40 years (and many plates of sculpted mashed potatoes) after I first saw the tower on film. I had no idea as I hiked around Devils Tower that just two days later there would be a 40th anniversary screening of the film at the tower itself. Just missed it! #DevilsTower #Wyoming #NationalMonuments #CloseEncounters #travel #buttes #landscapes #photography #UnitedStates #NorthAmerica #RoadTrips
Deadwood, South Dakota - August, 2017 I chose to stay in Deadwood during my three nights in South Dakota because I was a huge fan of the HBO show and have always been fascinated with the Wild West. I thought it would be cool to walk in the footsteps of Deadwood’s famous residents. The drive in to town was interesting, as I steadily climbed the Black Hills while passing “Bighorn Sheep Crossing” signs. I only had time to explore the main strip because I spent most of my visit taking day trips out of town, so it’s not really fair to render a judgment without having taken the time to fully check out everything Deadwood had to offer. Still, I found it to be kind of a disappointment, mostly just your average casino town, which isn’t really my cup of tea. Nevertheless, I saw several points of interest during my walks around town, such as the spots where Wild Bill was shot and where his assassin was caught, the Bullock Hotel that was built by Seth Bullock after the events of the show, and a few establishments named after notable people and places such as Charlie Utter and the Gem Theater. The recreated “gunfights” in the middle of town were also neat. #deadwood #NorthAmerica #Photography #roadtrips #SouthDakota #Travel #UnitedStates #wildwest #historictowns #blackhills #oldwest
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota - September, 2017 This is a zoomed-in view of Mount Rushmore from a lookout point a couple of miles away on Iron Mountain Road, a scenic mountain drive that I highly recommend taking before heading to the monument. If you go south to north, you will drive through a tunnel that perfectly frames Mount Rushmore; makes for a memorable photo. This shot may not look like a panorama due to its more squarish shape, but it was stitched together from two different photos. #IronMountainRoad #MountRushmore #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica #panoramas #Photography #roadtrips #Scenic #SouthDakota #Travel #UnitedStates #mountains
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