First post of 2018 here we come! Happy New Year 🙂
Quickly thrown back into reality with no more lie-ins and late nights I’m writing this whilst still in holiday mode having only just got back from Basel. Yep, I’m also being super organised by writing this post whilst everything is still fresh in my mind. And… drum roll… I VLOGGED!!! It’s not fab, I most certainly have a lot to learn, mainly that I need to stop covering the microphone with my thumb and how to hold the damn thing straight.. but you know, I VLOGGED! Watch it here… or below… your choice. Part Two is currently taking over my life. Editing tips always welcome.
It would of course would be totes amazing if you subscribed. I will be doing similar content to here and I will include baking and cake related vlogs too.
Back to Basel
Pretty much every Christmas my boyfriend and I choose to pay for an experience or holiday as opposed to buying each other gifts. We’ve spent Christmas in Brussels and Oslo and we always try to do something Christmassy whilst there. It’s especially nice when we are there for New Year and we usually get to experience different traditions and watch amazing firework displays.
I have to admit, I didn’t know too much about Basel before arriving. I was so busy in the run-up to Christmas I didn’t even really research what was around either. We were going in completely unaware of what to expect.
The architecture in Basel really surprised me, the food was tastier than I thought it would be and shock horror…I didn’t actually eat any chocolate. In fact, I hardly saw any at all. There were however plenty of delicious roasted chestnut stands, lots and lots of cheese and plenty of snacky street food vendors too. Perfect.
Basel itself spreads over a bend in the river Rhine with industrial and more modern buildings to the north and most of the old city on the west bank. Strangely we commented quite often that you’d find a beautiful Swiss home with ornate windows and doors then directly across the road they’d be a really ugly worn down building. It’s quite strange and I found it quite peculiar.
Another interesting fact is that the city unusually straddles the borders of three countries, though there is little to indicate when you are moving between France, Germany or Switzerland. When you land at the airport you have to make sure you take the right exit too!
Where We Stayed
We’d chosen to stay at The Passage hotel which is a small boutique hotel situated about 10 minutes walking distance from the centre. We arrived way early before check in thinking we’d have to store our bags before we explored but they let us straight into our room. No fuss whatsoever. Handing over some free travel cards, which all hotel guests in Basel get and giving us a quick talk about the usual type of hotel things you may need to know… breakfast times, how to use the lift… even what the hotel dog was called!
There’s a gym (I stayed well clear) and a sauna which was totally quiet and surprisingly I don’t think many people take advantage of it. If you watch my video (nudge, nudge) I have a little clip where we discover the open shower in our room…perfect for all you exhibitionists out there.
Armed with my warmest coat, it was freezing, we then wandered on down through the town. The historic heart is the ‘Marktplatz’ dominated by the red sandstone town hall which dates back to the 1500s. The colourful painted front dominates the main square and when you look closely the details are incredible. I loved the diamond roof in particular. On weekends it turns into an open air farmer’s market and on our particular visit there was this delightful chap blowing giant bubbles all around the place. We gawped at all the cheese, tried to decipher the language (there were no English translations) and hung around to people watch.
We then wandered around back streets, up hills, over the bridges and constantly commented to each other about how the city wasn’t how we expected it to be at all. I drank glühwein (mulled wine), nibbled on Swiss cakes and treats, and marvelled at the endless pretty windows and doors.
Super soft warm jumper - Oasis | Bumble Bee Necklace - Alex Monroe | Jamie Jeans -Topshop
We soon ended up walking up the steepest of streets and arrived at Basel Munster, the city’s Gothic Romanesque cathedral.
Lots of students gather in areas to sing and dance, its actually really refreshing and quite sweet to watch. No embarrassment, no cares given if they didn’t hit the notes. Just genuine fun. I liked it.
We discovered that if you walk to the back of the Munster there is a lovely tree-shaded terrace which I’ve now learnt is known as the Pfalz, which offers magnificent views over the Rhine and the rest of the City. We originally were going to watch the NYE fireworks from here but it ended up being a little bit crazy on the evening.
Another nifty thing about Basel are their river boats. The current on the Rhine is really strong so there’s a fixed line that carries the boats, and tourists, across to the other side. These boats have no motor, and are completely carried by the current. The boat is attached to this wire (so it stays on course) and once the boat pushes off, it sails across the river until it reaches the other side.
Without a doubt though, the best way to see the city is on foot. We covered so much in our weekend there and didn’t jump in a taxi once. So skip the trams if you can and stretch your legs to explore. It’s worth it.
Art fanatics will love Basel. This city is home to over 30 museums and in our time there we chose to visit the Kuntzmuseam which houses both old masters and modern art. Now neither Steve or I are big on Art but we totally appreciate it and this museum kind of surprised us both with how much we enjoyed walking around. First of all, it’s huge and second of all seeing some of the most famous paintings in real is quite surreal. I studied Art at A-Level and two of my favourite artists were Kandinsky and Dali. When I came across their pieces I was actually a little bit blown away. Other works included are from Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cezanne, and 20th-century works by Picasso (a whole room full), Braque, Leger, several German Expressionists, and Andy Warhol. At 26 francs a ticket its definitely worth it for the experience.
Basel comes alive at dusk as the sun sets over the water and the city lights begin to twinkle. Cosy pubs, pretty lights, and a chill in the air that makes wandering the streets of the Old Town even more magical.
New Years is spent on the bridge watching the amazing fireworks display which lasted a whole 30 minutes! The Swiss really take their fireworks seriously. You’ll find people gathered around their own mini displays often letting off fireworks a few metres away from you. A little scary at first, but you soon get used to it.
Have you ever been to Basel or anywhere else in Switzerland? What did you think? What was your favourite part?
Oh…and lastly. Since writing this post I have also now finished Part Two of the vlog which I think is a tad better than Part One. All tips and advice welcome 🙂 Let me know if you enjoyed watching too.