Originally published 26 December 2015
The Basel, Switzerland Tram
We reluctantly left our mountain hotel this morning. We bid the owners adieu and boarded the mountain train for the last time. At three days, it was plenty of time to see everything.....but it was such a wonderful place to leave. We loved Murren.
We do the progression of train changes and finally arrive in Basel. Our train trip was pleasant and we chatted with two fellow travelers along the way. One was a woman from Tokyo who married a man from Switzerland, and the other was a woman from Spain who was hopping from place to place house sitting for people. One got off the train in Bern and the other in Basel, as we did.
We put our packs in a train station locker for the day. We went to put the Swiss coins in the locker only to discover that it will not accept them. While we are technically in Switzerland, the terminal is a DB, or Deutsche Bahn terminal. Since DB is a German company, the lockers only accept euro coins. We don't have any of those. A cashier in a nearby bookstore took pity on me and exchanged the Swiss coins I had for euros.
Laurie buys roasted chestnuts
We locked our stuff in a locker and went out to explore. Not knowing all the local customs in different places actually bit us in the butt this time as absolutely nothing in Basel was open. It seems that Dec. 26 is a holiday here too. We wandered through town finding absolutely nothing open. We decided to wander about anyway as we had about 8 hours before our next ride.
We wound up in a church and paid 5 francs each to climb the steeple! We figured it would be pretty cut and dried and we would get a decent view of the city. It turns out that we were climbing up the steeple of a church built in the 1400's (yes.....the 1400's, not a typo) that hadn't been modernized much at all. Very narrow passages and stairs, old timbers you actually had to climb over, spiral staircases we had to turn sideways in so our shoulders didn't hit both sides......this fill in activity had turned out to be a real adventure! We really enjoyed it!
What we think was a game of Bocce
After coming down, we wandered about, watched people playing what we think was bocce ball, and looking out over the river and city. Basel is a city where three countries come together, Switzerland, Germany, and France. All 3 apparently meet at some point in the middle of the river. A short stroll and you'll have been in three countries.
We wander about a bit more, eat Chinese food at one of the few restaurants open, and head back to the train station. We do a bit of grocery shopping at the store in the train station, buying water, candy, and a few snacks for our trip. We sit for a while just killing time, then retrieve our packs and head to the platform. Our train arrives at precisely the time it was supposed to.
Our train compartment
We board and find our sleeper compartment. While tiny, it is serviceable. Laurie had a bunk and I have a bunk. We have a sink to wash our faces and brush our teeth, and plenty of room for our stuff. It's actually about the size of a jail cell.....but nicer! There is a bathroom and shower down the hall and I actually used the shower tonight.
Train travel is very civilized. We awake tomorrow in Berlin. I didn't get to post as I had no internet....so we'll post this as well as our first day in Berlin tomorrow night. We continue to zip along through the countryside and cities of Germany, cozy in our little compartment.
Tomorrow, our adventures in the big city!
Basel Switzerland Slide Show
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
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