Travel,  Uncategorized

Basel – Where People Float to Work

You know those days when it suddenly strikes you that so much has happened and yet the date is still the same? Today was definitely one of those for me. Technically it makes sense because my day started at 3am, after only an hour’s sleep.

London was freshly cleaned after raining all day and everything was eerily quiet as I caught a night bus from my house to St. Paul’s. Next, I weaved through cobbled stones until I reached Blackfriars station and caught the train to Gatwick.

A cloudy night sky over the Thames, London still glows at 3am.

Everything went smoothly, and the excitement of adventure out-won the lack of sleep. But once I had boarded and got my seat, the plane’s take-off lulled me into slumber.

The flight was quite short, only 1hr 15min, and I woke up only a few mins before landing. Basel is a truly unique city, it is located in Switzerland but it borders both France and Germany. The airport I landed in was technically in France and depending on the exit you took, you could either enter Germany and France or Switzerland. After a short bus trip (which was super confusing because everything is in French, German or Italian) I got to my friend’s accommodation.

A blistering 32 degrees! What is going on with this world’s weather?! Got changed and out of the house, to my first sight of the crystalline River Rhine. Over the Johanniterbr├╝cke (Johanniter Bridge) and sat upon the edge of the river, I discovered the most fantastic fact: in summer, the people of Basel put their stuff in a waterproof bag, jump in the river and float as the currents carry them downriver. How amazing is that! I didn’t need any encouragement and went straight in. And oh the bliss. Gently being pulled along, rounded pebbles under my feet and the sweetest water ever. I could open my eyes completely underwater and I have no goggles – this was better than any swimming pool I’ve ever been in! Out I came, jogged back, only to jump straight back in.

Content and all fatigue forgotten, the glowing sun baked me warm and we were off again, walking into the Marketplatz. Unplanned trips are the best! We turned a corner and ended up in the Basel Town Hall, a 500-year old building, covered in Gothic art and sculptures.

Now it hit me that I’d been surviving on a jar of overnight oats since 3am and I was ravenous. The one not-so-great thing about Switzerland is that it’s expensive – even central London prices did not prepare me for this. We went into a Migros and grabbed ourselves some lunch which we munched away, again, by the riverside.

Next up, we walked into the Old Town through the Gate of Spalen, a 15th Century gateway that formed part of the city’s ancient walls. The winding alleyways, the delicate and ornate architecture and the adorable trams rumbling along the streets – it’s like stepping into a fairy tale town.

Because of the number of freshwater rivers and lakes in Switzerland fed from the Alps, there is no shortage of water here. You are never far from a public water fountain that is continuously flowing with refreshingly cool freshwater. Some are tiny little spouts hidden in between buildings while others boast beautiful sculptures and water coming through in the most innovative ways! Only a small selection I managed to capture:

After grabbing some groceries, we finally returned to the 4th floor flat that opened onto a cute little balcony. Cooling down outside, I put my head on the railings and I just fell asleep! Cars on the street below and just leaning off the chair on to the edge of the balcony… I guess I was tired. But still had to fit in my run of the day, and was back out again, ticking off another city and country in my running travels.

Run of the Day

Running to the river

a quick dip …

… barefoot jog and back home.

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