I may have briefly crossed over into Switzerland when I went to Konstanz but this semester I wanted the real deal, a proper visit to the land of fondue, Francs, and top-quality army knives. Just a two-hour train ride from Mannheim, the Swiss city of Basel seemed the most viable option for a day trip and it turned out to be one of the loveliest cities I’ve ever visited.
On the journey there Alex, Reuben, and I managed to bag a booth to ourselves for the first time ever, which was the perfect start to a lovely trip.
We bought tickets to the Basel Badischer Bahnhof instead of the Basel Hauptbahnhof because they were considerably cheaper. The saving was worth every cent because it only took us about twenty minutes to walk to the city centre and we got to cross the Wettsteinbrücke and see some stunning sights such as a weird basilisk statue and Basel’s very own Kolpinghaus (the highlight of all cities, I’m sure).
We were incredibly lucky with the weather; it was gloriously sunny all day and felt around eighteen degrees. Thankfully we had been sunglasses shopping the day before and bought ourselves some über-cool 3€ Primark shades. Geil.
There are so many great places in Basel but one of my favourites was a viewing point from which you can see Switzerland, Germany, and France, as well as the Rhein river. The Rhein was an amazing turquoise colour and the view was beautiful, I could have stayed looking at it all day.
We walked almost thirty thousand steps around the city and one of the things we loved the most was its squares; there are pretty squares dotted all around Basel. We sat in one for lunch which was so lovely. With a water fountain, birds, an accordion player, and one of the quaintest toy shops I’ve ever been in, I felt like I was in a Disney cartoon. Adorable.
There’s also Martkplatz, the main market square, which was full of fresh flowers and fruit and veg. It’s dominated by the Rathaus which is one of the most impressive buildings in Basel. It’s red and covered in beautiful murals. There are also pretty arches, a nice staircase, and some interesting old statues.
Another impressive building was the famous Basler Münster, which is the city’s main tourist attraction.
Basel is known as Switzerland’s city of museums, so we decided to visit one. From the Frog Museum to the Police Museum, they all seemed very niche, so I suggested the Hoosesagg Museum, a “miniature museum” which TripAdvisor reviews had promised was one of the best sights in Basel. After promising the boys a must-see museum of tiny things, we walked twenty minutes out of our way to find a discreet hole in the wall featuring a few little figures. And that was it. That was the whole Hoosesagg Museum.
It may not have been the wonderful museum of teeny tiny things that I had been imagining, but it was cute, and the walk meant we could see even more of Basel’s gorgeous winding streets.
As far as food is concerned, Switzerland didn’t seem particularly vegan-friendly, which was unsurprising for a country famous for its cheese and chocolate. However, for dinner we went to Tii’s, a newly-opened vegan restaurant. The whole place was reserved for a vegan Stammtisch so unfortunately we couldn’t sit in, but we bought wraps to take with us on our sunset walk back to the train station and they were delicious.
I was really sad to leave Basel. It’s such an interesting and pretty place; I loved the vibe and the sights, the well-dressed Swiss people and the pretty Swiss money. I’ll treasure all the sweet memories of our Swiss adventure forever, even the Basil Brush jokes. Boom boom.