Basel, Switzerland

After 16 hours on the city night line train from Copenhagen, we arrived in Basel just after 10 this morning. We caught the tram right outside the train station. 2 stops and then transferred to another tram. 2 more stops and we were at our hotel, the Der Teufelhof Basel. This hotel, although a fair bit less expensive than the Hotel Danmark, is actually quite nice and the location is perfect. Just look at what you see when you walk out the door:

We arrived at the hotel a bit before check in so we dropped off the bags and spent a couple of hours walking through the old city of Basel. Basel is great. It is situated right on the Rhine and on Switzerland’s borders with Germany and France. In fact the suburbs of the city stretch into both countries. So, although it is a small and quiet town of less than 200,000, it feels quite cosmopolitan. We ate lunch at a little cafe and counted at least 5 languages being spoken (and the food was excellent).

In my estimation the biggest draw of Basel is the old city which is hundreds of years older than Copenhagen. Although the medieval city wall is no longer standing, some of the gates and towers have been preserved, included the really thick, tall old wooden doors with spikes and the descending grate with spikes – just like the movies. Our hotel was nicely situated on the top of the hill and close to where the old wall had been. We were able to wind out way down the hill through the narrow lines of the old city. We came across some real gems:

Yes, 1291 is the date in which this place was built.

Not too far from the river we came across the city hall (above). It was really a very unique and amazing building with the balance of its details dating back to the 15th century.

We walked down to the Rhine and then back up through the old city (which was built upon an old Roman settlement that was in turn built upon a site that had seen human settlement for thousands of years). We passed many old building including the original university, founded in 1459/1460 and the Munster Cathedral where Erasmus is buried.

In general the city was pleasant and beautiful and lots of really old doors and old door hardware!

Tomorrow we are off to Milan. But I am glad that we visited this lovely place.

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