Basel

Today we went early to the aged care facility to visit Christine, Cornelia’s mum. She was so happy to see us and gave us both a big hug. It was lovely to see her again, and especially looking so well. We were so impressed with Christine’s English because she probably hasn’t needed to use it for six months, but she had plenty of stories to share with us as we looked through the photo album from her 90th birthday party from two years ago.

Cornie and Christine went for a walk, so Rod took Marg and I for a walk down into the Old Town of Basel. Just a few hundred metres from Christine’s house, we passed the tennis courts where Roger Federer played as a youngster. I was surprised by the lack of fanfare afforded to him. There was a court named after him and a large photo inside the clubhouse, and there was a plaque on the sidewalk in the town, but other than that I saw no mention of the fact that he grew up as a citizen of Basel.

Walking through the city gate into the Old Town, we found ourselves surrounded on both sides of the road with buildings dating back to the 13th century. We visited the Town Hall, painted in a striking russet brown colour, or perhaps even redder than that. Frescoes depicting the stories from the history of the city were painted on the walls. There was a small street market right outside the entrance selling everything from fresh farm produce to brushes and brooms.

Eventually we came to the Rhine, which flows through the city, separating Grossbasel from Kleinbasel. It’s very wide here and the water flows at a good pace in the middle of the river, but more gently at the edges. In the distance we could see a couple of cruise ships berthed that looked very similar to the Scenic Jasper. More text follows the next set of photos.

We spent some time exploring the old cathedral that sits on a high point overlooking the Rhine. Known as Basel Münster, the church dates back to the year 1091. It is distinctive for its red sandstone construction and its brightly coloured roof tiles. The resting places of bishops and knights inside the cathedral bear burial dates from the medieval era. We stopped for a while at a wonderful fountain populated with moving mechanical objects. The fountain dates back to the 1970s, but it still looks fresh and modern in its design and it’s certainly entertaining to watch the movement patterns of different components of the fountain.

Cornie joined us for a sausage at the city market, which I would highly recommend if you’re ever in Basel. Ask for the veal sausage and you won’t be disappointed. We stopped again shortly after for an Aperol Spritz, which seems to be the drink to order if you want to stay cool on warm, sunny days in Europe.

We crossed the Rhine in a fähre, a small wooden boat attached to a cable across the river. The boatman flipped the rudder with his foot and that was all the work he had to do, as the boat slowly made its way from the bank out to the middle of the river and eventually to the other side.

We walked back through Kleinbasel, then over the bridge to Grossbasel, and back through the Old Town until eventually we reached Christine’s house once more. I know Cornelia and Rod were very happy to show us around her former home town. We loved it. It’s a beautiful place.

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