Rome to Basel
Flying from Rome to Basel was painless - EasyJet were much better than I thought they were going to be - Budget airline but nice place, staff and well organised.
When we arrived in Europort - a weird airport that serves 3 countries - Basel, Feibourg and Mulhouse - we picked up our baggage and went out of the Swis Exit. No hassle - no fuss.
Jumping on the #50 bus - we were in the town centre within 15 minutes.
Basel to Hotel
The internet is good for lots of things, and I like booking.com for the ease and reliability of its Hotel services - but it’s directions to this hotel - were V V V bad. We could not find bus #36 - but the Tourist Information Bureau was excellent - and within minutes we were boarding a #11 tram from platform no 5.
We entered what looked like a rather dull and old fashioned hotel - to find a clean, modern interior - with a concierge who was very happy indeed to see us. He commented when he handed us our room keys - that we had been upgraded and he would be interested on our comments.
I think I had asked to be put in a high floor room - apparently the view is good there - so I was a little sad to find we were on the ground floor. The room however was more like a suite…. And I am saying that having stayed in Suites in the Middle East modern 5* hotels now and then.
That evening as it weirdly does not get dark until 21:15 - we had a walk around the old town - enjoying the feel of an old looking city - at the same time liking the bracing weather. It was cold - for us very cold.
The site of the mighty Rhine was very impressive indeed. Further improved with a large barge passing under the bridge where we were standing.
After getting tired and cold from walking we found a typical Swiss/German style restaurant and had two plates of filling and tasty food.
Basel in 5 hours
Firstly it is not possible to do anywhere throughly in 5 hours - But after a wonderful 8 hours sleep - we checked out of the hotel - and went to find some food - Swiss style. Juliet has never had a soft pretzel and something that looked like a beef-berger as breakfast before - come to think of it neither had I - It was very filling.
We set off to the Cathedral but managed to get lost !!! and instead went to a different church - which was quite pretty but was not what I had planned.
Looking at the map - we re-grouped and then with some deft down-this alley, turn right here etc came to the main Cathedral. Inside it was pleasant but nothing like the sites we had seen at Rome - however I had done some research and I had been led to believe that the views from the towers were worth the effort. There some some warning about small spaces…
After investing in 10 CHF the lady on the desk buzzed the door open for us - and we started up a metal staircase for 2 flights - very easy - very simple. Then the metal switched to wooden stairs and 2 flights further up - we had a slight traffic jam with 2 people coming down. We were able to pass each other standing on a platform bent double.
The stairs carried on - a little steeper and a little narrower. Until standing beside me was Quazimodo - well the Filipino version :)
We went out onto the balcony - and WOW what a view. The sign indicated to carry on around…. opening another door - we went up. This time VERY narrow steps, with a rope as a safety line. Up and up and up we climbed - when we next emerged we were level with the roof.
Here there were some really nice gargoyles looking down on the City. The views were much more impressive.
Yet another door - and yet more stairs - even narrower, even steeper - and we had reached the very top. We could go no more. However the views were stunning.
Once we descended we had one final walk around the town before retracing out steps to the train station.
As we were heading to Berne next we bought return tickets - very quick and simple.
The only shocks in Switzerland so far have been a late train !!!, And prices cheaper than where we live !!!
Avante - next stop Berne.