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Feb 05

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Basel, the Gateway to the Rhine River Cruises

Dear Luke and Leia,

Today we are in Basel, the gateway to the Rhine River. Basel is considered the starting point of navigation upon the Rhine (the other end is the North Sea) and thus many river cruises leave and arrive from here. This is why we are here too, but we arrived early because we wanted to get a chance to see the city before boarding the cruise ship. (Nana also wrote about our one day in Basel, if you want to read more about it.)

Here are some of the things we liked the most.

Basel, Switzerland and the Elizabeth Church.

Basel, Switzerland and the Elizabeth Church.

Elizabeth Church

Elizabeth church, or Elisabethkirche in German, is the best known neo-Gothic building in Switzerland. Almost 50,000 people a year visit this beautiful structure. It was built around 1857-1864 by a wealthy businessman named Christoph Merian. This was the first church built after the Reformation and is now home of the first Swiss “OpenChurch.”

Elizabeth Church, Basel

Elizabeth Church, Basel

Clock mechanics in the tower at Elizabath Church, Basel, Switzerland

Clock mechanics in the tower at Elizabeth Church

Winding stairway down from the clock tower in Elizabeth Church, Basel

Winding stairway down from the clock tower

Congregation seating inside Elizabeth Church, Basel

Congregation seating inside Elizabeth Church

Stravinsky Fountain

We wish you could have seen this quirky fountain. It is named after composer Igor Stravinsky and contains works inspired by him. Many were named after animals, like The Firebird. The fountain is a shallow basin of water about 6,243 square feet and is located between Centre Pompidou and the Church of Saint Merri. It is used to express the modern lines of the Center, and does a good job with these sculptures.

Stravinsky Fountain, Basel, Switzerland

Stravinsky Fountain, Basel, Switzerland

Modern art sculptures in the Stravinsky Fountain, Basel.

Modern art sculptures in the Stravinsky Fountain, Basel.

Marktplatz

Marktplatz is located at the center of Basel and is known for the markets that are in front of Basel City Hall. This square dates back to 1260 as a grain market and shifted to a full market by the 15th century. Today there are numerous vendors offering everything from produce to street foods.

Basel City Hall, Marktplatz

Basel City Hall, Marktplatz

The clock on Basel City Hall.

The clock on Basel City Hall.

Olives in Marktplatz, Basel.

Olives in Marktplatz, Basel.

Vendor booth in Marktplatz, Basel.

Vendor booth in Marktplatz, Basel.

Fresh cherries, strawberries and blueberries in Marktplatz, Basel.

Fresh cherries, strawberries and blueberries in Marktplatz, Basel.

Another clock on Marktplatz, Basel, Switzerland

Another clock on Marktplatz, Basel, Switzerland

Sausage vendor on Marktplatz, Basel.

Sausage vendor on Marktplatz, Basel.

Exploring the streets of Basel

The first thing we noticed while exploring the streets of Basel was the crowds of people enjoying the shopping and restaurants. The streets were hilly until we got near the Rhine River. The riverfront was vibrant and had a lot of nice restaurants. The water was really clean and the warm weather meant plenty of swimmers. Plus, pleasure craft even had a chance to pull along a water skier or two.

view up a hilly street leading away from the Rhine River in Basel.

View up a hilly street leading away from the Rhine River in Basel.

Crowded street in Basel, Switzerland.

Crowded street in Basel, Switzerland.

Rhine River swimmers in Basel Switzerland.

Rhine River swimmers in Basel Switzerland.

Water skiing on the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland.

Water skiing on the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland.

Strolling Basel after dark

After a wonderful dinner and with the moon in full glow, we decided to explore the riverfront further. Crowds lined the riverfront area where a band played on a platform that was anchored in the river. It was wonderful seeing Basel in lights.

Basel, Switzerland

Full moon over Basel, Switzerland.

Basel, Switzerland in lights.

Basel, Switzerland in lights.

We’re tired after our long stroll, so it is time for us to head back to the hotel and get ready for our departure on the river cruise. We sure wish you two were here with us.

Love,

Nana and Pap

P.S. – You can click the top left of any photos in our story to add them to your Pinterest boards.

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Tower on a bridge in Basel Switzerland

Tower on a bridge in Basel Switzerland

Pulpit in Elizabeth Church, Basel

Pulpit in Elizabeth Church, Basel

Up the hill street view in Basel, Switzerland.

Up the hill street view in Basel, Switzerland.


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10 comments

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  1. [email protected] on Tour

    I love that fountain and the sculptures. Also pretty night shots of Basil.
    [email protected] on Tour recently posted…Photo Flashbacks: Camp Splash in Sanur, BaliMy Profile

    1. Linda

      The animated fountain was one of our favorite things in Basel, Sally. We loved how the water made the individual sculptures move.

  2. Lyn aka TheTravellingLindfields

    I love your after dark photos – they look just magical.
    Lyn aka TheTravellingLindfields recently posted…Alaskan Cruises – Do Australians pay more than Americans?My Profile

    1. Linda

      Actually, Lyn, the secret to magical photos is to shoot during twilight. That sky is a fabulous color, don’t you think?

  3. Tanja (the Red phone box travels)

    What a wonderful town! #the weekly postcard
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels) recently posted…A guide to Menton, FranceMy Profile

    1. Dan

      Yes Tanja, Basel is a fantastic town and one we enjoyed getting lost in. Meandering the narrow streets brought so much life to Basel and is a great starting point into Switzerland. Have you been to Basel yet?

  4. Anda

    I wanted to take the Rhine river cruise for our wedding anniversary this past summer, but my husband wanted to go to Alaska instead. I wanted to please him so we went there instead, but now that I read your post I sort of feel sorry I missed this.

    1. Linda

      In that case, Anda, I’d say he owes you another trip to Europe. When is your birthday? 🙂

  5. Patrick

    Nice article to “Basel, the Gateway to the Rhine River Cruises”. Especially in summer our lovely and clean Rhine is crowded with swimmers coming from far away to Basel. It is like on holidays 🙂 – May we inform your to book your airport transfer with us! Kindly request your quote. We are recommended on Tripadvisor. Greatings from Basel http://www.airport-taxiservice.ch/english/

    1. Linda

      Greetings from Florida, Patrick. Thanks for sharing your resource. I hope you will share our story with everyone in your beautiful city. 🙂

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