Day By Day

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Through the Heart of Europe -- Part 2, Basel

The next day we left our berth on the Rhine and toured the city of Basel. It is a moderately sized urban area -- about 850,000 residents, only 20% of whom live in Switzerland [most live in adjoining areas of France and Germany].

I was tempted to open an account at a local bank, just to be able to say that I had a "Swiss bank account".

Basel is famous for its streetcars. They are the major form of city transportation. As you can see there aren't a lot of autos on the streets. Basel's economy is based on the chemical industry and international banking, both of which are thriving, however the population is declining rapidly from its peak in the 1970s. The problem is that the Swiss residents are not having many children. As a result an increasing proportion of the population consists of immigrants.

Basel is proud of its reputation as a cultural center. This is the fountain pool outside the performing arts building. I don't get the concept, but the collection of tortured metal objects spewing water is certainly striking.

An old gasthaus locally famous for its clientele of performance artists.

The town mascots, dueling basilisks -- "Basel"/basilisk, get it?

The official town insignia. It is a stylized representation of a bishop's crook -- supposedly commemorating the eighth century martyr, St. Germanus.

A pastry shop -- the first of many we would visit.

The central market square.

Tombstones that have been relocated so the graveyard could be developed.

Seen in a shop window.

Roof tiles.

The Basel Munster.

An old guildhall.

The Rathaus, Basel's town hall.

Then it was back to the boat to begin our journey down the Rhine.

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