Knocking About the City

Dearest Rachel –

I had every intention of knocking about the city this afternoon; it’s part of the reason why I arrived early enough to stay the night. I want to look around town, see what Basel has to offer.

But with this head cold that I’m dealing with, I feel like I could just call it a night right here and now, despite the fact that it’s not even four in the afternoon (local time – which means it’s nine in the morning back home). Admittedly, part of this has to do with the fact that I didn’t really get a lot of sleep on the plane; I could stand to do some catching up.

The problem is, it’s still light out, and I still need to find out about a few things. For one, I think the #8 pink line will take me to the quay where the ships are docked (and therefore, where I’m going to need to be come, say, noonish or so), but I want to be sure about that.

I mean, I’ve done a little wandering around, but it’s really only been in the Centralbahnplatz. Not that there isn’t plenty to see and do here; it just seems a bit… minimalistic, in geographic terms. Most of has had to do with the main train station:

That building straight on, just to the left of center.
Which looks like this from the inside.

You might remember how I, when we would be cruising to a city we’d been to before, would just go into town and check out the ordinary, mundane things the city had to offer. Because what’s mundane to one person is exotic to another; we don’t have a Tesco or a Carrefour, or – in this case – a Migros.

And we definitely don’t keep our supermarkets in the basement

To be sure, the actual goods on offer weren’t all that outlandish; consider Aldi meets Mariano’s or some such. So, no pictures from the supermarket.

But I did mention about being hungry as I wrapped up my last letter, didn’t I? Well, here’s what I got from Migros’ eatery:

That’s salmon and… I don’t know if it was supposed to be cream cheese. It has the texture, but it was a bit sweeter than I expected it to be. At any rate, it was different.

Before I move on to the other sights, I should mention about the Orangina. After SaberSpark’s video about cursed commercials, I saw the bottles in the fridge behind the server, and I just had to try it. It would be different that just getting myself a coke or some such like that. It actually tastes a lot like the Irish Club Orange – which is to say, I could probably just as easily take thawed orange juice concentrate (with a fair amount of pulp – that’s part of the appeal, after all), and mix it with the seltzer water we get from our SodaStream. But hey, at least I tried it.

Actually, I tried it a little too much. You’ll notice the tag line under the name, an upside-down slogan that reads: ‘Shake the pulp!’ And yeah, I suppose the pulp would settle to the bottom, and would need to be mixed in with the rest. But you can probably see what’s coming here, right? Shaking a bottle of any carbonated beverage is not a good idea. Yeah, I made rather a mess, and had to go looking for napkins to clean it all up. Serves me right, I guess.

Anyway, on to the sightseeing. There were sculptures:

And all of these were within a block or two around the Hotel Euler. And yes, the dragon is actually blowing steam out of his nose. Didn’t get close enough to check it, but I at least got a shot of the steam.

Once I got on the tram, I saw churches, both ancient and modern:

and some interesting housing, as well

But on my way up to where I thought the quay would be (and if it is, it’s several blocks west of where the bus lets you out, so I never did see if the the ships were in. Hope the folks at the concierge can help me out as to how to get where I need to go), I saw a couple of Christmas markets that I had to check out on my way back. Here’s the one at the Marketplatz:

And I followed that series of archways for blocks… heck, it might have been miles, for all I know…

Along the path, I encountered a street performer who was making these enormous soap bubbles (the kind I was trying to make at Abt, but couldn’t get the soap to cooperate):

But then I discovered the real Christmas Market as I was walking along, and getting closer to the Barfüsserplatz, where the bars and restaurants were.

The only problem was, the place actually had bouncers; security staff checking to see if you had your Covid papers, with the QR code on them.

Now, I thought I was in the clear, at the Swiss government sent me this email just the other day:

But the security guy was insistent. Nope, it had to be the one without a Swiss emblem on it. Well, I didn’t get one of those, at least, not to my knowledge. So I guess I’m simply out of luck here.

So all I can do is to take a picture of the place from the other side of the guardrails.

Hey, if they don’t want my disease-ridden money, I suppose that’s their call. It’s still kind of disappointing.

On the other hand, it isn’t as if I bought a whole lot of stuff, be it at the first Christmas market or at the train station. I did see some Christmas crackers; you might recall the folks pulling those out at least one year. Maybe we should try that again.

After that, I processed to board the wrong tram, and get myself lost for the better part of half an hour before getting back to the back alleys of the Barfüsserplatz, and working my way back to the hotel. Even now, it’s barely half past seven local time (which means it’s barely after noon at home), but I am so tired and footsore. I’ve got myself wrapped up in my robe, and I’ll probably be heading to bed in a few minutes. Hey, it’ll give me first crack at the breakfast the hotel is serving in the morning.

It still pains me to see two pillows on the bed, and two glasses in the bathroom for brushing one’s teeth. Everything in life is geared toward either couples or families, and it just doesn’t feel right to be out and about by myself. Oh, well…

I’ll check back in with you tomorrow, honey. Until then, enjoy yourself, and keep an eye out for me.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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