The trip to Cologne was cancelled so we went straight to Switzerland. The train ticket was very expensive, therefore I booked a flight instead. There was no flight from Amsterdam to Zurich, hence we flew to Basel. The airport was actually situated in France and is very near to the border of Switzerland and Germany. We took a bus to Basel city and it took less than half an hour to reach. Basel is Switzerland’s second largest city, built on both sides of the Rhine River – Altstadt Kleinbasel and Altstadt Grossbasel. Since we landed in Basel, I thought we could do a day trip in Basel. I had pre-booked the train ticket in the evening to Zurich. It was almost 11am when we reached the railway station. First, we had to keep our luggages in the lockers at the basement of the railway station. There were three different sizes, which cost CHF9 for large, CHF7 for medium and CHF5 for small. I took a city map which showed all the main attractions in Basel. We only visited Altstadt Grossbasel. The old town was within walking distance from the railway station. We first stopped at Herbert-Mayr-Park to have lunch, which was packed sandwich. Most of the benches there were wet but a park cleaner gave us a few newspapers to sit on it.

We first reached Church of St. Elizabeth. As my Mum filled her water bottle at a fountain nearby, two youngsters came and acknowledged my Dad. What a small world as they were both AFS students, the girl was in Basel for her exchange year and she was on my Dad’s group a few years back to Japan.

Then we continued walking and reached the old city. There were shops everywhere. I bought heise Maroni for my parents to try. They like it and only during that moment that I realised it is the same nut we put inside Chinese dumpling. While walking and eating Maroni, we came across a market place. When I checked Google Map, it showed that we were at Marktplatz and the bright, red building on the right was the City Hall (Basler Rathaus). We went in and had a look around but it was closed. There was a wish book and all of us wrote our wishes on the book.

There are three bridges that connect the Klein- and Gross-stadt. We walked from the Marktplatz to the middle bridge (Mittlere Rheinbrücke). As we wanted to visit Basel Münster, we walked uphill along a small lane (Rheinsprung) until we reached Münsterplatz. We also passed by Museum of Cultures Basel but did not enter. Basel Münster was under construction but it looked really grand. We went inside and took some photos.

We wanted to go to Spalentor. We did pass by the Basel Historical Museum, next to Barfüsserplatz, which is also a tram stop. There was a Puppenhausmuseum nearby. It took about 10 minutes to reach the Spalen Gate. The Spalentor is the most imposing of the three surviving city gates that formed part of the fortifications of 1400. Many important goods for the supply of the city passed through this gate from Alsace.

I was unsure how long it takes to get back to the railway station so we did not go anywhere else but headed straight back. The journey back was faster than I had expected. We had to wait for more than an hour at the station but better early than late. When it was near to the departure time, we went to collect our luggages. As we were heading up the platform using the escalator, I turned around and saw my Mum was falling backward towards my Dad. He was trying to support her from falling and luckily someone at his back helped him. I found it funny and could not do anything from the top. Fortunately everyone was alright but my Mum said she thought she was going to die.

It only took about an hour to reach Zürich HB. I bought the tickets to Rümlang and when we reached there, it was almost 6pm. Gabi was already at the railway station waiting for us. It was really nice to see my host family again!


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