Okay, last episode of the winter vacation saga: I took an afternoon train from Oberstdorf through a lot of Bavaria (some trains were late, which meant I had to re-route through even more towns than expected and things took about an hour longer) to Basel, Switzerland, where my dad’s brother Bill and his family (Aunt Cathy and cousins Luke and Nolan; my oldest cousin in that group, Cristen, started school at UCLA this fall, so she wasn’t there) live. We basically spent all of the first day I was there either alpine skiing or in transit to/from skiing at a town in the Alps about an hour away, Engelberg. It was a gorgeous day and the snow was pretty good (I mean, not “Utah powder” good, but nice and smooth and reasonably fresh if you went off-piste), so we stayed on the mountain until the very last lift up, and didn’t get back to Basel until quite late.
I started the next day off with a nice run along the Rhine, which is quite beautiful in the indirect sunlight of the morning.
My aunt and uncle had errands to run and work to go to for part of the morning, so I went off on my own toward the old part of town.
My goal was to see das Münster, the city’s cathedral, because I’d seen it from my run, and my parents (who visited Basel last year) told me it had a great view of the city. They were right!
After Cathy was done with her errands, we took the train to see more of the old town, starting with the Marktplatz and town hall. We wandered through the streets toward a restaurant called Tibits, where we met my uncle for lunch.
After lunch, Cathy and I went to the museum dedicated to Jean Tinguely, a 20th-century artist (and Basel resident) best known for his kinetic sculptures.
My last cultural stop was the old paper mill, which had been turned into a museum. Apparently, making paper was a huge industry in Basel back in the early days of printing. As a lover of books, printing, and paper, I found the museum really fun and fascinating (I had to really limit the number of photos I posted from there; otherwise this post would have had a lot more dark museum interiors in it).
I wandered around the old town for a bit afterwards, stopping at a grocery store to look at what’s different in Switzerland vs. the UK (more American brands and Mexican food in Basel, surprisingly) and at the Laderach chocolate store to get a few pieces of freshly-made Swiss chocolate. After an absolutely delicious home-cooked meal, a game of Ten Up, Ten Down (also called Oh Hell, Devil’s Bridge, and many other things), and a bit of watching basketball, I called it a night. The next morning, I had a fun run with Bill and Sasha (the family dog) before heading to the airport and back to Cambridge!
Next week I’m going to Prague, so the next blog post will (hopefully) have even more pictures of European travel. Then it’s back to a more normal routine in the lab… 🙂