Basel, Switzerland: Again, with Schnitzel

Basel Marktplatz and Rathaus

This is my third visit to Basel, Switzerland. Go back to my 2010 posts to read about my second trip here. My first trip occurred 19 years ago. Little did I know back then, when I spent one night in the youth hostel here, on my way to hiking the Gimmelwald area, that I'd be back. Traveler Eight and I were here to work but, in between work assignments, I did get out there on the now familiar streets of Basel, city of the Basilisk. I ended taking some rather random photos of things that struck me as interesting or quirky rather than trying to show the city overall.

Basel Clique

Traveler Eight and I arrived in Basel to the sound of fife and drum bands. They were wandering all over the city. It was rather surreal after an overnight transatlantic flight to be plunged into such chaos and cacophony wreathed in the mouthwatering smells of grilled wurst (sausage). It turned out to be the very last night of Karnival (the same thing as Mardi Gras). One of the things unique to Karnival (or Fasnacht) in Basel is the numerous cliques, or clubs, created to participate in Karnival. They do this by marching around the old town playing fife and drums. Some cliques get a bit more adventurous and include other instruments. It was fun to sit and eat schweineschnitzel (pork schnitzel) in a restaurant in the Hotel Basel completely surrounded by cliques pounding and piping away.

We also visited the Antikenmuseum where they were having an exhibition about sex, drugs, and violence in ancient art. This primarily consisted of ancient Greek amphora and wine bowls inscribed with rather imaginative illustrations which I won't describe here but you'll get the idea when you see my next post about the Basel Zoo, where it was mating season for many of the animals. Ahem. We then went to a very lovely retrospective of Pierre Bonnard at the Fondation Beyeler. This museum is worth going to just to see the building and its surroundings. The setting is spectacular. So is the cafe I'm told. I was happy because I got to hang out with my old friends Van Gogh and Kandinsky.

 Basel Clique

 Basel Clique in Marktplatz

Wurst (sausage)

I like this photo because it looks like a comet is about to hit the city but really its just a light. I love random camera weirdness.

 Mittlere Bruke, Basel

The second night we visited Lilly's Stomach Supply for some great Thai food. I have to mention it here because its the best restaurant name ever.

The third day I ventured out at lunch to the Rathaus at Marktplatz. This building has been a townhall since the 1300s. When I was here in 2010 the Rathaus was under restoration. This time I got to go inside the court yard. The Art Nouveau style painting in the courtyard is spectacular. It is worth a wander in and around. English tours are given once a day at a particular time so its important to check before visiting. I'm told the interior of the building is even more spectacular. Also, Marktplatz is a great place to pick up a quick lunch as there's an open air market here daily.

Rathaus courtyard

 Inside the Rathaus courtyard looking out at Marktplatz

Rathaus courtyard

 I love the quirky details of the painted decorations within the courtyard.

 Very Alphonse Mucha don't you think?

 Rathaus courtyard

 I love the illuminated Medieval manuscript type floral motifs throughout

 A gargoyle guarding a door

 Click for detail. The sign shows a bird flying at the entrance of this alley. You'd have to be the size of a bird to fit between these buildings.

In the evening of our third day, as we walked from our hotel over a bridge to the old town to go to dinner, we encountered the most spectacular procession. We ran right smack into a full fledged Kurdish Spring Fire Festival called Newroz. There are now major political overtones to this most ancient of Middle Eastern festivals and in some countries the celebration is extremely controversial, as anyone familiar with Kurdish history can imagine. Traveler Eight and I watched hundreds of people carrying torches march over the Rhine river into the old town, fire lighting the lanes of the city in a spectacular way.

Newroz procession

Our destination was Walliser Kanne, the best place in Basel to get schnitzel. I realize this is the second time I've mentioned schnitzel in this post. Well, I had decided that I would eat my weight in schnitzel while here because I wasn't going to get anything like it back in Massachusetts. Plus they make it right there in front of you at the table and nothing beats the smell of smooshed flat pork frying in butter.

Seriously good schnitzel

Somewhere between this ingestion of schnitzel and the next I did spend a rather amusing lunchtime in the Basel Zoo but that will get a post of its own. 

The night before we left to head to our next destination (Berlin) we went to yet another amazing meal. Really, I've never had a bad meal in Basel. We went to Kohlmanns in Barfusserplatz. Yes, I had schnitzel again. Traveler Eight had a whole chicken folded into a pastry. It was a work of art.

Walking toward Marktplatz. I love the juxtaposition of new tram and old buildings.

The top of a sandwich board for a creperie.

More interesting sandwich boards
 Chocolate and marzipan go Easter

 Really good chocolate

 Used instruments in store window. Notice the rope snake and other rather amusing accompaniments.

 Used instruments in store window. More amusing accompaniments.

 Crazy colored lawn decorations, Barfusserplatz

  Halloween!!!! Crazy colored lawn decorations, Barfusserplatz

 Red currents, like rubies in your mineral wasser sans gas.

 Barfusserplatz at night


  1. Basel is also host to an array of buildings by internationally renowned architects. For me its a beautiful and I wish I could visit it again :)

  2. Yes, the architecture is amazing. Perhaps on my next trip there I will focus more on that if I get a chance.


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