Basel

We crossed another border from Germany into Switzerland. My brain is frazzled from yet another change in road markings, signs, limits and conventions. The bonus stress in Switzerland is trams. They are in all the major towns and they cross over and merge into the traffic everywhere. The road layout kind of expects you to check over your left shoulder to see if a tram is approaching as you cross over the tracks, but I can’t as The Van’s steering wheel is on the wrong side! Thankfully Joolz is co-piloting and is pretty good at spotting for me.

The Van pretending to be a car

We wanted to go to Basel as we’d been there before as it was the embarkation point of our river cruise a few years ago… but that time we were only in Basel for about thirty minutes before the boat left, so we didn’t see much! Basel isn’t particularly motorhome friendly, but we’d found out that there was a car park down on the Rhine that often had spaces which were just about generous enough for a campervan. That gave us three hours to grab the obligatory coffee, pastry and trophy magnet for the travel board, and have a quick look around.

We kept seeing statues and fountains all over Basel that had an odd creature that looked like a chicken with bat wings. Only after a Google search did we find out that it’s a Basilisk, which is the head of a cock on a dragon’s body and a snake’s tail. The Basilisk is Basel’s heraldic animal and also on its coat of arms. Basilisk spotting kept us entertained for a bit.

Basel exists as a major settlement because it’s where the Rhine river changes from east-west to north-south, which meant lots of trading routes crossed there, as well as being of strategic importance. It isn’t easy to cross a river as large as the Rhine. The city has several reaction ferries to cross between banks. With modern engineering, bridges have made the ferries largely redundant, but they are still good for the tourists. Which included us, especially when we found out there was a geocache on one of them.

After signing the log book, swapping a few trinkets and picking up a travel tag or two we headed back to The Van and onwards on our journey south.

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