October 25, 2023
Today we left Zurich and took a bus to Basel (Baa-zel).
One very cool thing we noticed as we drove to Basel was that we traveled through the state/county of Aarau, and we were within 15 miles of the town of Aarau. Why is that cool you may ask? Because Nancy's maternal grandfather's family came from that area. And, in a cool coincidence, today would have been Nancy's grandmother's (Helen Arau) birthday. If you are observant you may be thinking that I made a typo in that last sentence by spelling Aarau as Arau. That is not our fault! We can blame that discrepancy on the procesorr who completed paperwork for the people entering the USA many years ago. That person told Nancy's ancestors that they didn't need 2 "A"s and recorded their name as Arau.
Basil is a beautiful and green city, with lots of tree-filled parks and tree-lined streets, and is known as the cultural capitol of Switzerland. There is an historic center of town which has buildings that date back to the 1300's or more. Especially interesting are the fountains in Basel. The city has 350 fountains, and all of them are fed by clean water from which people can drink. Fifty (50) of those fountains are official swimming fountains that people can, and do, swim in during the summer months. One fountain celebrates the new year by turning the water into wine every January 1st at 11:00 am, when people come and fill their glasses and toast the new year.
Another interesting discovery - There is a sundial time on the wall outside the Basel Cathedral. Actually there are two. Look at the two sundials (below) carefully - what do you notice? Hopefully your answer was "missing numbers". Since one of the sundials only gets morning light, and one only gets afternoon light, there are certain hours where the sun doesn't hit each of them. Notice how the elongation of the spaces between the numbers is related to the amount of sun expected during specific hours of the day. On sunny days the dials are accurate.
Basel is also known for the large number of museums; 40 museums in a city of 180,000 people. There is the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Historical, Natural History, Museum of Music, Museum of Culture, Cartoon, and more.
This is a picture of the Spielzeug Welton Museum (World Toy Museum).
Basel has a variety of architecture from ancient times to modern. The picture below is a picture of the Roche Towers (bio-medical office buildings) which are the tallest buildings in all of Switzerland.
We boarded the Viking Freya; we've already gone through three locks. Heading to Strasbourg, France tomorrow.