A Travellerspoint blog

July 2022

Birthday, Museum Tinguely and a return to the Rhine

Basel

My birthday went well yesterday considering I was in recovery from my illness. I was well enough to teach during the day and help with the running of the Show in the evening - one of my two groups had decided to do a big quiz with audience participation, so my role was to hand out sweets to those who got correct answers. Earlier in the day, I was serenaded with 'Happy Birthday' by the first class I had, and I got a card and some Lindt chocolate from my colleagues. After the Show, a video call home was just the thing to round the day off.

This morning I had a lie-in and a leisurely breakfast of coffee and yoghurt before packing all my stuff and heading downstairs to put it in the luggage room and check out.

I took a bus to Museum Tinguely, which looks out over the Rhine.

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I was able to use my Basel Card to get my ticket half-price; this card was an unexpected bonus we received in our hotel rooms on arrival last Sunday. This had our names and dates of stay written on them and allowed us free public transport within the wider city, half-price museum tickets, public wifi at certain points and one or two things I didn't use.

The museum was playful and interesting, as I expected after remembering the intriguing moving fountain I saw last September, which is one of his works. Jean Tinguely was famous for his kinetic, often noisy, mainly mechanical sculptures, reminiscent of Heath Robinson's inventions - amongst other things, I was impressed with a series of mechanical automatic drawing machines - though he also made some 'still' works.

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I managed to get a couple of videos, though not unfortunately of one of the crowning glories - an entire wall-sized musical contraption with wheels, piano, bell, horns and other things (the video I thought I was taking didn't come out).

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That big one set off automatically every hour, but lots of the others could be set into motion by pressing a button with your foot, though they would only work if a certain minimum number of minutes had passed since the last time (usually between 5-10).

Unfortunately, while walking round I started feeling really lightheaded and drained. I still liked the rest of what I saw there, but decided not to go on to the other museum I'd had my eye on, but rather stick to the rest of my walking route.

This took me along part of the route along the side of the river which I took last September. Only saw one person floating down it this time... The emptiness of the stony river banks/beaches from humans benefitted the seagulls, however, who took advantage by taking baths. Just as I got to the first bridge a boy punted his unsteady way along the edge in a very bare wooden boat. The seagulls ignored him, as did the ducks and swans who were feeding in the shallows.

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After buying a late lunch from a supermarket I crossed the historic bridge I remembered from September and wandered up an invitingly cobbled and twisted path which followed the other side of the river.

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I came out at Minster Square, which appeared very handsome, with the red sandstone Minster on one side and then round the edge of the square, white buildings with green shutters.

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Although I was keen to go in and have at least a quick look, my plans were foiled by the service just about to begin; no tourists allowed. I could have gone to the service, I suppose, but I didn't have time, as I needed to get back to the hotel before 5:30 to collect my stuff before the receptionist went home and I lost access to the luggage room.

I took a bus a couple of stops to the station to help speed the process along. At the station I bought some supplies for the long journey to Bratislava and found the Flixbus stop for later, then walked down the road to the hotel.

To help while away the time In my long wait in the hotel lobby I started a fascinating book called 'Travels with a Tangerine'.

Posted by 3Traveller 09:46 Archived in Switzerland Tagged art hotel museum cathedral buses switzerland basel english_teaching birthday_celebration river_rhine Comments (0)

Ill in Basel

Basel

I'm typing this in a very dazed manner in my hotel room, where I've been holed up (except for a daily walk to Aldi) since Tuesday night. I've been ill all week but was only actually off work yesterday and today.

I felt absolutely fine on arrival on Sunday, when we went out for pizza in the evening, and during the couple of hours of prep I did afterwards. But the moment I got into bed - literally the first time I swallowed after lying down - I noticed that I had a sore throat. This had got worse by morning and over the course of the day on Monday I also developed a very chesty cough, a headache and aching knees. My head felt very heavy.

I went to work on Tuesday despite not feeling any better in the morning. The non-teaching Director of Studies offered to take my classes in the afternoon if I wanted to go home at lunchtime, but as I did feel a bit improved by then, I said I'd be OK to stay on.

On Tuesday evening we went back to school for a dinner some of the staff put on for us - it was very convivial. The Home Economics department had made lasagne and a salad buffet for us, with really good coffee and a selection of muffins for after. The staff were all really nice, and I got a recommendation to visit Augusta Raurica, the largest Roman site in Switzerland, which is about 10 miles from Basel. I'll have the full day on Saturday, as my Flixbus doesn't leave until 11pm - I can't decide now whether to go to Augusta Raurica or to explore Basel further and go to the museums here that I really want to go to... a good problem to have, I suppose!

The reason why I was recommended this place was because I was chatting to the French and Latin teacher and found out that she had been to St Albans while on holiday in London! I'm not used to people knowing about St Albans when I mention where I'm from when abroad. She said she'd been there in order to go to Verulamium Museum, and that she'd also walked round Verulamium Park and seen the Hypocaust. When I mentioned the Roman theatre, she said she hadn't known about it, but would love to go there in the future!

Although my sore throat and aching knees had improved by yesterday morning, the rest of me felt worse, plus I felt unsteady when I stood up and had started feeling sick on and off, so I finally succumbed and said I wouldn't be able to make it to work. The others were all very supportive. The DoS and one of the other teachers knocked on my door later in the day and gave me an orange and some cup-a-soups. One of the other teachers was also off work sick on Wednesday, but it sounds like they managed OK without us.

I hope to be better enough to go to work tomorrow and be there for the Show, which is going to be quite a big event apparently and will be in the evening. All the parents will be invited. It's also my birthday tomorrow so it would be nice to be at least somewhat improved by then!

Update from July 2022: Looking back now, I wonder if this was Covid. I would have to have caught it in the UK, on around the 21st, but the first official cases weren't confirmed there until 31st January... No temperature or loss of taste or smell, either... but I wonder if it had been in circulation unofficially for a while before then. I'll never know.

Posted by 3Traveller 11:06 Archived in Switzerland Tagged hotel switzerland basel Comments (0)

Start of a 3-week trip across Basel, Bratislava and Vienna

London Gatwick Airport, Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg and Basel

I'm back in Basel for the first week of a three-week trip to Central Europe; week 1 will consist of a week teaching in the outskirts of Basel, in week 3 I'll be teaching in the outskirts of Vienna, and the middle week will be free. Rather than go home for that week, I'll be going to a place I haven't been to before - Bratislava - for a few days, then arriving in Vienna a couple of days early so I can see a few sights I haven't had the chance to visit on my previous times there.

There were no issues at all with the flight and then bus into town. I was sitting next to one of my colleagues for the coming week on the flight so we took the bus and walked from the station to the hotel together as well. As it happens our hotel is only a few minutes' walk from where I stayed for a night last September, so I remembered the way.

Once I'd settled in I went back to the station to get some stuff for breakfast tomorrow (nearly everywhere closes on Sundays in Austria, Germany and seemingly Switzerland, except for at train and bus stations), as we won't be getting breakfast at the hotel like we normally do. I came out with two herby rolls, a coffee yoghurt, some Coke Zero for general drinking, a pastry for a late lunch, and a carton of milk; to my delight, I've got a kettle in my hotel room, as well as coffee and sugar sachets (a kettle sounds like a standard thing to get in a hotel room, but I've never had one while teaching in Europe before!)

Posted by 3Traveller 16:20 Archived in Switzerland Tagged airport switzerland basel Comments (0)

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