Day 15 – Nov 25, 2015 Basel, Switzerland tour Basel is Switzerland’s second-largest city—and one with a split personality. On the one hand, the city is dominated by giant, modern chemical concerns and pharmaceutical companies. On the other, a network of narrow alleys weaves together the city’s medieval architectural heritage. This morning, we’ll enjoy the excellent public transport system with a streetcar ride, followed by a walking tour. We’ll see the lively Marktplatz (marketplace), its colorful town hall, and the twelfth-century, red sandstone Munster (cathedral) among other highlights. To make it more convenient to explore on your own, you’ll receive a one-day streetcar ticket. After lunch onboard, you’ll have the afternoon to relax onboard or explore Basel further at your own pace. For the rest of the day, you can continue to use your public transportation day pass. With more than 30 museums, Basel is a well-known center of art and culture. Dating to 1662, the Museum of Fine Arts is considered the oldest public art museum in Europe. Inside, you can view old masters such as Hans Holbein, along with modern masters, such as Jasper Johns. The Historical Museum, which is housed in a 14th-century church, contains a collection relating to the history of culture in Central Europe. Its most notable piece is the Lallenkonig (“Babbling King”), a crowned head with moveable tongue and eyes. Later this afternoon, join an exclusive Discovery Series event, an informative discussion on Switzerland Today.
Today is the last full day! We arrive in Basel early in the morning. Got free bus/tram passes and followed our guide (program director) into the city. Someone said that Basel was the leading manufacturer of chemicals in Europe. As you look around the skyline one does see a lot of chimneys! The downtown is not at all impressive as it is simply a modern city of about 1,000,000. Am sure there are old sections of Basel but they are not in city center. Must admit City Hall is really a nice building – nicely painted with decorations and really looks good. Went to one of the main churches, not cathedral, in the city – very nice. We looked for a fondue place but only found one and it was about $36 per person! Not going to happen for a lunch so we found a neat small restaurant and had a ‘Swiss’ pizza. Not bad as it also came with a salad and a drink.
As the weather was not good, light rain, we looked around a bit then back to the ship. Started packing for early departure tomorrow morning. Got bills settled, pictures taken, email addresses exchanged, etc..