Switzerland brings to mind a few things: chocolate, clocks, great scenery, and of course skiing and snowy peaks. What it doesn’t bring to mind is blazing sunshine and searing heat.
That last part was very much tongue-in-cheek. I’m not built for heat in any way and find a Scottish summer of 18°C is perfect. The highest temperatures I’ve been in were in Agra and southern France, both around 40°C, and I just don’t operate well in that kind of heat.
My time in Basel saw blue sky, sunshine and 27°C. Fine for some but scorching for me. It meant plenty of time doing very little by the Rhine. The atmosphere along the riverside was fantastic during this weather, with a few restaurants rammed, pop up bars and food joints dotted around, buskers, sunbathers, people playing patonk.
Basel is as expected for a city at the border of three countries. The languages are mixed, the cultures are mixed and it’s evident throughout the city.
A surprising part of the trip was how quiet the oldest part of the town was, tourists aside. Munsterplaz is a lovely cobbled square next to an imposing cathedral. A typical old European market square. Except in this case it has one restaurant and a museum cafe, both dwarfed by the size of the square. I expected cafes, restaurants, shops…
A trip to Basel for a few days can also leave you spoiled for choice for day trips. It’s only an hour by direct train to Zurich, Lucerne, Bern, Freiburg, slightly further to Geneva. If you’re travelling on further, there are direct trains to Paris, Milan, Berlin, amongst others.