When in Basel.... - Two Months of Rhine - CycleBlaze

June 20, 2022

When in Basel....

...do as the Baselites do!

Not only did I take the plunge, but Marjory floated along with me!  No pics of us though, because we were afraid of getting the camera/cell phones wet. We had planned to hit a couple of museums in the morning, then float after lunch as it got hotter. However, it being Monday and Europe, most museums are closed today. You'd think we would have planned this better when we put together this itinerary 3 (or 6?) months ago!

So we walked around Basel a bit, and drank in this "3 country city" - parts of it are in France, Germany, and Switzerland. There is a real mix of the old and new here, as you see in the below photo. It is now home to the pharma giants, and the city seems very well off.

mix of old and new
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You have to be a little careful crossing the streets. There are, of course, those pesky cyclists, some cars and buses, but pedestrians are the priority with one exception: trams. Get out of their way! They are all electric, and all trains and trams in Switzerland are powered by renewable energy electricity. We got to try one out soon, but that is a later story.

trams get priority!
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The Marketplatz had some great food options (piniados - which looked a lot like pita sandwiches, and all types of strudel, and....) - I'm getting hungry even talking about it! The Radhaus in this platz is very impressive, and like so many buildings in Europe has scaffolding as seen below.

the Rathaus of Basel
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Yes, so we eventually got too hot to do more walking about, and got our bathing suits on and started walking east along the river (where we had ridden into town yesterday). We knew it was about 2.5 km to walk, and we had to buy a Wickelfisch on the way - what they call the float everyone uses here - and was apparently "invented in Basel".

Paul, I tried to get a pink flamingo, but they were all out!
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You stuff your shoes and all inside here, roll it up (its a dry bag basically), capture as much air as you can for its flotation and jump in. 

However, in spite of hearing "you can buy them everywhere in kiosks", we walked the entire 2.5 km and not a single wickelfisch kiosk. What to do? Luckily we had a "Basel card" from the hotel giving us free tram and bus rides, so we hopped on #31 and headed back to downtown. We found the wickels in a big department store, then hopped back on #31 and approached the water.

Getting in was a slight shock, but we were quite hot by then and in short order we were enjoying the ride. The current is very fast, very strong, and you could get in trouble if you don't stay away from the buoys and bridge pilons.  We did really well until almost at the end. Some kids were yelling "it comes up , it comes up". We thought they meant it was time to get out of the water soon. 

no, that's not me
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What they meant was that the bottom of the bridge footing makes it very shallow all of a sudden with ragged concrete, or so my foot found out.

"it's coming up"!
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So, luckily I do have my tetanus shot (you were right, Mary!), so a quick visit to the Apotheek, and we had everything we needed.

A fun and relaxing day in Basel, tomorrow we are back on the bikes in the direction of Neuenburg am Rhein, just a guesthouse halfway to Colmar, France. We'll spend 3 days in Colmar exploring the wine country there.

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Comment on this entry Comment 4
Suzanne GibsonGood for you for giving it a try! Sorry about your foot, though!
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1 year ago
Sandra LawnI’m inspired I’ve seen people floating down this part of the Rhine River, of course thought they were crazy and had used some hired floatation device with assumed boat safety support?
Apparently not and now I know how they do it.
On some future tour via Basel I’ll dare myself to take up the challenge as you did - it does look inviting

Well done
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1 year ago
Patrick ParnoTo Suzanne Gibsonfoot is already much better, thx!
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1 year ago
Patrick ParnoTo Sandra Lawnit really was a wonderful experience. if they only had a beer boat...
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1 year ago