New Year 2012 in Basel and cheese


Outside the very modern and comfortable YMCA in Basel.   I hooked up with two other chaps from here, one is from Argentina and one is Chinese.

Just about 11pm, New Year’s Eve, this church had people on a balcony doing playing brass instruments for a while, then there was a church service at 11.30, instead, we headed down to the river.   The city was treated to a pretty nice fireworks display which lasted about 20 minutes, some of the pyrotechnics were coming from a different direction from some distance away, maybe from France or Germany which are only less than a mile away from here.

Had a bit of a sleep in, although didn’t actually drink the night before, took a wander down for breakfast, my new friends were not there, as they were heading to Italy.

This was part of breakfast in the canteen type area 🙂  Actually only 2 small pieces of cheese were laid out at a time on the table, as if people might of been pinching it and putting in a bag for lunch later.

Later I got to head to my good friend Matthew’s house for lunch, he introduced me to Raclette for lunch…

Raclette is cheese put in a small purpose designed table-top grill in small metal shovel type things, once melted your scrape it off onto your plate and serve with potatoes and other vegetables.   I was warned that non-Swiss people tend to not able to eat that much, he was right, I had 3 and half pieces, I was full, I guess eating cheese with the Swiss is like trying to playing drinking games with Russian people!

I got on a tram back to the centre of Basel and walked to the Youth Hostel to pack my things and get a train to Interlaken, a small town surrounded by the Swiss Alps.

More soon…

Switzerland – the old city of Basel

A little bit later I will finish writing about the lively church in Nazareth I got to visit.

Meanwhile I took sometime out after flying to see family at Christmas, I wanted to do something different for New Year, the 1st of January is a non-event in Israel, and I am bored with the drinking culture in UK, as Basel is reachable by Easyjet from Luton, UK and I can get back to Tel Aviv via Geneva, I thought it would be a good opportunity to see my good friend Matthew who is a Swiss Christian who was studying Hebrew and going to the same church in Jerusalem, last year.

Railways in Switzerland are probably the best anywhere, this one is a palace in itself with attractive paintings on the walls, escalators and nice shops, and generally an accurate representation of Switzerland’s precise and efficient approach to everything.

There are lots of museums in this country, this one is meant to be the smallest in the world, I am not sure if its just a window of stuff or if you can go in.   I didn’t get time to visit any of the other ones which was a shame.

Basel is a truly beautiful place.  This was my first visit to Switzerland, so I was really looking forward to it, its quite different from Germany even before I got near any mountains, its like they have a German attitude to efficiency and engineering and use the French and Italian influence for design flair. 🙂

I like the mix of oldy worldy shops and modern retail places too.   Watches are a big thing of course, as top brands in fashion too.  Funny thing is, I didn’t see any places boarded up, so the recession hasn’t affected Basel, or the Swiss are good at quickly dressing up defunkt businesses with different signage, unlike UK and the US!

This shoe place is a worth a mention for its amusing name 😀

It is kind of horribly expensive, I went to Starbucks and paid CHF7 for the cheapest coffee, (1 Swiss Franc is almost the same as a US Dollar at $0.96)

I got to see my friend speak at a very old (400+ year) church and also another congregation who meet in a plain looking office type building too.

In town I came across a large and big Synagogue, which its own 24 hour security guard.   Normally you can go in there to visit, but it was shut over Christmas (!) as the security office wasn’t manned during the holidays.

My friend drove us to the outskirts of the city to see overhead from a hill.  There is an odd layer of fog over the city which is not that visible from the photo, Basel I think is just above sea level unlike the mountanous parts of Switzerland I visited later.

This was a tall old folly or castle which was about equvilant of a 4 story building, Matthew kind of gets a bit crazy standing up here!  I think contrary to Swiss being supposedly boring running banks and financial institutions, they treated the rugged parts of their country as a playground for skiing, snowboarding and lots of other outdoor sports they like the live dangerously!   and yes, they eat a lot of cheese and chocolate. 🙂

Although this might not seem in regular theme of my blog visiting bible places, this country gave me some interesting perspectives on my spiritual life, which I will explain soon…