A WEEK IN SWITZERLAND (BASEL AND LUCERNE)
My week in photos: July 16–22, 2018! Zach and I travel to Europe and we spend the week in Basel and Lucerne in Switzerland, and in the Black Forest in Germany. See the beautiful Swiss landscapes, check out the art and museums, and see my lovely friends I met when I studied abroad in London.
We left for Switzerland on a Sunday evening and arrived in Basel after a layover in London a day later. When we landed it was a little before 7pm and it was still bright and sunny. I remember looking a bright white fluffy cloud that was in the distance and I thought to myself that even the view from the airport was beautiful. We headed to meet Zach’s family at the apartment we were all staying at together.
We walked out to find a place to get a bite to eat and just soak in the atmosphere by the Rhine/Rhein River.
It was nearly sunset but there were hundreds of people down b the water edge, everybody had a beer in hand, a snack, were in the water, etc. Quite a sight! So fun to see an activity that seemingly the entire city (all ages) was into.
Bike seat cover that looked like a lil’ doggo’s face.
We had dinner at a restaurant on the water front and then walked around and just soaked in the atmosphere.
Tuesday! Good morning. Coffee at the apartment before we headed out for a big museum-filled day.
Basel has a little tram system that is pretty convenient and that take you all around the city. We took the tram out to Schaulager Foundation to see the Bruce Nauman retrospective.
We weren’t allowed to take photos inside, but I really enjoyed the exhibition. Bruce Nauman is an American artist who makes video, drawing, neon sculpture, photography, and installations.
One sneaky photo from Kunsthalle Basel, a contemporary art space.
Third museum of the day, Antikenmuseum Basel. This museum has art and artifacts from antiquity.
Fourth museum of the day! Kunstmuseum Basel.
The current exhibitions included an awesome installation by Theaster Gates and paintings by Sam Gilliam. Plus we wandered around to see their paintings collection.
Hello, I am pooped! We said farewell to Zach’s mom so she could go get some rest while we went out in search of an early evening drink to sit and rest.
We found a place called Des Arts to have a negroni and cucumber gimlet.
It had a posi vibe and calm atmosphere, it was nice to just sit and relax after a day of four museums.
Stopped for a small pretzel snack.
A pop into the intricately decorated town hall, a 500-year old building in Marktplatz.
We crossed back over to the other side of the river to head back to the apartment.
Earlier in the day we all picked out some wickelfisch, waterproof bags that double as a floatation device. We saw them sold everywhere throughout the city, and all the folks in the river were using them to float down the river with their valuables inside.
And so we did too! We packed them up and headed out.
After! We loved it so much we hopped out and walked back along the river to get back in again.
Afterwards, a sausage, fries, and a beer to watch the sun set.
Goodnight, Basel! The next day we hopped in a rental car and headed to Southern Germany.
Happy Wednesday! Just wanted to show you some context of where we traveled by car. Basel is at the top of Switzerland by the border of both France and Germany. It amazed me that we didn’t need our passports to just drive into Germany…I guess that’s my sad scared American brain thinking there will be intense border checks across every border. We drove up into Freiburg for lunch before heading to stay overnight in the Black Forest.
Hello from Freiburg! This city is known for its Gothic cathedral and reconstructed medieval old town. Unfortunately much of the original medieval town was destroyed in the war. When we arrived it was a little after noon and their market was still filling the square around the cathedral.
We stopped for lunch. Zach got the schnitzel and I had spaetzle with mushrooms in a gravy sauce. I love spaetzle so muuuuch it’s like a fun chewy noodle/pasta thing. So hearty and tasty.
After lunch we went into the Freiburg Minster. Construction started in 1200. It has the only Gothic church tower in Germany that was completed in the Middle Ages that has lasted till today. It miraculously survived the bombing raids of 1944 which destroyed the surrounding market and buildings.
The cathedral is undergoing some renovation work, but it was still lovely to walk around and explore all the spaces.
A few hours later we made it deeper into the Black Forest. I’m ashamed to admit I don’t know where we were precisely. It was a tiny little village with one restaurant and one bakery. Zach’s family friend’s own a home here that we were happy to enjoy while they were out of town.
*Tiiiiired* from the drive, but making it *werk*
Zach has been really jetlagged and not sleeping during the night so I left him to nap while Zach’s family went to get groceries. I decided to take a walk.
Just right outside the house I found a walking trail that took me through some woods. I. LOVE. FORESTS. I’m definitely a mountains/hills/forest person over a beach person if I had to choose. I’m not really sure why, maybe because they feel more special since I have more access to the beach generally.
Wow a selfie (yes, hello I am wearing deodorant that you can see but I am trying to post things I normally wouldn’t because these are my memories to look back on and why keep self-conscious shitty things from stopping me). The view was so nice. It was also special to wander on my own and see the little homes and farms in the distance, stopping to enjoy at my own pace.
I passed this little chapel in the woods (oddly enough was also a pokemon go gym out here in the middle of the trees).
I went back to the house and when I got back, Zach was awake and his family was back. I wanted to walk back out and show them the view I found earlier.
So we went back out!
The sun was a bit lower and it was even more magical
I love these German farmhouses. I was told that they were designed so the animals would be kept underneath on the ground floor which helped to warm the upper floors where families were living. Now there is air conditioning and heating, but the designs are the same or repurposed.
COWS! I love cows.
We walked back down into the little town to find some dinner.
We followed the main windy road and found the restaurant!
I had some soup with some dumplings of some kind. It was an oily broth, but chicken flavor. I’m not sure what it was called, we ordered with a lot of pointing and it was delicious!
Ended the day with a huge dessert sundae.
Good morning! It’s Thursday. I tried to catch sunrise, but failed. Oops.
We stopped at the bakery in town to grab some goodies for the road. I snagged these cute bear shaped chips.
I picked out a little pretzel roll thinggy and Zach got an apple pastry.
Hours driving through the countryside, passing beautiful lakes and going through little villages.
The gummy selection at the gas stations is out of control. SO jealous!
When we got back to Basel, Zach and I decided to head to the train station and hop on a train to Luzern aka Lucerne.
The train ride was a little over an hour, we had one stop to make before we reached our final destination.
From the train station we caught a taxi ride to the cable car station at the base of the mountain.
*CHEEEESE* In the cable car headed up the mountain!
The cable car ride is so long up this huge mountain that there are a few places to get out and actually hike and explore. We took the cable car up to last stop where we caught another bigger cable car which took us up to the tippy top of Mount Pilatus.
The top! Up here there are two hotels you can stay in. They also have a mountain cog train that you can take down to the lake and take a boat back to Lucerne. We were told that is a pretty long journey though, so we decided to pay for the up and down tickets in the cable cars and explore what we could before the last car of the day.
Me tripping up the steps to the top viewing platform.
Hard to really fathom just how high up we were. We learned that a medieval legend said that dragons lived up in these mountains. And the new cable car that takes you to the very top is called the Dragon Ride. You can see down to Lake Lucerne.
There were little trails to follow to viewpoints higher up than the hotel landings. So we made it a mission to follow each trail to see the views.
After the walking around we decided to get a top of the mountain sausage with beers made in the area.
Back down from the mountain into Lucerne. This is the Kapellbucke, a winding wooden bridge with painted panels that connects on side of the lake to the old town.
You can see views of the mountains we were just on from the Old Town part of Lucerne. So beautiful!
Found a comic book shop and record store to poke around in. It was two stories with an awesome spiral staircase.
We walked toward the water and passed this wooden pop up box on the water. Inside was a bar and a wine-tasting set up, a DJ, some dogs, and lots of happy talkative Swiss folks.
A+ for atmosphere
Ha, I posted this on Instagram, but really was surprised how many folks tried speaking in Spanish with me and asked me if I was from Spain or Mexico, etc. Maybe a brunette is surprising around here! Was funny to me.
Stinky area but nice view of the water
We walked around a little more as we were waiting for the train to arrive, and it just kept getting more and more beautiful as the sky turned purple and pink.
Mango sorbet right before we caught the train back to Basel.
Good morning from the Foundation Beyeler!
We enjoyed walking through the permanent collection before seeing their Francis Bacon/Giacometti exhibition.
Best stress balls (but most expensive)?
The grounds and gardens around the museum are beautiful too.
We decided to walk a bit because on the tram ride over we passed a cute looking street with shops and another museum.
Friendliest looking medical sign I’ve ever seen
Turns out the museum we saw was actually a Toy museum! Spielzeugmuseum Riehen.
They had all kinds of toys and games from the last few hundred years.
They also had a great dollhouse/play kitchen section.
*Surprise!* A few hours later I met up with Lena and Delphine! Do you remember them? If you’ve followed my blog since I was in college, I actually met Lena and Delphine while I was studying abroad in London in 2011. We’ve been in touch still, and when we planned this trip to see Zach’s family, I told them I’d be on their continent (Delphine is Swiss, Lena is French) and they both decided to plan a week to come see me. STILL I’m so overwhelmed they would go through the trouble to come see me, it was really nice and special.
We got to spend Friday and Saturday with each other before Zach and I went back to LA, but it was so fun and great to be around them again. Like no time had passed.
It was also selfishly fun to be in photos for once because they were taking pictures too!
We had dinner reservations with Zach’s family all together the first night they arrived. But we had some time before to catch up, get lunch, eat icecream, and wander around a bit.
We also got in the river as soon as possible.
It started to rain on us but we didn’t mind.
Organized Swiss rocks and organized Swiss ducks.
Dinner at 1777 in Old Town. We tried so many kinds of cheese! And I had an amazing burger with blue cheese on it. Seriously good.
Smiling my face off
Afterwards we went back to Des Arts for a night cap.
We were supposed to have rain all week, and it finally arrived. It was raining a bit the day before, but we woke up to rain in the sky.
That didn’t stop the flow of people in the river though!
We walked over to Marktplatz to the morning market.
We surveyed all of our options and decided to divide and conquer.
Veal sausage and mushroom risotto and flammenkuchen (like a flatbread with an onion sauce and meat). Seriously that sausage was incredible. Everything was good!
We were full of energy and wandered around to see the cute streets of Basel. I swear this city looks like a fake set, there is no trash anywhere. The buildings are all in perfect painted condition. Everything seems too clean and perfect to be real.
Also, everybody was so nice about using the bathrooms, even if you didn’t buy anything…mindblowing.
Fancy olive oil store
Lena and all her friends
We walked up to Basel-Klybeck, a riverside area where you can see France across the river. This is an artist colony with restaurants and bars. It was pretty empty when we went there, but I can imagine for a show or late at night it’d be more lively.
Enjoying a lil’ pick me up on the rooftop of a little bar.
After our big day, and some more time in the river, we showered and cleaned off and relaxed for a bit. We wrote a thank you card for Zach’s family and headed out the door.
As a bonding activity earlier, we all purchased Birkenstocks together. We wore them out on the town.
Zach even wore socks with his new ones. He got on board and went the hardest into the aesthetic.
Hi, we’re obnoxious.
Trying my first real classic Swiss fondue! Was honored to be coached through the whole process by my French-Swiss Delphine and Lena. I learned that the first person to drop their bread into the pot has to buy the wine…
My mouth is watering looking at these photos again.
Bread and fondue, that’s all you need. Plus some white wine!
When Lena went to the bathroom we snuck out some candles we bought earlier. It was her birthday a few nights ago and we wanted to do a proper candles moment.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LENA!!!! ❤
Dressed to fly with my new shoes. Ready for my looong travel day ahead. We had to wake up before 5:00 AM to catch a 7:15 AM flight to London.
We had a 4 hour layover in London. So we had conveyor belt sushi…it was the best. I’ll leave this with a beautiful photo of Zach and his socks and Birkenstocks, a total commitment to this style.
It was a fun week! I realize this is less detail than I normally go into on travel posts, but I think it really captures the week—art, museums, friends, family, incredible landscapes, and lots of cheese.
Much love friends.