Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oct 18 - Basel Switzerland

It's our last full day of our trip and we are on our own in Basel. It was a beautiful sunny day.

We strolled out and had breakfast in a small cafe.

With no particular destination in mind we window shopped along our way.

 We begin at the Mittiliere Rheinbrucke (Middle Rhine Bridge), this historic bridge is the wooden predecessor of today's stone bridge dated 1225.

We followed the Rhine River along the edge and landed in the Martinkirchplatz and then wandered up the narrow lanes towards Munster.

There were many interesting sights along the way.

We reach Munsterplatz and explore Cathedral square.

The 12th century cathedral is built of the distinctive red sandstone, and was partially rebuilt after the earthquake of 1356. On the façade we noted the statues of the city's three patron saints, Mary, Henry II of Germany and his wife Kunigunde. This used to be a Celtic and a Roman site in former times, but the current building was begun in 800 in the Romanesque style, with Gothic vaulting added later.

 Inside the church, we saw the misericord seats, a new word to me. It is defined as a ledge projecting from the underside of a hinged seat in a choir stall that, when the seat is turned up, gives support to someone standing. This cathedral has seventy-four 14th century misericords.

The Jesus window is superimposed by a six-pointed star, and the tomb of Erasmus, the famous Dutch scholar and humanist are also located in this cathedral.

Beneath the cathedral are quite a few crypts.
The tombs of bishops from the 9th to 13th century can be found in the Münster Crypt, which can be entered from both sides of the choir. On the columns, a Romanesque frieze depicts hunting and other scenes and ornamentation, while ceiling frescoes portray scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary, Christ’s childhood and the lives of St Martin of Tours and St Margaret. Visitors can also see the excavated walls of the earlier 9th century cathedral. There are other monuments including dated life-size Romanesque statues of bishops, on each side of the altar.


 I thought the cloisters were just amazing and beautiful. And we had a great view of the tiled roof.

From the cloisters, we had a fine view of the river and its bridges, and the Black Forest and Jura.

Hotel Krafft am Rhein, situated on the northern bank with its view on the cathedral skyline opposite on the southern bank.The writer Hermann Hesse lived there for some months, and wrote there his "Steppenwolf"

Take the ferry boat ( Swiss franc 1.60 for adults, children half fare)  by the staircase behind the cathedral and cross the Rhine without a  motor.

We then decided to walk across the bridge and had a magnificent view of the cathedral.

We walked to the Basel Paper Mill but it wasn't worth the effort, it was very disappointing as we were led to believe that the area had been rejuvenated to include shops and restaurants. We then headed back towards the centre of town.

We stepped into the courtyard of the Kunst Museum and there was a copy of the Rodin statue The Burghers of Calais which was cast in 1946. There are twelve casts.

We sat in the Munsterplatz and soaked up the sun and a beer.

Time for a pizza lunch.

The pizza was so good we came back here for dinner!

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