• Deborah Kade

The ferry has no motor!

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

We can take a direct train from Interlaken West to Basel. We have stops but we don't have to change trains.

We can also take a ferry from one side of the Rhine to the other. And...the ferry has no motor! We may have to head back if a large boat quickly comes around the bend., though.

The temperature in Basel was around 72 degrees. The humidity was high but there was a breeze from time to time. We had about three minutes of very light sprinkles. We were surprised as the forecast predicted rain for most of the day.

We met Lisa and her husband Tobias at the Rathaus in Basel. Many years ago, Lisa was an au pair for our friend’s children.

They traveled two and a half hours to come see us.

"The town hall is a prestigious building. The building, which is located directly on Basel's market square, stands out due to its red sandstone and striking tower. The political center of Basel was established in the same place in 1290, which it still represents in its institutional form to this day.

The so-called Richthaus was destroyed by the Basel earthquake in 1356. All files and documents were lost. The so-called "Palace of the Lords" was built as a replacement. In 1501, Basel joined the Swiss Confederation. The Grand Council, which spared no expense at the time, decided in 1503 to build a new building with a connection to the “Palace of the Lords”. The construction work ran from 1504 to 1514. During this time, the coats of arms of the places ( cantons ) were created on the battlements. The original "Palace of the Lords", which has been in the background since then, was expanded between 1517 and 1521 and the then Grand Council Chamber was furnished.

Hans Holbeing the Younger was commissioned to paint this hall in 1521 and Hans Bock the Elder to restore it. In 1608/1609 Bock also created the painting Josaphat admonishes the judges and Herod of Hyrcanus on the side walls under the arcades of the inner courtyard and the Last Judgment above the stairs on the right. In addition, until 1611 he painted the Basel coat of arms on the facade , depictions of goddesses of victory with palm branches and a children's parade.

The remains of the palace built after the Basel earthquake are the oldest parts of the town hall, followed by the late Gothic central building with the three arched entrances and the golden turret from 1507. The clock was created by Master Wilhelm in 1511.

Between 1606 and 1608, the “Vordere Kanzlei ” to the north was built. In order to make the building as uniform as possible, it was decided to use a pseudo-architecture : although the late Gothic era was over, elements from this era were used.

The iron bars in front of the entrance hall date from 1611, the bronze plaque from 1537 on the right pillar reminds of the earlier floods of he Birsig, which now flows underground .

In connection with the redesign of the market square, the growth of the city and the new cantonal constitution the tower on the right and the wing with the bay window on the left were added from 1898 to 1904 . Conversions followed in the style of and neo-Gothic and neo-renaissance. The previous Grossratssaal was demolished at the same time and replaced by a new hall with side rooms between 1901 and 1904.

The painting on the tower was created in 1901 by Wilhelm Balmer, it shows the standard bearer Hans Bär, who died in the Battle of Marignano in September 1515. The facade facing the market square contains reliefs of child warriors on the left and of angels of victory, which adorn the Basel shields with laurels above the arcade arches as well as a Justitia at the level of the front council chamber, which is attached to the judicial function of the small council, as the executive was formerly called. remind. Another restoration of the town hall was completed in 1982.

Nowadays, the Basel Town Hall is mainly used as a meeting place for the Grand Council (legislature ) and the government council ( executive ). The town hall also houses offices of the state chancellery, the parliamentary service and parts of the presidential department. The front council chamber, today the council chamber, is furnished with late Gothic paneling and a splendid renaissance door court by Franz Pergo.

On Saturday, August 23, 2014, the 500th anniversary of the completion of the oldest part of the town hall was celebrated with a folk festival.

We had lunch at the Restaurant Gifthüttli on Schneidergasse 11. It is known for its different cordon bleus.

"One hundred twenty years ago, pubs served wine only. The beer trade was firmly in the hands of house breweries and their restaurants. So when Innocenz Weiss dared to be the first to serve beer in his pub 'zum Ritter St. Georg', he soon became the town's main talk. Even the local paper "Basler Nachrichten" decided to comment on it with an article that claimed"... to drink beer elsewhere than at the brewery is like drinking poison (Gift)"

Proud to serve beer now, Innocenz Weiss took it not only with humor but also re-named his pub to Gifthüttli.

In 1913," his great-nephew Paul Weiss-Lipp decided to build across the street, he instructed the architect Rudolf Sandreuter to do so in a traditional old-swiss style. The newly built restaurant was then given the well established name Gifthüttli and the original place was sold to the town for 48 000 Franken.

Paul Weiss-Lipp died in 1980 from influenza. His wife, Frieda Weiss-Lipp kept the restaurant going for some time, but eventually sold it to the brewery "zum Warteck" in 1928. Since then, the brewery manages the building and leases the Gifthüttli.

From 1990 - 2010 the place was leased and run by a family named Braun. The Gifthüttli is still very well known today and famous for the juicy cordon bleus. The menu, available in Basel-German, German, French and English, accommodates an international clientele. Some of our customers make reservations as early as a year in advance to be sure a table awaits them during their next visit - something that fills us with pride and gratitude. "

Lisa had the Schweiz: filled with Bündner ham and raclette cheese, in bread crumbs while Tobias had the Gifthüttl: filled with chorizo, mozzarella and herbs -piquant, in bread crumbs. They both had French fries as a side.

Michael and I each had the Florentiner: We had the veal filled with spinach, ham and cheese, with a fried egg on top. We shared the Spätzle. Tasty! Delicious!

After lunch, we gave Lisa and Tobias the quick tour of a small section of the Old Town. Basel has some wonderful walking tours around the city. You only have to follow the specific colored signs.

The market place in front of the Rathaus

I love fresh mushrooms!!!!!!!!

That is one word.

Christmas tree decorations exhibition specialty shop

We followed the blue route which took us through the section of town where professional and artisans once lived.

Such unique door knockers. I almost expected Dickens ghost of Marley to appear!

Place to wash your clothes or to get water.

Look up or you will miss many things.

The Spalentor (Gate of Spalen) is the most magnificent and impressive of the three city gates still remaining from the city fortifications dating from 1400.

"In times gone by, many important supplies and provisions entered the city through this gate having arrived from Alsace. Its square main tower, flanked on each side by two round towers, would have been seen long before arriving at the gates of the city. The façade facing away from the city is also decorated with three figures dating back to the 15th century - the Madonna and two prophets."