Saturday, 1 March 2008

Basler Fasnacht - The Rest

Since it has taken me a couple of weeks to post just our first day in Basel, I am now massively behind in my blogging so I will cut to the chase in this post.

Due to the cumulative effect of our our pre-dawn adventures in the town and the red wine at dinner the night before, Monday got off to a slow start. We had a late breakfast with our generous hosts and then took our little car to the hostel where we were going to spend the second night.

We took some time to wander through the town where the pace had picked up from the night before and the orderly marching was replaced by a rowdy procession with band music and confetti, sweets and, for some reason, oranges being thrown around.

We got ourselves nicely lost a few times but the old town of Basel is quite small anyway it is fun to get lost sometimes.

In the evening we went out with Linda's friends to an Italian restaurant in a very nice part of Basel they are thinking of moving to, filled with tudor-style houses. By the time we got back to the hostel we were well and truly ready for bed. There were a few tense moments while a family with small children turned up in the room next door but fortunately the noise levels dropped quickly and we dropped off to sleep.

The next day was a bit more of the same, only more so because more shops and sights were open (Monday was a public holiday). We did some more walking about the town watching the antics of the processions (amazing they can keep it up for days on end) and visited the Munster cathedral, where we climbed up the tower to look down on the city and the lanterns that had lit up the town on Monday morning.

Eventually it was time to go, and we made our way back to our car past still more masked revelers.

We took a slower road home, via Solothurn, which is a very nice little town with some good chocolate (as though there is a shortage of good chocolate in Switzerland).

On reflecting on the time, I guess I was surprised that the celebrations were so relentless, but also impenetrable as the masks and the language barrier kept you away from understanding the event or the people. It was a spectacle, to be sure, but next year I think we may travel to Lucerne where their celebrations have more of a reputation for inclusiveness.

Lots more of my photos from Basel can be found here.

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