Much to our surprise we were scheduled to arrive in Basel, Switzerland on Switzerland’s National Day. Yes, completely by accident. The driving factor was a cheap flight from Basel, Switzerland to Istanbul, Turkey on August 3, so when you back that up 2 nights that puts us in Basel on August 1, National Day; aren’t we good. Thank goodness someone else noticed because who knows when it would have occurred to us. Regardless of how we ended up there we were pretty excited. I have spent about a half a dozen National Days in Switzerland in a very small town where they celebrate with singers throughout the day, a parade in the evening and fireworks and bonfires at night and wonderful food, drink and costumes throughout. Basel is one of Switzerland’s oldest and most historic cities, so we were sure that there festivities would be amazing.
National Day in Basel Switzerland – is celebrated with a hundred vendors along the shores of the river with food, drink and traditional goods. On the banks of the river as well as on the river itself are stages with performers and huge firework shows. So needless to say we were pretty excited. Last note – Basel, Switzerland celebrates Switzerland’s National Day on July 31st one day before the actual holiday. What is that all about, you’re not allowed to do that, they give the holiday a date for a reason!
So instead we arrived at a train station that was nearly closed and had no maps and information center open and had to take our first cab ride due to lack of information since we started the trip. And to make matters worse the first cab driver we talked to said we could not have the baby in the car without a car seat and that no cabs would take us. (Even the much of the US doesn’t require car seats in cabs). So we left the train station taxi stand and found a cab with no such car seat concerns. By coincidence (or maybe form follows function here) it turns out that our cab driver was Moroccan… shame on all of you for drawing the parallel that it was the Moroccan cab driver that flagrantly broke the law and took pity upon us for a nearly $50 cab fare . After getting to our hotel and getting settled in, nap and all, we were able to get a map and some directions from the hotel staff. We took the very easy 10 minute trolley ride into the heart of the city to see what was going on, still in disbelief that we missed everything by less than 24 hours. They (google) were right though, there was nothing going on. We did some walking around and were thankful to find a pleasant place only ridiculously overpriced, instead of amazingly beyond belief overpriced, to have dinner. For the first time ever in our travels the prices were too high to risk ordering something for our little one that she might not eat, so sadly she had jarred food and fresh bread.
This was a very bitter sweet way to start our Switzerland visit. I mean really, we might start celebrating the 4th of July on the 3rd, but we still celebrate it on the 4th too!