We started in Basel (that's where the airport was) and spent almost two days there--one of which was my 30th birthday.
The town hall in Basel was really beautiful (and red). The interior courtyard was extensively painted, often with amusing trompe-l'oeil type scenes. In the third photo, you can see a gentleman standing on a balcony with his parrot, breaking the bounds of the flat surface.
We also wandered quite a bit along the Rhine River, which divides the city.
And then we headed to Bern, which is the capital of Switzerland. Dan started his conference, and I spent most of my time hiking along the Aare River, which surrounds the old part of town. The water was a beautiful turquoise blue, and apparently meets European drinking standards, though I didn't try it out.
On Wednesday Dan had the afternoon off, so we climbed the "hill" south of town--the Gurten! I put 'hill' in quotation marks not because it's so small most people wouldn't even call it a hill, but because even though the Swiss call it a hill, the rest of the world would probably call it a small mountain. Still, it was a lovely hike up, and a full-of-wrong-turns lovely hike back down.
|The view of Bern from the top.|
Also, on really clear days in Bern, you can see the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.
I don't expect we'll go back to Switzerland while we're living here (it's really expensive), but I'm really glad I went. It's amazingly beautiful--and it was sunny the entire time we were there, which is the complete opposite of the Netherlands in September. It was also refreshing because I had almost a week in one city--there was no rush to see everything in a short time, so I could spend an entire day guilt free by the Aare River, reading, dipping my feet in, and watching swimmers float by. It was a lovely vacation.