J’aime da swiss.

Posted by jswt | Posted in General, Switzerland - Basel | Posted on 05-12-2010

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The past week has been spent in Basel, Switzerland and it’s been a fantastic week all through. Admittedly, I wasn’t that excited about it after spending last Christmas in Geneva (which was stuffy, coldhearted and way way way too money-centric), but this week has shown me a much nicer side of Switzerland – one which I’m kind of in awe of.

Almost everyone here is beautiful, sophisticated, healthy and very very well educated. It’s an expensive place, but there’s almost no crime, it runs amazingly efficiently. Everyone we’ve had the chance to meet has been friendly, wants to know where we’re from, and have made us feel right at home.

It was a bit of a short week, as we were transferring on a Monday (instead of our usual Sunday), and a snowstorm in Frankfurt (our connecting airport) changed a straight foward flight into 5 hours of delay in Belgrade sitting on the tarmac, then chaotic mayhem in FRA as thousands of people tried to reschedule flights. Luckily, after 2 hours in line, we squeezed 3 people before the agents closed, and had our plane tickets exchanged for an overnight train and arrived exhausted at the hotel as the sun was starting to come up.

Tuesday was a needed day of rest and a little wandering in the snow around Basel. Weds was a work/gym day, followed up by some hobbywork at the venue in the evening – ditto for Thursday.

Was supposed to go snowboarding on Friday, but with Switzerland being so expensive, and the mountain being so far away, I opted to save the $300 and 5 hours and wander the city with the lovely Z. We had a wonderfully flowing afternoon of winter markets, gluwein, fantastic nibbles, and ended up discovering the most amazing private members smoking lounge – it ranks up there towards the best bar I’ve ever been in. There’s no smoking in Switzerland, so they open private members clubs to get around the smoking ban. So you’d be sitting at communal tables, and people would pop in for a drink and a smoke, but it was an amazingly diverse, international and sophisticated cross-section of people, and they would all say hi and strike up conversation as they sat down at the table with you. We continued on for dinner, and went to meet some friends back at the christmas market, but it’d closed earlier than expected, so we all went back to the smoking lounge and continued to drink, appreciate the ecclectic music, and meet people from all around the world.

Saturday, Chris had the day off, so we rented a car and went to see a friend up in Bern. He showed us around town, ate some tasty things, and we dropped him off in a nearby town before heading back to Basel. We met up with some friends at a winter market, where we feasted on fondue before heading back to the hotel. Chris crashed out, so I grabbed a couple wingmen and headed off to a nearby club night to catch DJ Hell playing some dark techno in the hull of a boat. Back to the hotel around 5am, woke up at 9, packed and am now sitting in the lounge at the Basel airport waiting to take off to Budapest.

Week 4 down.
6 remaining.
Life is good.

[Postscript – Dec 12/10]

I didn’t mention the earplugs…
In the venue, there were buckets of earplugs. Every concert/show venue in Switzerland must supply earplugs. If the show goes over 100db for more than 30 minutes, earplugs must physically be handed to every attendee. Smart way to address the upcoming wave of deafness.