A couple of weeks ago, a friend of ours who is a successful local author and historian (and looks rather like Santa Claus) took us on a guided tour of the city of Basel in Switzerland. It was beautiful but bitterly cold so I didn't work up the courage to get my camera out until we'd almost finished the tour and night was falling. Basel is located right on the Rhein and has lots of pretty bridges.
To warm up, we ended the afternoon with a visit to two of the Christmas markets for some hot chocolate (in a collector's mug, thank you very much, not a horrid plastic cup. I'm looking at you, France!!!). The markets were so different from the French ones and reminded me of the German ones I discovered as a 9-year old. There's some proper Christmas magic going on here. The lights and decorations are tasteful, all the food looks delicious and there's even a market dedicated to the children with lots of activites (candle-making, woodworking, etc.) and a little train you can ride on (even if you're an adult. Not that we did. I swear).
Lots of beautiful things to see in Basel and it's always nice to have your own private tour guide who knows lots of interesting stories. As much as I like reading guidebooks when preparing a trip, I can never be bothered to get them out once I get to wherever I'm going so I usually end up forgetting half of what there is to see. Anyone else?
This is the town hall. You can't see them very well here but there are brightly painted ceilings inside the building. Magical stuff, I tell you!
Of course it has the mandatory massive Christmas tree in the courtyard so you can take your mandatory selfie and ruin everyone else's picture.
Where is this ceiling? Oh, nowhere special, it's just the local post office ceiling.
The second Christmas market was bigger and quite busy and maybe not as charming as the first, but it was still a lot nicer than your average Colmar Christmas market. Also loads more expensive, but that's Switzerland for you! They have the salaries to go with the high prices. In fact, if anyone knows of any job vacancies over there, I'm all ears...
I hope you're enjoying the holidays and ready for a new year to begin! By the way, have you ever heard of the 12 days of Christmas weather forecast? Apparently from the day after Christmas until the 6th of January, people used to study the weather closely and use it to forecast what each month of the coming year would be like. I've found lots of different explanations on various websites, this is really a thing! (and someone told us today that it's pretty reliable too) My mind is blown. I feel like I'm all set for 2017 now that I have this new superpower. No more meteofrance.fr for me!!!