Basel, Switzerland and the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey. ~ Pat Conroy
We recently traveled from Switzerland to The Netherlands along the Rhine River. I had not been to most of the cities along our journey. Each turn in the river brought new sights and towns to explore in Switzerland, up through France and Germany, until our final destination of Amsterdam. Travel is always a motivator and inspiration for the work I do at home, whether in the kitchen or in my writing. Basel, Switzerland was the first stop on this trip and it provided unforgettable experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
Basel is situated on what is known as the Dreiländereck (or three countries’ corner) in the northwestern corner of Switzerland where the Rhine River borders France and Germany. Dating back to the times of the Roman Empire (374 AD), Basel has a long and colorful history that has been greatly influenced by the surrounding countries. A composite of the cultures of France and Germany, the city has chosen a German dialect, called “Swiss German” as its primary language and English as the language of business.
Basel is known today as a worldwide center for research and development in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and is recognized for its contemporary architecture in the new sections of the city. It is a city in motion with a constant flow of trains and buses passing in different directions, bicycles wheeling through city streets, and pedestrians hurriedly getting to their destination or shopping. Despite the hurried pace, residents and visitors slow down to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city in the outdoor cafés, the world-class museums, and one of the prettiest medieval centers in Central Europe, Old Town.
The beautifully preserved, ornate, and colorful Town Hall (Rathaus) dominates the view entering the piazza in Old Town. Just as it has been for centuries, The Marktplatz in front of the Rathaus is a central gathering place and an important part of life for Basel’s residents. Keeping with old traditions, the City Market, which operates every day except Sunday at The Marktplatz, is filled with vendors featuring beautiful fresh seasonal produce, flowers, and regional specialties such as cheeses and meats, along with other products from around the world.