Friday letters

The fact that it is Friday is so confusing to me this week! I had three more holiday days from last year that needed to be used before the end of the month and this week was Fasnacht (Basel carnival), so it seemed like a good time to take them, with the result that I went back to work yesterday and now it’s already Friday! While a two day working week is quite relaxing, it is apparently too much for my brain to take in… yesterday I spent 3 or 4 hours totally convinced it was Monday. Hmm. Oh well, on with the letters.

Mail box

Dear Fasnacht. So, you’re over for another year. As fun as you were, I must admit I will be glad to be able to go into town without being confetti bombed! (And to no longer constantly be hoovering said confetti up from my floor!)

Dear body. I do not understand how it took you a month to shed 1.5 kg and a mere three days to put every single gram of that back on. Fasnacht has a lot to answer for!

Dear Jillian Michaels DVD. I have big plans to get you out and start doing your workouts again. Unfortunately so far the project seems to have stopped at the planning stage 😉

Dear self. I know Goodreads is tempting, but you really do not need to be adding any more books to your wish list. Read the ones you’ve got on your shelves first!

Dear OU. It’s been a long time since I last tried one of your short courses. I hope I’m still disciplined enough to do the work! At least this is one I can do at my own pace – and I have a whole 6 months so that should be doable…

That’s all folks. Have a great weekend!

 

February photos

Happy March everyone! I can’t believe another month is over already. Today is Jan’s birthday, so tonight there shall be a nice meal and gifts 🙂

Last month I started a new series in which I wanted to share the photos I took throughout the month that didn’t warrant a blog post of their own. So, with another month now over, it’s time to share February’s photos.

Nobody needs this many (bad) photos of small birds but I just can’t resist their cuteness!

The snow returned (briefly) and I discovered once again that it’s really hard to take photos while snow is actually falling from the sky!

snow

The photo above was taken on a Friday morning. The sun came out in the afternoon and melted everything that had managed to settle… and would you believe the next day was bright sunshine and highs of 12°C? The weather has been so confusing lately!

I had a week off at the end of the month and on a particularly sunny day I went for a walk into town (and beyond). It was 22°C that day. In February! I mean, it was nearly March, but still… 22°C!

There were signs that spring was approaching! Can you spy the bee below?

I walked all the way to the Birsfelden hydroelectric plant, which means nothing to you so you’ll just have to trust me that it was a reasonably long walk 😉 2km further and I would have been in Germany, but instead I decided to cross the river and head back since it was getting on for 3 p.m. and I still had to cook tea.

Look how blue the water is? Aah, I love living here!

And, to finish off, a yummy treat! Jan and I finally made it to the chocolate café I’ve been saying I want to go to ever since we moved here. I don’t even care that I went way over my calorie limit for that day -it was so, so worth it! Chocolate heaven ❤

And that was my February in photos. Tomorrow there will be a proper February recap post – with less imagery and more words (the type that end with -ing 😉 )

January photos

Some bloggers write a weekly photo post sharing a photo for each day of the previous week. There’s no way I’m going to remember to take a photo every single day, but I do like the idea of sharing random photos that don’t fit into a whole blog post, so I’ve decided to just write a post at the end of each month where I can dump all the photos I took. Here’s January’s.

It snowed and actually settled enough to still be there at the weekend so I went for a walk and found this guy:

red-squirrel

I also tried to take photos of snowy Basel from on top of a hill, but didn’t do very well:

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A few days later it snowed again and someone came to visit our balcony:

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That was the best photo I managed to get before I was spotted…

I then went out for a walk during my lunch break and discovered it’s quite difficult to take good photos while the snow is actually in the process of falling!

Look how deep it was though:

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Finally, after disappearing for a few weeks, birds started visiting our balcony again. Here’s one sitting in a tree, having just taken a seed from our feeder and flown away to a safe distance to eat it:

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And that’s about it for January. Snow and wildlife… that sums up my month pretty well, to be honest.

Kandinsky, Marc & Der Blaue Reiter at Fondation Beyeler, Riehen

Hello my lovelies! It’s been a whole week since I last posted (and almost as long since I came to visit anyone else’s blog. Sorry about that… I will be over soon!). Visitors, work and card making have conspired to keep me away from this little space of mine! But now I’m back with a post about a visit to an art gallery, which counted for November in Take 12 Trips. That means I’m actually caught up with Take 12 Trips posts since I haven’t actually taken my December trip yet!

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Outside the Fondation Beyeler building

At the beginning of November, a friend came to visit us because he wanted to go to an art exhibition in Basel… or rather in Riehen, a neighbouring town. The exhibition is actually still on at Fondation Beyerler until 22 January and it’s all about the artists Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc, and an almanac they wanted to produce called “Der Blaue Reiter” (The Blue Rider), which would collect together artwork and writings from various artists. It was supposed to be published annually, but only one ever appeared, in 1912. After that war got in the way and Franz Marc was actually killed at Verdun in 1916.

You were allowed to take photos of some of the art in the gallery (some things had a “no photos” symbol beside them), so here are a few of the ones I took:

Most of the work was too abstract for me, but it was interesting to look at – and especially to see Marc’s transition from relatively normal looking animals (in funny colours) to things that could juuust about still be recognised as what he claimed they were. Kandinsky is really not to my taste though!

After looking at the art, we headed out into the gardens, which at the time were filled with lovely autumn colours. A few photos from there:

Touristy bit: To get to Fondation Beyerle, take tram number 6 to Fondation Beyeler. You can also take tram 2 to Riehen Dorf, but from there you will have to walk a little bit.

This art gallery visit was my November trip for Take 12 Trips 2016. One more trip to go!

Autumn days…

We woke up on Saturday to rain, which continued for the rest of the weekend and is forecast to carry on until at least next Monday so I thought I would upload some photos I took a few weeks ago to remind myself that autumn can be nice when it tries.

All the photos were taken between the 16th and 30th of October, and it was actually not that easy to find signs of autumn! The first time I went out, the trees were still mostly green, and by the end of October a lot of them had lost their leaves completely… it seems they changed directly from green to brown this year. To prove my point, can we please just consider the following two photos, which were taken precisely one year apart along the same stretch of path (although sadly not in the exact same spot so we can’t get a direct comparison)

Apparently Basel used up its best colours last year to welcome us to our new country. I shall have to make a point of going out on the same date next year to see what the trees are doing then.

Happy new week, readers. I hope Monday is less grey and miserable where you are!

The basilisks of Basel

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The basilisk is a legendary reptile said to be “king of the serpents or snakes”. Allegedly it was hatched by a cockerel from the egg of a serpent or toad (making it kind of the opposite of a cockatrice, which is hatched from a cockerel’s egg that was incubated by a serpent or toad). Part reptile and part bird, the basilisk is usually described as a crested snake, or as a cockerel with a snake’s tail. A basilisk can kill you with a look or a breath, while it in turn can only be killed by a weasel,  a cockerel’s crow or by being made to look at its own reflection.

The basilisk is also the heraldic animal of Basel. Various legends connect the city with the mythical beast – probably thanks to the similarity of the names (Basilea is another name for Basel, which makes the connection even more obvious). One legend has it that a basilisk once lived in a cave below the site of what is now the Gerberbrunnen (tanner’s fountain) another that a merchant once brought a basilisk to Basel. In 1474 a cockerel was sentenced to death in Basel. His crime? He was accused of having laid an egg, which of course went against nature, and the citizens of Basel were afraid that said egg would hatch into a basilisk. The cockerel was beheaded following a proper trial and the offending egg cast into the fire.

Below, you see the Gerber fountain. The writing tells the story of the basilisk that lived below it, but more poetically than I did.

gerberbrunnen

Given the above, you can naturally find many basilisks in Basel. You can hardly walk down a street without seeing one! Today I want to share some of those basilisks with you.

The most obvious basilisks come in the form of a fountain. If you spend any time in Basel, you will come across a basilisk fountain sooner or later. These fountains go all the way back to 1884, when they were the winner of a competition. Originally there were 50 of them. Now there are apparently 28, although I haven’t seen them all. The water in the basilisk fountains can be drunk, and my favourite feature (other than the obvious fact of the basilisk) is that each one has a little bowl at the bottom so dogs can have a drink too!

All the basilisks along the Rhine face towards the water… apart from one. You can see it in a couple of the photos above. This is the basilisk that stands across the river from the cathedral. The idea is that this one faces away from the Rhine to allow people to take a photo with both the basilisk and the cathedral. Ironically, you can’t actually see the cathedral in either of my photos above!

Next up, the giant basilisk from the Wettstein bridge… another one that’s hard to miss if you find yourself in the right place!

As you can probably tell by the sky, those photos were taken at different times. I have a thing for taking the same photos over and over 😉

Originally this big basilisk was one of four, two of which stood at each end of the bridge. All four basilisks still exist, but only  this one still stands at the original location. One has been exiled and now stands somewhere by Lake Lucerne, another stands in the courtyard of a building called “Zum Basilisk” and I have no idea how to get in to see him. But the fourth and final one stands at the entrance to the “Lange Erlen” animal park… and I took a trip there just so I could get photos of him for you:

Many companies in Basel have appropriated the Basel for their name (well, wouldn’t you?). There’s a Basilisk hotel – with its own basilisk standing outside – a local radio station called Basilisk and a Basilisk electronics company. One of the local breweries even named a beer Basilisk (and a very nice beer it is too – can recommend!).

There are various basilisks (or creatures that I assume are basilisks!) at the town hall, including a golden one sitting a Roman soldier’s helmet, and several on top of the SBB train station.

Various other basilisks are dotted around the place… rendered in metal, carved into walls, sitting on buildings… You’ll find that a lot of them are holding shields with the “Baselstab” or Basel staff, a stylised version of a bishop’s staff that is emblem of Basel, going back to the days when it was Catholic (it isn’t any more). After all, as the heraldic animal it’s the basilisk’s duty to hold the coat of arms!

I haven’t said where most of the basilisks featured here are, partly because I don’t remember where every single photo was taken, but also because I want to encourage people to spot the basilisks themselves as they walk around (hint: look up a lot!). You may have been overwhelmed by the photos in this post, but trust me there are many, many more to be found if you keep your eyes open!

So, what do you think? Fancy coming to Basel for a basilisk hunt?

A Photo an Hour: 24th September 2016

Saturday was another photo an hour day with Jane and Louisa, and unlike August’s incredibly boring day, it turned out to be quite a busy one.

8.30 a.m. Has a photo an hour ever started so early? Tea is definitely needed this morning!

9.30 a.m. Cross stitching while waiting to see whether Jan is going to get up so we can go through with our plans for the morning…

10.30 a.m. Ready to leave at the exact time we had said we would! (Jan was in the shower at this point, despite being the one to suggest the time). Photo taken free-hand without being able to see what I was doing! The first few attempts mostly contained the mess in the background and very little hair slide 😉

11.30 a.m. Queuing for a crepe at the Spalenberg brunch (all the shops in one area had little food and drink items so people could put a “brunch” together for themselves)

12.30 p.m. We gave up on the brunch after Jan almost got guilted into buying a shirt and bought something from a baker’s instead. This is an apple, cinnamon and hazelnut “snail”

1.30 p.m. Hanging out at the park for a while until it’s time to meet some people from Jan’s choir for a tour.

2.30 p.m. Having a tour of an organ. We got to go inside and see all the pipes, etc. and how it’s tuned.

3.30 p.m. On the way back into town to go to a museum

4.30 p.m. There was a special exhibition at the Pharmazie Historisches Museum (Pharamcy Museum) for Erasmus year that we had been meaning to go and see and Saturday was the last day. The above picture is part of the ordinary exhibition.

5.30 p.m. Enjoying the early evening sun down by the river… hanging out with the ducks.

6.30 p.m Time for some food! Yes, I know that’s beer. Food was ordered but hadn’t yet arrived.

7.30 p.m. Off to the cinema! We watched a series of short films focussing on disability as part of a film festival.

No photos for 8.30 and 9.30 since I was in the cinema!

10.30 p.m. A quick beer before heading home.

11.30 p.m. Home! These are my keys in the bowl where they live.

After that I went to bed. No more photos would have been possible anyway… the symmetry must be maintained 😉

How was your Saturday?