Sunday, July 11, 2010


We're hanging out here in Basel, for a few 30+C days. Yesterday the high was 36C, but we made it into the city for some cooling swims in the Rhine and the Robot Dreams exhibit at the Museum Tinguely. Everything felt pretty magical. We also went to a bookstore and spent quite some time looking at guide books and maps of Germany and France. We finally found the bicycle maps section and spent a fortune on maps that will be a blessing over the next two weeks. Really, having maps makes a big difference, we have learned.

First, Museum Tinguely - a place where the sculptured used metal, wood, chandeliers, whatever else is around, come to life when you press the big red buttons. Tinguely designed these things to move with pulleys and belts and wheels. They make metallic scratching noises and creaking wood sounds. Something quite magical happens when they start to move, I hope the photos are interesting even though they are static.

And then there was the swimming. The Rhine goes right through the middle of Basel. The Swiss have figured out how to make it clean enough for swimming, and how to let people swim, even though huge barges also use the river for shipping. The water moves so fast that it is basically impossible to swim against the flow. So everyone hops in upstream, carrying a dry-bag, and floats downstream to other entry/exit points. With the Munster as the backdrop, and ships floating past, the view is of many tiny, bobbing heads with little orange floating bags being carried quickly down the river. Then everyone meanders back upstream on foot in their bathingsuits. Truly a lovely way to spend a couple of hours.

We locked our bikes somewhere in the middle, floated down a little ways, walked all the way up to where the museum is and spent some time in the museum, then floated all the way down, past the bikes again. After that we cruised up to the Munster to get a closer view and then rode the 25 minutes home to Reinach.