The Swiss Life: Summer in Basel

My recent posts have been about our #travelgoals weekend adventures, so it might be easy to forget that I’m actually spending most of my time in Basel and living life in a different country. I figure I should get back to sprinkling some posts about life in Switzerland between all my #wanderlust posts.

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I thought it’d only be fitting to start with a post about what summer has been like here in Basel. I had been to Basel two times before moving here and both of those visits were in the fall. Although this didn’t give me much of a frame of reference, but I can tell you that the streets were significantly more lively when we arrived in July than they were on either of my trips. There are people everywhere – walking around, sitting by the river, swimming in the river, eating at the cafes, sunbathing in the park. Everyone here has warned me that things will die down once the weather turns, so I’ll have to enjoy it while it lasts.

You can say that things are like this everywhere as it’s just the hallmark of summer, but at least back home you see the activity during the weekends and not consistently throughout the week. I think that’s been the biggest difference. I guess when you typically only have two or three months of this, you want to take it in as much as possible.
The Heat

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People told me it would be hot here in the summer, but I quite expect the heat wave we’ve been experiencing for the past few weeks. Granted, I’ve heard that this is supposedly an anomaly. The weather here has been warm since April, which isn’t normal for this area, but it’s been hot. Like mid-90s hot. This isn’t anything new coming from California, but it at least cools off in the evening at home and there’s A/C (generally). On the upside, we just moved to the big building, so we won’t be roasting in the old one.

What we learned when it comes to this heat is that the Rhine floating isn’t just a novelty activity; it’s a necessity. Jumping into the Rhine even for few minutes really cools the system down for a while. It started to become a regular post-work activity before everyone left. Once a year, there’s also one big day each summer, called the Basel Rhine Swim, where people can swim across the river rather than down the river. I believe that may be coming up this week, so expect to hear more about that.

The Activities

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As with any other big city, there are summer activities planned around town throughout the summer. For the month, of July, a big boat would dock pretty close to our apartment, where they would serve food and drinks and play music every night. It became a regular fixture in our lives and it felt weird when the boat left. We managed to jump on board one night for dinner. The food was pretty good, but the atmosphere was great.

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Summer brings live music with it, and there seems to be a lot of that in Basel. There are frequent Friday shows at the Tinguely Museum that I have not yet experienced, as well as some local concerts and festivals. Over the past few weeks, there’s been a music festival (Im Fluss) where they do nightly shows on a float on the Rhine. We’d seen the stage from afar, but had missed most of the shows. I stopped by tonight on the way back from dinner and it was a lot of fun. They have stalls selling food and drinks and people are lined up along the river and the bridges to watch. It was incredibly crowded in front of the stage, but I eventually found a spot up the river a little to sit and watch. I may have to go watch tomorrow’s show too.

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There are other open air events, including nightly movies in Munsterplatz. We were supposed to go see Ocean’s 8 last week, but that didn’t end up happening. I was planning on seeing the Mamma Mia sequel there in a couple of weeks, but I guess that’s sold out. Maybe I’ll go for Jurassic World two instead.

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Everything Else

I’m sure there are a lot of other things going on here that I’m missing out on. I didn’t even really go into the World Cup game showings. It seems like ages ago that we watched the Belgium-Brazil game at the public showing at Klara.

Unfortunately, we were out of town for the big festivities for Swiss Day. We made sure to get back to Basel from Rome on August 1 (which actually is Swiss Day), but later found out that all of the fireworks and festivities take place on July 31. Oops. Just like home and in spite of fireworks bans, people spent a lot of the night setting off fireworks near the river. I may have missed Independence Day in the States, but I guess illegal fireworks on a major national holiday transcends cultures. At least Bruce wasn’t there to experience that. It only stopped when they got replaced by natural fireworks when a thunderstorm started up.

There’s a little more summer to take in here, but now that the weather has cooled down over the past few days, it does seem like it’s gotten quieter. Sooner or later, it will start to die down completely as summer always does.

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