A Tiny Taste of Switzerland

Friday, March 25, 2016

Waking up at Hotel Des Berge and realizing that we have what will most likely be an excellent breakfast is a leisurely affair.  We manage to present ourselves to the lobby around 9:30 where we are whisked to the beautiful lounge for coffee and computer duties (printing our boarding passes for tomorrow).


When we re ready for our repast, we are told that we may breakfast in the dining area at the back with a view of the garden or we may take a table in the other small dining area overlooking the River Ill.  Which would you choose?


The lovely server dressed in what can only be described as the sweetest “French Maid” outfit runs back and forth to our table to bring us coffee and other delights.  We are presented with a tray of fine meats and cheeses, 4 types of jam, individual fruit “salads,” a huge basket with several types of fresh breads and two petite creme brulees (becasue “why not?”)

Our lovely spread is truly savored and enjoyed.  We have intentionally not planned a timeframe for this day.  It is a decadent pleasure to spend this time lingering over breakfast.  Since we don’t have to check out until noon, we even have time to lounge back in our room and maybe sneek in a “pre-nap.” At noon on the dot we reluctantly check out of this heavenly place.  It is absolutely a perfect setting and the family that runs it has perfected the art of making you feel both at home and totally pampered.  Want to return.

Since we are flying back to Barcelona tomorrow from Basel, Switzerland, we need to make our way there to spend the night.  After a very easy navigation (thanks, MN – Master Navigator – Janel) to Colmar, we arrive at the Colmar train station only to find the next train to Basel will be 50 minutes late.  We roll with it, park ourselves in the waiting area and read.


The trip to Switzerland is brief and after only a few stops and 45 minutes of riding we have arrived in another country.  Cool.  Neither of us has been to Switzerland and are eager to see what it is all about.

One thing they do very well is public transportation – at least in Basel.  Just stepping out of the train station you are met with a flurry of busses and trams.  I have already researched that we need the #30 bus to get close to our hotel.  After obtaining a few Swiss Francs, we attempt to board (thinking we can purchase a ticket from the driver).  Nope.  You have to purchase your ticket from the machine.  No worries.  Another bus will come in 10 minutes.

Basel Train Station

Four stops later and we are directly in front of Hotel Spalentor. The hotel is no big deal to look at, but the girl at reception was exceedling nice and helpful.  She upgraded our room from the cheapest (which I booked because everything is super $$$ in Switzerland) to a “superior” room.  Great.  She also reminded us that many restaurants are closed due to it being Good Friday and then made a recommendation and a reservation for us at a place that serves local dishes.  It won’t be possible to get fondue tonight – too bad.


Our room is indeed very nice with a comfy bed and a huge chair.  It all looks very clean, ordered and “Swiss.”  We are on the top floor and have a wonderful view of the old city gate: the Spalentor. We head out to take a closer look:


The old part of Basel is charming, but kind of deserted.  We don’t know if it is always that way or just because it is Good Friday – and it is cold.  It is difficult to find any restaurants that are open so we are very happy to have a reservation waiting. We take a little waltz around:

At one point Janel points to a sign and starts to laugh..

I guess you can use the facilities if you are a woman, man, disabled or a wizard? 

A little detour is taken towards the river (it is either the Rhone or the Rhine – does it make a difference?)  Ok – it is the Rhine.

Enough of this walking around – we are cold and hungry.  A beer is sounding pretty good and there is a little area where there are a few Bier joints open.

Oh man – it is definitely more $$$ in Switzerland.  Our check for 4 small beers was 20 CHF!

Good thing we will be eating “low-brow” tonight. Restaurant Harmonie is right aroung the corner.  We are dining a bit early (7:00) because we are starving.  Upon arrival at our table the place is mostly empty, but every single table has a “reserved” sign on it.  Good thing we reserved.

We chose to have one of the seasonal meals along with a huge field green salad.  We ended up with several meats including Veal Tonnato, Thin sliced Rare Roast Beef, Liverwurst Pate and Salmon.  Everything was great and we chowed down!

After dinner a 3-minute walk takes us back to our hotel the both of us fall into bed at the unusual hour of 9:00.  It has been a long travel day and our trip is definitely winding down.  We will return to Barcelona in the morning.  I start to look forward to several more cool surprises that Janel has planned for the end of my trip.




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