RDP Friday: Hospitality

Basel 05.09 (18)

Basel is a town in Switzerland – no not exactly. It is situated in the three-country-corner, meaning there is a bit in France, another bit in Germany, and the rest in Switzerland. This means that although it has one main railway station, it also has two others, one in France and another in Germany, but no problem. It is all equipped with customs authorities and it is impossible to get lost, as long as you follow the signs.

So what is so special about Basel otherwise. It has a zoo, the largest in Switzerland, and as you enter Basel  from France you pass by the zoo as the first place you see from the train in Switerland. There is also a part called “klein Basel” meaning “little Basel”, if you go over a bridge you arrive there. Yes the River Rhein flows through it. They also have one of the biggest beer breweries in Switzerland, actually in the town of Rheinfelden which is next to Basel.

Feldschlossen Brewery

It is a general known fact in Switzerland that the people that live in Zürich, do not like the people that live in Basel and vice versa. That is what the people say, although it is more one of those joking situations. The people in Zürich speak a different Swiss German dialect to the people in Basel but they still understand each other.

Me? I live in Solothurn, so we are not involved in such complicated situations and you cannot travel direct to Basel from Solothurn. You have to change trains in Olten. And we also speak a different Swiss German dialect to the others. It is more like the dialect spoken in Bern, but not quite. Of course if you happen to visit Aarau which is halfway between Solothurn and Zürich, they also speak their own Swiss German dialect and my son lives near Schaffhausen, which is on the German border and yes, they also have their own way of speaking Swiss German.

We all talk to each other and so have no problems, but nothing is hidden. According to the dialect you speak, we know where you have your origins. We all have a Swiss passport. Of course if you happen to arrive in Lausanne or Geneva, they will all be speaking Franch. and Lugano? Yes, they speak Italian.

What a hospitable country it is.

RDP Friday: Hospitality

11 thoughts on “RDP Friday: Hospitality

    • Yes, I took the photo of Basel main station on that day. It now seems so long ago I still have the other photos of us together. It was a lovely meeting and one of the last I managed to travel to.

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      • It was a lovely meeting despite the fact that I had just arrived and hadn’t figured out my phone yet, so I kept you waiting. I still feel bad about that! I still have the photos, too. There’s a nice one of us together having lunch.

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  1. The lovely and annoying thing about the different dialects is that we sometimes find it difficult to understand each other. I always like to use some graphic examples to explain to friends from abroad WHY little Switzerland has so many different ‚German‘ languages. What in Zurich is called ‚a Sack‘ (a paper bag), is ‚a Gugge‘ in Basel, ‚a Tüte‘ in other parts, or take butter which is Butter in general German but Anke in Bern etc…. We visited friends in a beautiful little village right at the Rhein and we ran across a little bridge to Germany and back – sadly my dachsie then slipped into the Rhein and we took a LONG time to save her just before she had lost the will to fight and live….. so that visit didn‘t go so well. My dog didn‘t understand that the ‚Boxer‘ (dog) of the friends only ‚meant to play with her‘ and she bolted straight through the shrubs and slid down a steep stone border into the water…..

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  2. You mentioned some of the things that I’ve always found fascinating about Switzerland. Basel being situated on three borders and the zoo which I read about in childhood and would have loved to have visited. I was amused that Basel and Zurich have a friendly feud going as we have the same type of thing here between Sydney and Melbourne particularly and here between Hobart and Launceston the second largest city. We also have different names for things in different states which can be confusing at times.

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    • Sounds similar to Switzerland with your local feuds. We also have different words for the same thing in the various Kantons of Switzerland. I once worked with a girl from St Gall and I almost needed a translator to understand her

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  3. OH my … the situation with the dialects sounds so interesting. We here in USA all speak the same language but we still have trouble understanding each other because things here are just so feisty right now, I wish it would stop. But your description of Basel was very interesting. I told my wife that the next time we go to visit, we will take the train from Zurich (which is our usual base of operations …) and go to Basel for the day just to walk around Old Town (if there is one …) and have lunch and come back. Bern is where the bear pits are I think? I want to do that also. We like the old churches and monasteries and things. We went to St Gallen and to the monastery there and it was very interesting. Our nephew goes with us and he is very cultured and selects the historic sites for us to see so I don’t do as much research as I used to do when I was younger. Take care and have a wonderful weekend. Ours is just beginning here … Satufday morning.

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    • Basel in an interesting town: just a tram ride and you can be in Germany or France.The bear pit no longer exists in Bern, but there is now a bear park on the banks of the river which is much better for the bears.

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