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.
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.