A capital of culture ...

Last weekend, Tim and I had the pleasure of visiting Basel - so I could write a hotel review. Oh, it's a hard life! The city on the curve of the Rhein is smaller than Zurich, and somehow much less pretentious. It buzzes with life and is full of reminders of its cultural heritage. One of my favourite features was a fountain of sorts, made from scraps of old factory equipment and spraying water in all directions.

A highlight of our visit was the Fondation Beyeler - the most amazing collection of art I've ever laid eyes on. It houses works by Picasso, Dali, Magritte, Miro, and, the crowning glory, one of Monet's "Waterlilies" paintings. The paintings are not the only thing that is spectular. The grounds were filled with shades of auburn, gold and bordeaux; rolling hills surrounded us; and the lake was topped with real life lilies. The building was light, airy and a work of art in itself. Our heads hurt trying to understand the surrealist paintings mind you! One of my favourites was a woodland scene, with wild creatures, because it reminded me of Where The Wild Things Are.

The hotel we stayed in, Hotel D, was very comfortable and welcoming. It's a brand new design hotel, so looks modern and trendy with a coffee, smoky turquoise and cream colour scheme. The rooms are very high tech with lots of media equipment that I don't understand! One evening, we went to the Autumn Fair, a big fairground that is set up in various locations around the city. It took me back to childhood walking around the stalls, hearing the screams, smelling the smells and watching children dip their heads into plumes of candy floss.

We went on the big wheel, which afforded spectacular views across the hotch potch of sloping mismatched rooftops in Basel's old town (they have wonderfully long slopes) and across the Rhein. Then I persuaded Tim to go on one of my favourite childhood rides with me - and regretted it! It is one of those trains that goes round and round, up and down, getting faster and faster. I felt I was getting whiplash! A wonderful weekend, and a city to be recommended. Basel is not to be underestimated ...
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