Sunday, January 18, 2015

Basel NYE

Minutes before midnight on 31 Dec 2014, we found ourselves rushing down the street to make it in time to celebrate New Year's on the Rhine.  We were told to expect a massive firework display visible from the banks starting at 12:230 AM.  

Sure, it was cold. Yes, we were still jet lagged.  Yet, unabated, being on SFO time worked to our advantage. We fulfilled the quest to stay up and experience the full, explosive start to 2015.  

As we reached the north bank of the Rhine, we cheered as the bells rang in the new year. Carillon all about Basel peeled for many minutes once the clocks struck midnight. 

Because of the temperature inversion between the air and the river, there was an eery mist soaking the air.  Oddly reminiscent of almost every firework display we've tried to see in San Francisco, our breath mixed in the mist; a Dickensian atmosphere minus the soot.  

Luckily, there were large numbers of privateers willing to shell out the francs to shoot fireworks along our path. Being careful to not cross the errant trajectory of some wayward firework and steering clear of kids risking losing a finger tossing M80s into the river, firecrackers popped all around. We saw many fine displays as we angled past the bridges to view the city sponsored works. Flocks of people moved closer to the Cathedral to see what they could see.  

Turns out, what certainly would have been a spectacular display became brightly colored fog shifting to whatever hue happened to be shot up at the moment. It would have been better if the air were clear, for sure. 

Perhaps this was another way Basel wished to welcome us; by making us feel at home with a typical SFO-style, fog-laden firework display. The view across the Rhine was positively medieval. It's not difficult to imagine what visitors a thousand years ago would have seen on a similar evening.  The skyline glowed.   

Tucked in behind a pillar of one of the many bridges that cross the Rhine, we were protected from the small breeze.  It's always warm when you stick together. 

Round about 1 AM, we decided to abandon our attempt to "see" any of the big fireworks. Boarding the 6 Tram for the short ride home, the tram refused to move.  Perhaps it was waiting the end of the fireworks. It didn't take us long to decide to just hoof it home.

Along the way, we saw many merry makers spilling out of various bars and establishments, enjoying the evening.  We even heard the grand finale (which is about all anyone could do), and witnessed the even brighter clouds amidst the cacophony.

Of course, the boys were tired & so were we; weariness is evidence we made the best of our first full day in Basel-Stadt.    We were happy to arrive at our very modern, warm apartment complex, greeted by another private display.

Wishing you all a Happy 2015!

 Merry New Year,

-  The Trailing Spouse.

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