I’ve felt privileged to be able to once again spend this weekend “back home” in my childhood stomping grounds in and around Basel. En route from the Zurich airport I drove by Reinach (where I lived for 5 years, from age 7 through 12) and the neighboring village of Dornach (in Canton Solothurn), where I visited the Goethanum (world center for the anthroposophical movement) and the castellated remains of Dornach Ruine on the hill above (a destination I used to bike to Saturdays with childhood chums—also a family favorite for picnics). There I was greeted with an enchanting 30cm snow-dump, spectacular back-lit ice-fog, and the delight of locals digging out (just hearing Schweizerdeutsch brings back floods of memories).
Then, off to Basel, and several hours walking the familiar downtown streets—of course with the multi-sensory (and admittedly indulgent) delights of roasted chestnuts, Glühwein, alpine cheese, Bündnerfleisch, and the best (I swear) pretzels in the world. At 16:30 I met my younger brother Phil at the Historisches Museum on the Barfüsserplatz, then on to a Raclette dinner and evening reminiscences with bro’s brood in the wee village of Holzen (bei Kandern).
Sunday morning it was off to the medieval Black Forest city of Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany’s quintessential “Green” city) for a Stadtbummel with friend Silvie Engel (thanks for the superb tour, angel)—then a tasty organic dinner at a nearby village Straussi (a winery licensed to serve home-grown produce and meats).
Ah… Heimweh mitigated once again (48 hours can make a world of a difference), and back to the “new world” (replete with -40 degree windchill upon landing in the ‘Peg)… oh well, fine fun while it lasted.
Images: snow in Dorneck; sledding down to the Goethanum; the kinetic Tinguely sculpture outside the Basel Theater; angel-encrusted booths of the Christmas market in Basel’s Barfüsserplatz; the home of Basler Läckerli (drool); one of the city gates in Freiburg; outside ‘The Red Bear,’ purportedly Germany’s oldest Gasthof (since the year 1120).