“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” -Desiderius Erasmus, or Erasmus of Rotterdam, who spent much of his life in Basel
After a short flight, we landed in Switzerland and were welcomed aboard the Viking Bragi, our traveling home for the next week! It would have been nice to settle in and get acclimated, but instead we chose to disembark and join the walking tour around Basel. Basel is filled with more than three dozen museums, and on our tour we passed by the Basel Museum of Fine Arts (Kuntsmuseum), Basel Münster, the city’s landmark cathedral, the town hall and Freie Strasse, the main shopping street in Basel all before arriving at our first Christmas market. The market was filled with food vendors, small shops, and indoor bars, but most impressively a kids area that looked like Santa’s workshop. Here kids sat around tables inside of small wooden stalls making jewelry, decorating Christmas wreaths, dipping candles, and even learning how to weld! Around the children’s area was a choo choo train that was filled with children wearing conductor hats, elf ears and Santa hats, it seemed like a paradise for kids! Mom and I walked around the market and sampled different local foods, to get a true insight into the culture… and because everything looked delicious! All of the vendors were eager to give us samples so we tried cheeses, potato pancakes, hot pretzels covered in melted cheese, and most deliciously, we tried our first glühwein. Glühwein is a German mulled wine and is served in the markets in beautiful decorative Christmas mugs. Each market has a different signature mug with a painting of a local landmark or a Christmas picture. Locals were flooding the streets with these mugs so we knew it had to be good. After finishing the wine, you have the option to return the mug and get your deposit back; however, and we decided these mugs would be a perfect and beautiful souvenir from the trip! Although our time in Basel was short, the market was very special and got me very excited for all of the other European cities that we would get to visit over the next week, all of the markets we would get to shop in, all of the food we would get to taste and all of the glühwein we would be able to drink!