I arrived in Basel around midday, dropped my luggage in the unmanned and extremely efficiently automated left luggage area, and went off to explore the city before meeting up with my friend Delia to go with her to her convent in Riehen, where I am staying for a week.
Here are some first impressions of Basel, which is a city I should have visited many years ago when my brother lived and worked here for a year. (Why? Why didn’t I visit? I guess I was scared of this far away place that would be so different from what I was used to. Ironic that in the context of my worldwide travels, I am deriving such comfort from the many familiar things I’m finding here.)
In the Cartoon museum (there seems to be a tendency to call art galleries museums here for some reason – maybe in the hope that the art will taken seriously? – aha! I have been corrected, this is because in Germany (and perhaps therefore also in German speaking Switzerland) a gallery is a place where the art is for sale, whereas a museum is where you just go to look at it. Come to think of it, maybe it’s like that in England too?), I saw an extraordinary collection by Tom Tirabosco who creates a lot of art relating to our relationship with the environment and climate change, often depicting businessmen in sharp suits with their heads obliterated by burning fossil fuels, interspersed with disturbingly accurate depictions of dead birds. Not what I was expecting from a cartoon museum, but well worth engaging with, anyway.
He also drew these enterprising speculations about the modern life of Jesus:
This magnificent red building is the town hall, where an extremely good cellist was busking some famous classical pieces to a backing track. I enjoyed the little concert as I wandered around the building: