5. Dec, 2017

Baarl, Basil, It’s In Switzerland

I’ve been here before and then it was spelt Basle and pronounced Barl. I took part in the 1966 Essex Senior Scouts expedition to Switzerland. Peter Clark and myself from The 1st Pitsea & Vange troop teamed up with two Seniors from the 1st Squirrels Heath troop. Unfortunately their names have long been forgotten.☹️ I know one of them, maybe a Tony, had misjudged an acrobatic dive from the top board of Hornchurch swimming pool and clipped another board on the way down. Luckily or unluckily, he needed extensive dental work after that.

We travelled to Switzerland by train and I remember sleeping in the luggage rack! They were more substantial and spacious than today. We hiked in the Jura mountain range from Fleurier to Delemont for ten days and had to meet up with all the other teams in Basle for the return journey.

Anyway, back to the present, Kathy and I were spending a few days here. It was her first visit to Switzerland but my fourth. To be honest, this city wasn’t showing the best of what Helvetia had to offer. 🙁 However we must make the most of things and I’d never cached here before. 😎

We arrived from Gatwick on the early flight and used the free City transport for visitors to get down to the Bahnhof. Then we had a ten minute walk down to our hotel. After freshening up, we were out exploring.😎 We were here for the Christmas markets and I had a couple of places that I wanted to visit - the Münster (Cathedral) and the Rathaus (Town Hall).

The deal was that I would get one cache a day. I took that to mean one cache whilst we were out sightseeing.😉 After wandering around the markets and visiting the Münster, we walked down to the bank of the Rhine to take one of the four ferries across. These ferries are powered by the river current and are cheap to use. I was particularly keen to use this one, “Leu” as the Basel 1 3/1 cache was on board.😀 The boatman gave me the cache and I signed the log and left some TBs. One of them was Tractor Andy’s first TB which he’d recently let go. He was happy that his little tagged tractor was leaving England but to be left on a boat!

The next morning I was up early and had a wander. I waited for a #15 tram but soon gave up and walked the short distance to St Jakob - Denkmal, the next tram stop. I quickly found the tiny nano on the fencing around the statue. Next was Ziehbrunnen, a small pot hanging down a drainage grid. 

A few minutes away was Herr Barth, another trad. Tucked away on a bus stop in a road named after a local dignitary was a small magnetic pot that I spotted quickly, thankfully.😀 Next one up was the Gellert - Promenade. This was another trad but it was cunning and sneaky! It turned out to be a false ventilator grill on an electricity cabinet but I was up for the challenge. Just one more trad at 2 Jaher Gucja, hidden on a free paper stand at a tram stop and then it was back to the hotel for breakfast.

Later on that afternoon, we visited the virtual cache at the Rathaus. Starting off at the fountain (check-out the photo) I had to gather answers to questions and send them off. I couldn’t find one of the answers but the CO didn’t knock me back.😀

Early next morning, I was up even earlier figuring that there was enough street lighting to cache by. This time a tram turned up almost immediately and I alighted near the old town. The first cache of the day was Back To The Roots, a trad hidden under an inspection plate in a flower bed. Next up was a very clever cache. Swiss Monopoly #18 was cunningly hidden in a pouch behind a brass plate outside an office block. Now I understood the “deflate when replacing” hint as the pouch had to slide back into place.

The next cache on my list was a virtual based on the Tinguely water sculpture in the Old City. I gathered the answers to the CO‘s questions but I had to put them into an e-mail address and send it off. However there were three possible numbers and I was successful on the third attempt.😀 On the way back to the hotel, I picked up the Bahnhof Sud trad and it was time to eat.

The last cache of the day was the Earthcache at the Münster. Based on the types of Sandstone used in building the cathedral, the CO had generously given four of the five answers in the text. All I had to do was count the number of carved roses between the towers and explain their significance. I came up with my number and guessed an answer and sent it off to the CO who came straight back to me. I got both answers wrong but the CO let me claim the cache.😀 I should have guessed what the number signified though.

A great three days in Switzerland but unfortunately a brief trip across the border into France didn’t result in a cache.

1 Virtual, 2 Earthcache, 10 Traditional