Getting to Basel

Although there are many ways to get from Zermatt to Basel, we wanted to go from Zermatt to Basel with only one connection. We realized we are not planning as well as we used to or we think we’re more invincible than we now are. Dealing with dehydration, low blood sugar and extra unnecessary walking has been tough on our energy levels.

In any event, we packed two bottles of water and some fruit with us, although we saw on the SBB app that the train to Basel had a dining car. The big issue was that there were only 6 minutes to connect between trains. The potential for problems seemed significant given our recent mistakes.

The train was not nearly as full leaving Zermatt as it was arriving. We had arrived on a Saturday and were leaving on a Monday, which may mean we were avoiding weekend traffic.

I was able to take photos along the route from Zermatt to Visp.

Interesting old building
Following a mountain creek

We were in a car with a family that had huge luggage bags stored between us and the door. The train attendant agreed that we did not have a lot of time to change trains and joked he could get us a ejection seat to get us to the platform for the Basel train. We were worried that the family with the big bags would impede our exit from the train. So with 6 minutes to arrive at the Visp station, we moved ourselves and our bags to the door. As it turned out, the train heading to Basel was 8 minutes delayed. Even so, although we moved ourselves to the area to board with good time, once we got on, we had barely seated ourselves when the train moved on.

After we were underway, I headed to the dining car to get some lunch. The dining car had a fairly minimal menu but two paninis and a small bottle of wine would do. The train was run by Trenitalia, and the crew spoke Italian. I enjoyed ordering lunch in Italian and was able to converse about toasting the paninis and paying by credit or cash.

Leaving the Bern station.

We may get back to Bern for a day trip. It is an hour from Basel. From Basel’s main train station, our hotel was just across the platz or piazza or place (what’s the English word for a city square?).

Our hotel room is nicely modern and spacious.

View towards the train station

We had a reservation at L’Atelier; their more formal restaurant, Bel Etage, has a Michelin star. We did not bring clothes for fancy restaurants, so were happy to go to the more casual version.

We plotted the route using the map given to us by the hotel as well as on Google maps as the route was not clear because of the myriad of roads that converge near the train station After planning our route and heading out, we realized we left the paper map behind. We persevered. Scott recalled that much of the route followed the green tram line. We relied on the tram line when we tried to avoid the steps.

We found the restaurant in 30 minutes, which Google maps said would take 15, but allowing for many pauses to check we were not going off route, we think we did pretty well.

Since we were early, we went to the bar before going for dinner.

The cocktail napkin

The dinner menu was not large, but interesting.

Tomato and chick pea soup
Bear garlic brûlée, green asparagus and salad

We asked about what was described as burnt bear garlic cream, which was a creme brûlée made savoury style with bear garlic, which we were told was a mild garlic. It was tasty and not strong tasting, but more than 3 hours later, I was still tasting the bear garlic. It maybe because of the cream and my lactose intolerance, but I cannot say the garlic was mild.

Pork medallions and morel mushrooms, knoepfli, asparagus

It seems to be green asparagus season, sparger, which is a passion in Germany and also seems to be prominent in Switzerland.

Veal “rip”, potato, kohlrabi

The veal was from a local producer and amazingly tender and surprisingly fatty. The kohlrabi was described as cabbage turnip. It was tender but tasted of butter and parsley, no bitter taste like I’m used to.

We also had a Basel Pinot Noir.

We successfully negotiated our way back to the hotel without misstep. Taking our time is probably key to our success.

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