Thomas and I arrived at his mother’s apartment on Saturday to find her quite ill. She spent the whole day in bed, dozing and refusing to eat due to her stomach. The rest of us went out to the flea market to see the sights.
My MIL says that the flea market is very popular with the French who cross the nearby border to come sell and see the wares. The market takes place surrounding the edges of a green park. The unusual items I encountered were a Lenin pin, Hindu icon pendents, and local old coins. I had my eye on leather bags after seeing the swell one the conductor of the funicular had carried the day before. My FIL and spouse indulged me, letting me look, even as they themselves indulged in things that interested them. We purchased nothing.
In the center of the market was the Children’s Market. My FIL read the sign which said that this was where the child were the sellers and their parents were to stand back and supervise. This is so the kids may learn to handle money. However, I noticed that most of the kids had gone off and it was their parents running the show. An exception was this one industrious boy who was determined to sell old toys and clothes that had probably fit him once.
My main impression/experience though was that people were much more likely to run into you than back home. Every few feet, someone would thump into me.
After the market, we went to the grocery store. I walked around a bit as the boys tried to find a Mother’s Day present (I suggested a cake which my spouse then purchased). However, I was weary and left to go stand outside the checkouts. My bones felt so heavy and it was difficult to move.
When we got back, we spent the rest of the day resting, reading, and keeping a low profile. The bells rang for what felt like hours but in reality were 10-15 minutes around 6 p.m.
Bicycles are everywhere. Hundreds of them. If there isn’t a bike rack, people put their U-locks through the frame and the back wheel. Sometimes two bikes will be daisy-chained together.
A metal shoe scraper can be found on the first step of many houses. They must be relics since there is no dirt or mud streets.
The lower windows of many houses in my MIL’s ultra quiet neighborhood are barred. I asked why when it seems so safe and my MIL thinks they’re from another time too.
It’s expensive to throw out trash here. A single bag costs upwards of $8. So we gather our trash and then take it out in small increments throughout our stay to put in public waste cans. My MIL says this is how people are taxed for garbage here. The bags are blue — though the recycling bags are a lighter blue, but I’m not sure if people get charged quite so much for them.
Basel is the city of purple flowers. Around 90% of all the blooms are purple. The others are yellow and white. Faintly, a blush of pink or red roses can be found. But purple dominates throughout the city.
We walk nearly everywhere. When we can no longer walk, we ride a bus or tram. It’s expensive at 6.80 Francs for two.
Add small gardens
Lots of graffiti
Dirty national landmark buildings
Lots of public transport