Basel is cooler than your city, guaranteed.
The only thing I knew of Basel before coming here was that it hosted one of the hippest contemporary art fairs, Art Basel but the city is just really happening all the time with crazy amounts of interesting art to see.
Even the hostel was designed by a fancy architecture firm that specializes in art museums. It sits on a little creek, an off-shoot of the Rhine, and you can hear the rushing water from all the rooms.
The area around the hostel is gorgeous and hilly and old - this church is right next door and I'm not sure how old it is, but there are graves from the 1600's!
I spent the day wandering as per usual and discovered that not only is Basel cooler than most other places I've been, it's also older. The other cities I visited were founded in the Middle Ages, but Basel has been a city since Roman times and they recently found evidence of an even earlier Celtic settlement.
The city's cathedral was founded in 1019 (!) and feels like it. The face of the cathedral even features a knight slaying a dragon, probably the most medieval motif possible.
It's cloisters are filled with memorial plaques dating back to the 1300s - some of them are likely older, though they've been weathered beyond recognition.
There is something so special about these old, old places.
The interior of the church itself is more interesting than some of the other churches I've visited including lots of original medieval wood carvings.
And the crypt still has remnants of very old, if not original, paintings.
Basel, like Bern, still very much uses its medieval buildings. This is the famous town hall, built in the 14th century (though with 16th century updates) that still functions as meeting space for the city government. Its plaza is filled with a bustling farmers market everyday except Sunday. I followed the smell of grilling meat to a stand selling the most amazing sausages - I scarfed mine before I remembered to take a picture.
Walking around, I also kept smelling the most delicious, warm smell and discovered it was coming from roasted chesnut stands like this throughout the Old Town. I also discovered that chestnuts are disgusting, but make for excellent hand warmers.
Basel is filled with little medieval seals and grotesques, or monsters. They are in plaques above doorways, set into random niches in ancient buildings, and decorate fountains throughout the city.
This one is my favorite yet - a weird snake /cat thing.
A cold I've been fighting all week finally caught up with me today so I'm moving kind of slowly but I visited the fabulous Beyeler Foundation to see an exhibition of Gustave Courbet.
I took a lunch break in the restaurant on the tranquil grounds and discovered that pumpkin soup is amazing.
I'm currently taking a little blogging break in a super cool coffee shop / bar in an old bank building and then I'm heading off to shove some more art into my brain!