When I first moved to Switzerland over three months ago, my husband was very concerned about how the change would affect me. I went from working full-time in a busy consulting firm in the heart of London’s Mayfair, to being unemployed and living in what is arguably the quietest, slow paced city in all of Switzerland: the capital city of Bern.
I wasn’t as worried. The past year at work had been unbelievably stressful, my commute had become unbearable and I was ready for a break. In addition, I’m about 95% introverted and spending time with myself is something I actually enjoy. Despite my reassurances, my husband wanted to give me something that would allow me to explore my new country, while at the same time indulge my passion for photography. For this, he bought me a GA travel card for a year. This card allows me to travel anywhere and anytime in Switzerland, by rail, tram, bus or boat.
So far, I’ve used the card for 14 intercity rail journeys, a few funicular rides, and countless tram journeys. The first city I visited was Basel. I caught the 12:04 train from Bern station, which arrived in Basel SBB at 12:59. I’m a very haphazard traveller. I like to arrive and just see where the destination takes me. I do a little bit of prior research online and have a quick look at a map so I get an idea of the lay of the land, but that’s the extent of my preparations. I am a wanderer at heart. When I exit a station for the first time, I choose a direction and just walk. That’s what I love about travelling alone. Every turn I take is my choice. Sometimes I take a wrong turn and have to double back, but to me, that’s the whole point. That’s what makes these day trips fun!
Even though it was January, the sun was shining. It was a great day for exploring and my first destination was the Rhine river. One of the highlights of my day was witnessing and then boarding the Münsterfähri, a little ferry which uses the power of the current to take passengers back and forth from the Northern Quarter to Munster hill for 1.60 CHF one way.
After my ferry ride I explored the Münster (cathedral) which is open to the public and the Marktplatz (market square). I only spent three hours wandering the streets, bridges and river paths of Basel, but it was enough time to see many of its beautiful sites and fall in love with its old world mixed with modern charm.