Switzerland/France 2015 Day 2 – Basel Zoo and Strasbourg

Woke before 5 am local time together with the baby. Had to entertain him while my wife continued to sleep.

Jetlag was hitting me hard as i stayed awake through 6am local time. We got out of the room by 7am to a nearby brekkie place just 5 mins walk away from our hotel. Ordered pancake and rosti and sat on the inside, shielded from the morning chill at Babu’s coffeehouse. The food tastes pretty good but it was a tad expensive, everything costing almost 50CHF.

Babu's bakery and coffeehouse.

Babu’s bakery and coffeehouse.

Warm and cosy on the inside.

Warm and cosy on the inside.

Pancakes.

Pancakes.

Rosti.

Rosti.

Cappuccino and hot choco.

Cappuccino and hot choco.

Went back to the hotel and the packing began. It was not until 930 did I started my 2.5km walk to Sixt, from Google maps did not look too far but it was. The bad luck had started when I found that I have forgotten to bring along my license, my credit card and my passport and had to take the train back. From here I learnt to buy tickets from the auto machine (short distance stops tickets) and which train to take, reading from the broadcasting screen which was the earliest to leave and the train number with its corresponding track number. 4mins later, I was back at Zurich HBF and I walked quickly to the room and explained the situation to my wife before leaving with all that was required. Took another train to the Hardbrucke station and walked back to the Sixt office.

I was given a free upgrade to the BMW X1 and after struggling to start the car (not knowing that I need to insert the remote into the slot for the push start to work). When I have parked the car at the ground floor for the staff to help me change the in car GPS language to English, I was informed that there wasn’t this option. So I asked the staff and she gave me another choice, the Peugeot 508. Also I had to remind them that I need a baby seat. So went up to the 8th floor again, got into the car and this time, had an issue with finding the hand/foot brakes which wasn’t physically available. It was only a while later did I noticed the “P” at the left hand side below the aircon vent.

After arriving at the ground floor, the baby seat was already out but it looked really old and quite uncomfortable. I was also informed to install it myself using the instructions at the side of the seat.

When I’m finally ready to go, I had problem finding the hotel on the navigation system. I only found one that sounded like the hotel and shown to be on the same location that I choose it. Moving out, even the first turn i had trouble because some of the roads that pedestrians walk were in fact roads that cars could travel.

Reaching Zurich city and driving around was a total nightmare. People and bicycles all around, road works with traffic controllers around, it was chaotic. As I managed to reach the hotel, I couldn’t find a lot and was afraid to park at the road side. As a result I went around again but it was not an easy one due to the chaos. When I finally arrived after going through many detours, I tried to drive towards the car park at the opposite side of the road but the barrier wouldn’t budge. So I reversed and simply parked near the entrance of the hotel, no longer giving much of a damn. Thereafter it was moving luggage and checking out, all taking effort and time.

Punched in the location onto my garmin, I tried to navigate to the next destination, Basel, only to find that because of the distance, a wrong turn would take much time to recalculate. What’s worse, I had accidentally set up the GPS to not take toll roads, essentially the highway. It was only that I forced myself onto the highway that I realized that.

From then it was easy drive till I arrived at Basel. We were supposed to go to Basle Munster cathedral. The GPS did that but it was another nightmare altogether. I entered a zone that was practically no cars around, only people and trams. I wasn’t sure if it was not allowed but I had no other choice since I already entered. Sometimes I even drove on the the tracks that the trams took. It was really stressful and embarrassing to do that. In the end, we changed the location to the zoo.

The carpark of the zoo was a very discrete turn in, crossing the tram’s track. I missed a turn and similarly had trouble detouring and going back to the same route, with all the trams and out of place roads. After turning in the small road to the carpark, I went around the one way street carpark and it was full. Went out and further down another one which was also full but there was a car that was about to move out, just that the owner was still loading the vehicle. There was car coming out behind and I was obstructing so I had to drive out of the carpark and back again. His spot was taken because another car also just came in. Talk about luck. Went back to wait on the same car which was just about finish, eventually I managed to park there.

The tickets cost 18CHF each and we had to use the single nursing bed to change baby K diaper. Thereafter we proceeded to the aquarium to its side. The Basel zoo to say the least was normal. There wasn’t much more unexpected to see compared to the other zoos that we had gone before. What striked me the most was to see wolf, snow leopard, lamas, bisons and silverback gorillas. Also there were volunteers walking the animals on the main walking street.

Basel Zoo.

Basel Zoo.

Zoo Tickets

Zoo Tickets

Fishes in the mangroove.

Fishes in the mangroove.

Penguins

Penguins

Bear.

Bear.

White horses.

White horses.

Sables.

Sables.

White wolf.

White wolf.

Huge Bison.

Huge Bison.

Lunch.

Lunch.

Gorillas.

Gorillas.

Walking the animals.

Walking the animals.

We had lunch at the only restaurant available but the cooked food was sold out, as it was late afternoon. Bought a slice of pie and a slice of cheesecake and a 12ft bread, 2 drinks which all costed 22CHF but it was sure filling.

Left the restaurant filled and completed the rest of the exhibitions. As there was difficulty in finding parking in the city, we decided to leave the car at the car park (coupon hasn’t ended yet) and took the tram into the city. There were only 2 trams (number 10 and 17) both of which could reach the Theatre stop which one of the waiting passengers advised us to go to, so we bought the tickets and jumped on. After we reached and asked a passerby that we knew there was actually another stop that was closer but was still walkable anyways. We continued on foot which brought us to Marktplatz which had a beautiful red building. Upon entering we found that it was actually the Town Hall, not the attraction that we were looking for. This place had a square in front of it with tentages of stores and crowded with people. We continued on until we almost reached the bridge where we took a right turn into Rheinsprung. From this route up, the scenery of Basel town was slowly unveiling. 10mins climb which was pretty manageable even with a baby, who fell asleep sitting on his hip seat, we arrived at Basle Munster cathedral, red exterior massive cathedral similar to others that we had seen. Didn’t visit the interior as there was a service going on, we went to the back of the cathedral where there was a bird’s eye view of the Basel River and the bridges.

Walked back to Marktplatz where we waited for tram 17 that brought us 4 stops back to the zoo, cutting down on a lot of walking. Got back to the car and started a host of activities such as feeding the baby, changing the nappies, express milk, washing up accessories, cleaning up pumps and sterilising.

Trams to the old town.

Trams to the old town.

Inside tram.

Inside tram.

Basel City.

Basel City.

Town hall.

Town hall.

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Basle Minster.

Basle Minster.

View from the top.

View from the top.

We hit the road after that, getting onto the highway and crossing the borders after going through a non functional border station, since Eurozone is borderless. Rest of the journey was smooth, with speeds varying from 110km-130km/hr. Took a restroom break at the service station enroute and before long, we arrived in Strasbourg.

Entering the city felt less complicated than Swiss ones and we made it to the Novotel basement parking with no drama. Checked in was easy and soon baby K was stretching himself on the doubles in the room. Bathed him and he fell asleep soon after, which changed our plans. Settled for McD as the easiest takeaways and that I was too lazy to search for anything else. The shopping mall beside was closed.

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Bathroom

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Bedroom

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Dinner.

The night was spent cleaning up even though sun set only occurred at after 9pm. It was a long day but the excitement of travel drove our tired bodies for more.

ziyi

About ziyi

A travel addict from the little red dot otherwise known as Singapore. Started blogging during travel to help the aging forgetful mind remember the experience of each destination.

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