Sunday, March 25, 2012

Basel Scouting Trip


High in the Berenese Oberland is the greatest expanse of ice in central Europe, the Aletsch Glacier, covering nearly 169 sq. km/65 sq. miles.

I was up bright and early this morning at 5:45 a.m. It was made a bit worse because we all lost an additional hour of sleep last night as Europe switched to Daylight Savings Time. The reason for this was my attempt to catch the 7:04 train to Basel. I made it comfortably and arrived in Basel right on time at 8:29.

Swiss trains are so on time from my experience to date.

My assignment was threefold. First, find the stadium where the Basel Meanmachine would be hosting the Luzern Lions. Then video tape the U-19 game between these two clubs at 11:00 a.m. Finally, I would also be video taping the Basel-Luzern Senior game at 2:00 p.m.


Since I had two and a half hours until the U-19 game's kickoff, I opted to explore Basel's old town, the Aldstadt, in the part of the city known as Grossbasel.

I planned to start at Basel's Münster Cathedral so I headed to the tallest spire on the horizon.

Wrong Gothic Church

It turned out that the spire belonged to this minor ecclesiastical structure, the Elisabethen Church. How could I have made such a blunder?

It did have cool gargoyles though

Tinguely Fountain

Raised in Basel, artist Jean Tinguely (1925-91) was known for his "kinetic art," i.e., sculptural machines. There are about a dozen of his fascinating and unrelated machines at work in this fountain. The water squirting eyes one highlighted here rocks back-and-forth as it spews.

Found It!

The Gothic style Münster Cathedral was basking in the early morning light when I found it on a bluff above the Rhein (Rhine in English) River. Although I could hear the glorious organ music playing inside, all the doors were still locked denying me entry.

There has been a church on this site ever since the 8th century. The Münster's construction started in the 12th century.

Pulling a sword at church

Is that such a good message?

The Münster's Main Portal

The two large statues on the left and right are Emperor Heinrich II and his wife Kunigunde. They are the patron saints of Basel and the Emperor is holding a model of the Münster in his right hand.

The Münster's sundial has yet to be
adjusted to Daylight Savings Time

I liked this skull in the Münster's Cloister area

The Münster's Galluspforte Portal

Romasesque in style, it dates from 1180. The carvings depict Judgement Day and works of mercy.

That reminds me,
how did the Catania Elephants do today?

No games in the Italian Football League this weekend as the Azzurri, the Italian National team that includes several Elephants, was playing a game in Rome against the NCAA Division III Western New England University Golden Bears from Springfield, Massachusetts. The Golden Bears were 10-2 in 2011 and were the New England Football Conference champions.

The game was played Saturday but I can't find any results on the internet.

Old Wall

The back of the Münster facing the Rhein River

Münster Stained Glass

Wait, I said the Münster was closed. How did I get inside to take this shot? More on that later in this blogpost.

At the base of the Münster's
Baptismal Font dating from 1486

The Mittlere Brücke

As seen from the Münster, this bridge, spanning the Rhein River, joins Grossbasel (Greater Basel) on the left with Kleinbasel (Little Basel) on the left.

"Klein" was a derogatory term for Little Basel's working class locality and their people.

Next up, let's check out some of Grossbasel's fine fountain art.


St. George, where are you?


Is this the one that we have to pay?


I'm just guessing on this one.


I filled up my water bottle at this one

Ducks on the pond?

Bitter Sweet Memories

I used to take pictures of Rotary Club signs like this one all over Europe and send them to my father-in-law Bill Gardner who was a lifetime Rotarian and darn proud of it! Bill passed away just before Christmas in 2010.

I had not seen even one Rotary sign anywhere in Spain or Switzerland in the last seven weeks until this one today in Basel.

Of course, it would be the St. Jakob chapter of the club. Bill would have loved to be teaching both of his new great-grandsons, Kevin and Jacob, about his two favorite subjects, the wonderful world of tools and the concept of personal responsibility.

On to more of Basel's signs . . .

Old European keys can be very unique

In front of a bakery/café

I just liked it

Mogen David Winery?

Glove Store

Rathaus Tower

A rathaus is a city hall. My two favorite city halls to look at in the world are located in Malmö, Sweden and Helsingborg, Sweden.

Until today, I've moved the Basel Rathaus into the #1 position of my City Hall Top Ten list.

What do you think?

The bright red front of the
16th century Basel Rathaus

The Balconies on the left of the Rathaus

And the balcony on the right

I thought that Mövenpicks
were illegal in basketball?

By the way, my NCAA Men's Basketball Bracket is a total, complete and utter diaster this year after winning the lucrative Rio Mesa H.S. Bracket Pool last year.

A Basel Nobleman

The Spalentor

This beautiful old city gate is over 600 years old, having been built in 1370, and is one of only three city gates of the original 40 that is still standing.

That reminds me!

The Thun Tiger's U-19 team opened the season with a stirring, hard fought 20-7 victory in Lugano over the home town Lakers.

Congratulations to all of the U-19 Tigers and their coaches!


It was now about 10:15 and time for me to start walking from the Aldstadt to the game to film the Basel-Luzern Junior game. I found it rather easily, thanks to my Google map that I got off the internet last night, but . . .

Home of the Basel Meanmachine

The field was set up but there were no teams involved in warm-ups or at least making noises in the locker room area.

I made some inquiries to a few of the Basel Senior players helping to set up the stadium for their season opener at 2:00 p.m. and found out that the Junior game was canceled due to a lack of players on the Basel roster.

Back to the Aldstadt.

This is how I got the chance to go inside the Münster Cathedral after their morning service was over.

Nice Mural

I miss Laurie terribly

Goofy looking lions

Isn't that the icon of Venice, Italy?

Unique Cuban Cigars Since 1492!

Les Trois Rois Hotel

Heralded by my Lonely Planet guidebook as easily Basel's top luxury hotel.

It looked the part.

The Lällekeenig or Tongue King

This relief bust is located on this building at the Grossbasel end of the Mittlere Brücke bridge facing Kleinbasel. It pretty much sums up the attitude of the Aldstadt people of their working class neighbors across the Rhein River.

The view of Kleinbasel from the Lällekeenig

It doesn't look that bad over there to me, but then again I didn't cross the Mittlere Brücke to find out for myself.

An entrepreneur taking advantage
by changing the spelling

Rope tow boat crossing the Rhein River

The current is so strong that it is attached to an overhead rope device to help it cross the Rhein from Grossbasel to Kleinbasel in this instance.

I hope that in this day and age,
machines are used to tow the boats

FC Basel's St. Jakob Park Stadium

FC Basel is the top team in the Swiss Fussball (soccer) League. I'll see them play this Saturday against FC Thun at Arena Thun.

One Side of St. Jakob Park Stadium

Nicknamed "Joggeli," this stadium is Switzerland's largest with a capacity of 38,512 for Swiss League games and 60,000 for concerts.

The front of the stadium consists of a rather large shopping center and living spaces. The shopping center was closed, nothing is open on Sundays in Switzerland.

I boarded the #14 tram, changed to the #2 tram and was back at the American football game field, capacity unknown, in no time at all.

This time we had players!

The Luzern Lions in white, they had cheerleaders.

I paid the 10 Swiss Francs entry fee and scurried to my assigned seat in Row 1 of the North End Zone.

The Bratwursts looked good on the grill for a mere 6 Swiss Francs.

The Basel Meanmachine

It was a bright, sunny and warm afternoon, perfect American football weather!


Basel import QB #4

I don't know his name or where he is from as the Basel souvenir program did not have a roster nor is there a 2012 roster posted on the team website.

He was easily the star of the game and earned every last Swiss Franc of his salary today. He threw well and ran even better. He will be a force all season for the Meanmachine it is safe to say.

We will have our hands full with him in our season opener at home next week to say the least.

I was not able to take any pictures of the game action because of my video taping duties, sorry.

Final Score
Basel 36 - Luzern 25

The bratwurst at halftime was excellent!

And so good for me too!

Swiss American Football League

NLB Results Week #1
LUCAF 13 - Fribourg 0
Basel 36 - Luzern 25
BYES: Geneva and Thun

NLB Standings
Basel Meanmachine 1-0
LUCAF Owls 1-0
Geneva Seahawks 0-0
Thun Tigers 0-0
Fribourg Cardinals 0-1
Luzern Lions 0-1

NLB Week #2 Games
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Basel (1-0) at Thun (0-0)
Fribourg (0-1) at Geneva (0-0)
Luzern (0-1) at LUCAF (1-0)



Martina Baumann said...

I always like to read your blog :-)
just a note: it's called "BRATWURST" (means: "grilled sausage"), not BRAUTWURST ("Braut" means "bride", so it would be a bridal sausage or something like that...)

George said...


Thanks, that would be a bad thing!

I'll change it immediately before Philipp arrests me for cannibalism.

Uffe said...

Hey Coach

The Qb is CJ Hopson from Stevenson University

Go get then next week!

steveswindle said...

It's truly amazing how so much of their food is good for you!!

Their field reminded of my Team in stands.

Can't wait for your next entry!!!

Johan said...

Uffe beat me to the info om the Basel QB...