Exploring the green spaces right on the doorstep of our future homes in Westfeld

Exploring the green spaces right on the doorstep of our future homes in Westfeld

Yet again the weather gods beamed down on our merry group of 15 which yesterday joined Doris and Dorothea’s latest Verein walk. Fittingly, this last ‘Wanderung’ before the Big Move was an exploration of the many green spaces dotted around our new homes in Westfeld. Beginning with a walk through Kannenfeld Park, we continued a short distance through very stylish neighbourhoods until we reached the Parc des Carrières.

This nature park is a courageous joint project by authorities and private individuals in France and Switzerland to re-purpose some 11 hectares (>27 acres) of gravel-pit land straddling the border. With phases 1 & 2 now complete, the park was officially opened earlier this month. More quarry areas will be absorbed as gravel deposits become exhausted in the coming years.

By the time we completed our walk, most of the early morning mist had cleared, making way for some sunshine as we ended up in Café Noir in the new Felix Platter-Spital.

A Visit to Switzerland’s Tallest Building

A Visit to Switzerland’s Tallest Building

In a week of otherwise poor weather, on Saturday 22 October blue skies and sunshine bathed much of Switzerland. Lucky us (again!), for this was the day we had arranged for our latest Community Event – a visit to Roche’s latest “intelligent” Building 2 in Kleinbasel. Completed this year, the 205 metre-high, CHF 545 Mill. structure opened the doors to its latest offices at the heart of the company’s campus on Grenzacherstrasse.

Although the building’s footprint takes up 83,000 m2, the entire office space can accommodate up to 3,400 office workers occupying a total area of 348,000 m2. The internal architecture of the earthquake-resistant structure has been carefully themed, a pleasant environment that includes not just multiple workstations, but restaurants, a 3-storey-high communication area, lounges and chill-out spaces – even a vertical garden in the lofty entrance hall!

In all, the building has 16 lifts, each of which feeds electrical energy back into the grid when they descend. Numbers for our one-hour members tour were strictly limited, and we began by taking a fast but super-silent ascent to the 47th floor. From the restaurant there we took in the stupendous vista over the entire Basel region are. To the north, the Black Forest; the west, the Vosges mountains, and to the south, the Jura range. Only cloud further south over the Alps obscured sight of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

Maybe we could ask for a return visit so that more of our members and friends can see this architectural masterpiece sometime in the future???

Breathing the History Basel

Breathing the History Basel

Although the earliest traces of settlement in what is now Basel date back 2900 years, the city that grew to become to the thriving hub of north-west Switzerland really began to take shape under Roman rule, acquiring the name Basilia in the 4th century.

It was some of this long and often distinguished history that members and friends of W+ B went to explore on our early autumn Community event on 25 September, under the guidance of local amateur historian Stephan Buchmann. Our group of 16 began at the Totentanz, named after a late Middle Ages painting near the Predigerkirche – a memento mori that death takes everyone out of life, regardless of their status.We continued west, climbing the Rheinsprung to the Münsterplatz, a reminder that religious development went hand-in-hand with trade at this major crossing point over the Rhine linking northern Europe with its southern neighbours. The legacy of names such as Erasmus, Felix Platter, Sarasin, Bernoulli, Hans Holbein and Merian are still evident as we passed the Muensterberg to the bustling and now-pedestrianised Freiestrasse. We continued to the Barfüsserplatz, once part of the marshy Birsig River, drained by mendicant (barefoot!) Franciscan friars and which became the site of one of the city’s important markets.

Despite a squally forecast the rain stayed away for the whole expedition, and (as always) we rewarded our studies with lunch at our final stopping point – appropriately the Marktplatz in the centre of the Old Town.

A Stroll through the Ermitage

A Stroll through the Ermitage


Fortunately, the recent hot weather took a cooler turn, helped by overcast skies, as we set out on 6 August on our latest Verein walk to explore the 40-hectare Ermitage in Arlesheim. Opened in 1785, and preserved to the present day, this Basel-Land beauty spot is less than 10 kms. south of Basel City Centre and comprise the largest gardens in Switzerland landscaped in the English style.
Our 13 W+ B members and friends trekked up the shallow uphill path, wooded path. Surrounded by woods, we stopped for snacks at one of the gardens’ picnic areas at the half-way mark. Returning on the opposite side of the valley, we ended up for soup and coffee in the village centre.
Expertly organised by members Dorothea Eich and Doris Vogt, the walk, as with all W+ B events, provided an opportunity for our community to get to know one another better as we count down the days to our move into our new homes in Westfeld.
We organise these walks and other events every month or so. If you would like to join us in future, just get in touch and we will add your name to our mailing list.
Tip. We are in touch with a keen local historian who has kindly offered to lead a circular walk around Basel’s Altstadt. We will learn about the historical, architectural and economical growth of our home city from ancient times to the present day. The walk will take place on 25 September.

Events

We organize community events for W+ B members and friends about once a month. When the weather is fine, we take walks in country areas of the Basel Region. Other W+ B events include musical recitals, Apéros and workshops on topics of interest to our members.