The 9th day of our vacation took us back across the French – Swiss border to Basel and then to the area of Gruyere where we have booked the hotel for the last two nights. Incidentally it was the only border crossing were some form of control was exercised but with Swiss-registered car and our European faces made the border control as easy as a hand-waving.

on the streets of Basel

We had planned to spend most of the day in Basel and wrote down a couple of fine museums and the Basel Munster. We soon realized that this is by no means a city that deserves much more time, so we gave up on visiting the Munster and the Tinguely Museum. It’s certainly a city to come back some time later for a few days.

Kunstmuseum Basel - source

We so decided to spend a few hours in the Kunstmuseum Basel – The Museum of Fine Arts. This fine institution which has a tradition that started with the collection of art of the city of Basel in the 17th century unfortunately has a policy that forbids photographing and even the Web site has very few reproductions. Trust me – it is one of the finest art museums in Europe and very much worth a one day visit for the art lovers, with collections that include masterpieces starting with medieval German art, Flemish masters, French classical painting, Impressionists and Expressionists.

Kunstmuseum Basel waiting for Light Stripes

The courtyard of the Museum being the only place I could take photos here are the preparations for the Light Stripes – an open air event that was to open that night – imagine the stripes in the light of the evening.

Les Bourgeois de Calais

Also in the courtyard a version of Rodin’s Bourgeois de Calais could be admired (and photographed). At least we could visit Andy Warhol’s Early Sixties works exhibition before almost everybody else, one day before its opening. The exhibition is still open.

approaching Gruyere

Declaring defeat and promising to ourselves that we will get back to Basel, its museums, monuments, streets dedicating it the time it deserves we headed south. We passed Bern which we had already visited during our previous Swiss vacation and descended towards the Gruyere area. One of the most beautiful places on the surface of Earth was waiting for us. The next episode will be dedicated to it.