Our first night in Basel
When we woke up from our naps, we head down to the Marketplatz. There are a couple of ways to get there. When you walk out the front door of Rochat, take a left and walk to the alley, also known as Peterkirshplatz. When you get to the adjacent street, known as Petersgasse (and Nadelberg depending on where you are) you can either take the 80+ steps down to the Marketplatz or you can take a right on Petersgasse and wind your way down. We wanted to go to a restaurant I found on Yelp, while I was still using the hotel WiFi, so we decided to walk down the street rather than the steps. Along the street there are lots of beautiful, old buildings, shops and gardens to admire. It’s really a lovely stroll. There are many cross paths from here, with more steps and slopes to walk down, or you can walk all the way up to Spalenberg, which will loop you into the Marketplatz. Since it was after 6pm, most everything was closed, with the exception of bars and restaurants, but, it was fun to window shop. We found our restaurant and had our first meal in Switzerland. As a vegetarian, I was prepared to not have many meal options, but, was pleasantly surprised to find I always had choices no matter where I went. I ordered a delicious roasted vegetable rosti. Rosti is a typical Swiss meal, which is basically like a hash. Simple food, not fancy, but, excellent. This was sort of our first eye opener to actual prices in Switzerland – even though it was a pretty simple meal, it cost just under 80 CHF for the two of us. We didn’t order anything extravagant, it’s just prices are really that high – about double of what we would expect to pay in Minneapolis. Ouch. Another thing you should know is that tips are built into the price of the food there, so you do not have to tip your servers. The price of our meal did not include extra tip.
Breakfast at Hotel Rochat
The next morning, we went down for breakfast in the hotel dining room. It has a very nice set up, with both hot and cold food items to choose from. They had scrambled and hardboiled eggs, sausage, a breakfast tater-tot like potato, breads, jams, sliced cheese, cereal, lunch meat, yogurt, pickled herring (blech!), and a delicious cold Swiss oatmeal.
Off to buy a SIM Card
The first thing we did the next morning after our breakfast was to head down to the Marketplatz to get a Swiss SIM card for my mobile phone. While I didn’t anticipate having to make any phone calls, I did want to have a decent data plan in case we were out and could not access WiFi for bus schedules or a Yelp recommendation or even using the GPS on my phone. The closest store was Salt, but, there are also Mobile Zone‘s in the area that sell Salt, SwissCom and other local provider cards. Provided your mobile phone is unlocked (check with your carrier before you leave the U.S.), you can purchase a SIM card that will give you data and a local phone number. This was extremely useful when we needed GPS to figure out where we wanted to head next.
Coop, Migros & Denner Grocery Stores
We found a local grocer in the Marketplatz that was definitely a lifesaver. Coops are dotted throughout Basel and are great choices for picking up staples, snacks, water and even prepared meals. We didn’t find any Migros by the hotel, but, there are definitely some on the other side of the Rhine, which is a short walk or a short bus ride. Denner’s are supposed to be the least expensive grocery stores in Basel, but, we never found one. They are further out in the surrounding areas outside of Basel proper. You could buy very large bottles of water for roughly 1.25 CHF there, but, a small prepared salad was still about 8.00 CHF. Everything is quite expensive in Switzerland.
The next day was treatment day!
>>> Part Five