My treatment day was scheduled for May 19th, so we were flying out the evening of the 16th, which just happened to be my Mom’s 70th birthday. This would give us an arrival in Basel mid-afternoon on Tuesday, so we would have a full day on Wednesday to get the lay of the land in Basel and do a little exploring.
Our flight over was pretty standard stuff, as I mentioned in a previous post, we both used a product called No-Jet-Lag, which you take upon takeoff and every two hours that you are traveling. It’s a homeopathic remedy to just help support your immune system to help with the change. You might want to make sure that you carry on various items that will make your trip a little more pleasant. For me that was a toothbrush, toothpaste, a hairbrush, a lavender spritz for my face and clothes and mints. The air on the plane is very drying, so these things just helped me feel a little less gross while traveling for 14 hours.
On our flight over, we arrived in Paris’ Charles de Gaul (CDG) airport for our first layover. Just a tip that we didn’t realize with CDG, if that if you are catching a smaller connection, like we were, you will take a bus over to another terminal and from there you have to watch their boards to see which gate your flight will be leaving from. They do not assign the gates until about 20 – 30 minutes before the flight leaves! We found this out by asking another traveler who was well-acquainted with the system. It’s sort of crazy, but, it’s not a huge terminal. It is something to be aware of if you have mobility issues or are traveling with little ones. The flight from CDG to Basel was a little over an hour.
Arriving at the Basel Airport
Upon arriving at the Basel airport (BSL), which is a pretty small airport, we picked up our baggage and then had to head out to catch the bus. What is interesting about this airport is that it is actually located in France. Basel literally has suburbs in Switzerland, Germany and France. So, be sure look for the Swiss side to depart on. We stopped at a ticket counter to talk to one of the people about this confirmation letter from Rochat stating we could take public transportation just by presenting the letter. They assured us that we just needed to catch the number 50 bus to the fourth stop at Kannenfeldplatz, then connect with either a 36, 31, or 38 to Universitätsspital, which is the third stop. Literally, you get on the bus with your luggage and find a seat. They have many racks to help contain your luggage. The public transportation system is run on a honor system in Switzerland. It’s unlikely you will have to present your letter from Rochat or even a purchased ticket. It could happen, but, it’s just not that likely. At Kannenfeldplatz we hopped off the bus and waited about two minutes for our connecting bus, which brought us to our stop at Universitätsspital. Stepping off the bus, you head right to the next corner, where you will see a sign posted that says Hotel Rochat. Take a left and it’s about two city blocks walk, kind of up a hill. It’s not bad, but, again, if mobility is an issue, something to be aware of. Reported to me by another patient that even though the airport is very close, if you take a cab, it will cost roughly 60 CHF. Uber is also available there – although not as common as the U.S., but, you have to be sure that you either have an international data plan with your phone provider, or purchase a Swiss SIMM card upon arrival at the airport.
Arriving at Rochat
From the time we touched down at BSL to walking in the front door of Rochat was maybe an hour and a half. The hotel’s reception was under construction when we arrived (completed by the time we left) and is really lovely, with the breakfast dining area off of the main level. One thing to keep in mind with Rochat is that it is three buildings that are connected together, so there can be some stair climbing. We never really figured out if we could take the elevator off the main building to connect with our skywalk over to our building, so we would climb four and a half flights to get to the level where the skywalk was to get to our building and then take the elevator to where we needed to go. Again, if mobility is an issue, please talk to them about your accommodations. I think they have rooms on lower, easier to access levels. Our room was on the top floor, and had really pretty vaulted ceilings, exposed beams and a beautiful ensuite bathroom. There were windows across the length of one wall that we could open and look down to the courtyard and rooftops below. Basel is a gorgeous town. It’s like something from a fairy tale. Beautiful sloping rooflines, stucco facades, and beautiful, hidden courtyard gardens. It’s magical to see a town that is so steeped in historical architecture. We were both pretty exhausted from our travels and took a short nap when we got into our room before we did some exploring in the Marketplatz to get some dinner later in the evening.
In my next post I will talk more about logistics – food, communication and transportation.
>>> Part Four