This morning we rose and went into central Basel city for the annual Fasnacht celebration. Morgensteich would be the beginning of our visit and the beginning of the three day celebration that is Fasnacht.
On the dot of 4am, the lights of Basel Stadt went out. The crowd let out a cheer. The procession of Morgenstreich commenced. Lanterns, already raised atop the shoulders of their bearers, began to follow the piccollo players through the three major squares of Basel Stadt.
Each lantern in the procession lampoons a prominent political
event or person from the preceding year. While many of the
Lanterns deal with local issues, many also deal with national
and international issues. This year, an election year, many
of the lanterns dealt with the controversial
Black Sheep poster which was deployed by the SVP in
an effort to
stir racial tensions deal with immigration
Other lanterns lampooned last years president Micheline Calmy Rey and the Simpsons. Reports have reached me that in excess of 100,000 people turned out for Morgenstreich which is impressive turnout given that populations is around 200,000 people.
Towards the end of Morgenstreich we endeavoured to find something warm to eat and drink. Within the "Innenstadt" this proved to be quite a daunting challenge as, naturally enough, this is where most of the people and participants are. A short stroll from the Innenstadt we discovered the Hotel Teufelhof (Leonhardsgraben 49) which, while busy, did have a table for the two of us. Being Fasnacht, we partook of the traditional Mehlsuppe, a traditional flour soup with cheese and onions which is a must have to compliment your Fasnacht experience. (And keep you warm!)
By this time of the morning (6ish) we were rather knackered having had only a few hours sleep this morning so we headed off for a spot of shut-eye before returning to city for the main cortege of the day at 2pm. We took lunch in the Basel branch of Paddy Reillys which was, to say the least, highly disappointing but at least it was close to the festivities. The cortege passes through the main squares of Basel (Barfusserplatz and Marktplatz) while the cliques in their mobile vehicles (which take a startling array of forms) toss oranges and sweets at the onlooking spectators.
All in all, Basler Fasnacht was highly enjoyable - just as it always has been.
Basel Fasnacht - display of Fasnacht lanterns - Lanterns of Basler Fasnacht being displayed in Münsterplatz
Basel - great things to do - 8 of the best things to do in and around the city of Basel
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Basel Fasnacht - lanterns at Münsterplatz - Lanterns displayed in front of the Basler Münster on the second day of Basler Fasnacht
Basel - Van Gogh exhibition 2009 - A visit the Van Gogh Exhibition at the Kunstmuseum in Basel
Basel SBB - Deutsche Bahn train - A Deutsche Bahn train sits at the Basel SBB train station
Switzerland - festivals not to miss - Fantastic Swiss festivals to visit through the year
Liestal - Chienbaese 2013 - The Chienbaese procession through the central Altstadt of Liestal
Liestal - Chienbäse - Chienbäse being paraded through the old town of Liestal
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Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook