Saturday, August 15, 2015

On the Streets of Basel:

Walking through the streets of Basel: a city that straddles the river Rhine, along the western edge of Switzerland, where it abuts both France and Germany. Basel; an international, industrial playground of sorts. It is also the annual scene of the original, now global, esteemed Art Basel; a gathering of the world's major art players–collectors, curators, dealers, restorers, and admirers; admission comes only to those with pedigree, clout, and cache. Happily, for those not there for the air fair, the city itself, welcomes–no clout required. Very near to Burgundy, and thus also to Dijon–Basel's buildings lend to it, an atmosphere of medievalism; similar to Dijon's, they're capped by diamond-patterned, polychrome roofs. Formerly an industrial center, in the nineteenth century, Basel has since strove toward the Swiss idealism–similar to the rest of the country, the city finds itself swaddled in relaxation: children swim in fountains in the city's center; colorful dots, that soon reveal themselves to be people, float down the river Rhine, under its bridges, and along its shores; and nearly everywhere one looks, citizens are enjoying what at first appears to be a glimpse of the 'good-life'. The sun shone bright during my time strolling up and down Basel's streets; humidity hung low in the air, in order to announce the stifling presence of summer. A lazy August day in Basel entails slow energy–no phrenetic, frantic, or chaotic happenings will be found on this city's streets; rather, order, calm, collectedness, and perhaps most prominently–a tinge of conservatism weaves its way throughout every visible entity. Basel respects its past; strives for an exceedingly high standard of living for its citizens, despite its modern-industrial genesis along the Rhine; and welcomes those who aimlessly set to derivé its winding–and yet, mostly un-gorgeous, though ordered–city streets. Located inland, far from the North Sea–Basel is bountiful in early-modern architecture, crystal-clear water, ample amounts of fresh air, and a uniquely Swiss approach to life that suffuses throughout itself.