Basel by night

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of ours who is a successful local author and historian (and looks rather like Santa Claus) took us on a guided tour of the city of Basel in Switzerland. It was beautiful but bitterly cold so I didn't work up the courage to get my camera out until we'd almost finished the tour and night was falling. Basel is located right on the Rhein and has lots of pretty bridges.

To warm up, we ended the afternoon with a visit to two of the Christmas markets for some hot chocolate (in a collector's mug, thank you very much, not a horrid plastic cup. I'm looking at you, France!!!). The markets were so different from the French ones and reminded me of the German ones I discovered as a 9-year old. There's some proper Christmas magic going on here. The lights and decorations are tasteful, all the food looks delicious and there's even a market dedicated to the children with lots of activites (candle-making, woodworking, etc.) and a little train you can ride on (even if you're an adult. Not that we did. I swear).

Lots of beautiful things to see in Basel and it's always nice to have your own private tour guide who knows lots of interesting stories. As much as I like reading guidebooks when preparing a trip, I can never be bothered to get them out once I get to wherever I'm going so I usually end up forgetting half of what there is to see. Anyone else?

This is the town hall. You can't see them very well here but there are brightly painted ceilings inside  the building. Magical stuff, I tell you!

Of course it has the mandatory massive Christmas tree in the courtyard so you can take your mandatory selfie and ruin everyone else's picture.

Where is this ceiling? Oh, nowhere special, it's just the local post office ceiling. 

The second Christmas market was bigger and quite busy and maybe not as charming as the first, but it was still a lot nicer than your average Colmar Christmas market. Also loads more expensive, but that's Switzerland for you! They have the salaries to go with the high prices. In fact, if anyone knows of any job vacancies over there, I'm all ears...

I hope you're enjoying the holidays and ready for a new year to begin! By the way, have you ever heard of the 12 days of Christmas weather forecast? Apparently from the day after Christmas until the 6th of January, people used to study the weather closely and use it to forecast what each month of the coming year would be like. I've found lots of different explanations on various websites, this is really a thing! (and someone told us today that it's pretty reliable too) My mind is blown. I feel like I'm all set for 2017 now that I have this new superpower. No more meteofrance.fr for me!!!


Deck the stairs !

One thing I love about our building is that our neighbours across the landing are very committed to making it look nice. Which makes sense as the building has been in their family for several generations. They used to run the shops downstairs (expensive lingerie and clothes on one side and a very large "everything home related, oh and lots of old-fashioned cleaning things, random food such as organic pizza dough and a few souvenirs of Munster for good measure" type shop on the other side), which are now run by their two daughters (one of them is our landlady). Anyway, it sounds complicated but it's actually very simple: this building is very important to the family and therefore, the communal areas get nicely decorated for Christmas every year!

 Above is my slightly ridiculous contribution...

...and all this is theirs!

Of course it inspired me to get our good old decorations out of their box and put them up around the house. Long-time readers will recognise most of them but there are some new additions:

This cute little star is made of porcelain and was a present from Snug in Hebden Bridge.

Repurposing string lights from your wedding decor to disguise your rubber tree for the season #queenofmultipurposing I love this pic because the lit-up window you can see across the street is the living room of some nice friends we've made here over the last year. Sadly they'll be moving soon (only 5 minutes away, but still!), but we've enjoyed waving at each other lots and inviting each other over for drinks and all the local gossip.

I've had this set of repositionnable window stickers for years but never used them as I thought they might be a pain to put up (spoiler alert: they were). They look just perfect here though. I might even leave them up all year!

And here come the classics... gingerbread girl and a display of boozy baubles.

And a rabbit, naturally. 

Well, that's it from me for 2016, unless I manage to squeeze in a post about our recent tour of Basel and its magical Christmas market within the next couple of days! In the meantime, please remember to sit back, relax and enjoy the fact that the days will be getting longer and longer for the next six months. Yay!

Wishing you peace, joy and fuzziness all around!