A Travellerspoint blog

Youth Group, Museum and Zoo in Basel

Basel again :) Can't seems to leave this city

sunny 21 °C

I finally bought my own Swiss pass after living off charity for two days :)
Went to the Basel Zoo that is supposed to be one of the best in the world, the designs of the zoo is different than that of Prague's, instead of recreating a habitat out in the open. This zoo has special houses that host animals according to their different habitat and allows us to get up close and personal with the animals. Again, no explanation in English but I can comprehend a little bit of the German explanation. I found myself comparing the two zoos and I decided I liked Prague's zoo more, but this zoo is no slouch either. One of the good points of this zoo is they tried to instill strong environmental awareness in their visitors and is also rather children friendly.
Examples of the signs
Some of the animals and the structures
Workers in the zoo
Coming soon, the new and improved ape house
After the visit, I walked around Basel while trying to get swiss knives and some engraving done. Figured that if I were to get something, might as well get something useful instead of the usual trinkets. Somehow managed to communicate entirely in German while trying to get the knives' engraving done, I am still a little amazed at the effort taken.
Stopped by the Congress Center to have a look
Checked out the nice taxis (People from home are so obsessed with these type of cars, here there are just taxis. Perhaps excess wealth should be channeled elsewhere ;) )
Walked in the city park (it's basically everywhere and it is really nice)
Roger Federer was here
The King that stuck his tongue out
And nice fountains that are all over the city
Went to the Arts Museum
And then the history museum
The history museum was actually quite decent with all the relic and treasures. I learnt a lot more about Basel after the visit to the museum and I had more appreciation for what the people go through. It was evening after the museums and I just go around randomly, exploring gems in back alleys in the process.
Exhibition in the museum
Some cool stuff
Joined the youth group from church for a time of prayer and sharing. We had a good time of fellowship, discussed about compassion, sang, prayed, ate lasagna and just chatted until late. I had to forced myself to leave the wonderful circle of friends because of a planned trip to Geneva tomorrow.
It is a great day indeed.

Posted by canglingy 08:26 Archived in Switzerland Tagged people animals zoo museum sightseeing Comments (0)

Walking Tour and Bike Trip

Speeding around Swiss countryside :)

sunny 26 °C

Did walking tour around Basel in the morning. The city has helpful color coded pedestrian signs that allows the visitors to choose which type of memory lane that opt to walk down. It can be some heritage or science history of the city. Swiss cities are very well kept as they remained neutral throughout the world wars and they have their old buildings intact. I ventured around Basel's old town and took closer look at the some of the sights that I had been introduced to yesterday. These pictures are some the paths I walked.
And there's a bustling market too
Walked along the Rhine until I reached Norvatis Campus, this corporation is very close to the three countries' intersection point. (France, Germany and Switzerland). So one could technically be in three country at one time. Anyway, my host has offered to give me a tour of his workplace. This workplace followed the American concept, which is built in a supposed more "fun" way and university-like, so employee will be happy to get to work. Each building in this campus was designed by world-renowned architect and each has their unique features and "looks". This place used to be a production plant but is now gradually phasing out to be replaced for more administrative purposes. Nevertheless, I had a good tour, saw the different interiors, offices and labs.
And there's sculptors too
The remaining production plant
And a view of three countries (France on the left, Germany on the right of the river, and I am standing on Swiss soil)
Went home for lunch and we hopped on Ulrich's BMW Bike to start our bike tour to Swiss countryside. I was a little bit unnerved by the speed initially (we were faster than most cars, and the machine picks up speed just as easily) but slowly I began to enjoy it a lot. I was impressed by the bike's performance, no loud noise, just really smooth and powerful. The sights were beautiful as we go up and down the hills. We stopped at smaller towns, Olten and Laufan for breaks and they were little gems that are just waiting to be discovered.
This ride lasted an entire afternoon and it is the first time I get to put on the entire set of Swiss precaution :)
The Swiss dinner was a cold one to counter the effect of the sun we were under whilst riding. We had mearsely (Don't know whether I spelled it correctly), it's really fruity and I love it.
We had dinner conversation over wine and proceed to lay down tentative plans for the next few days.

Posted by canglingy 19:49 Archived in Switzerland Tagged landscapes sightseeing bike Comments (0)

Church and Friends

Quality bonding time.

all seasons in one day 21 °C

This entry will be about relationships formed while in Switzerland :)
Morning began with excellent Swiss bread, the best I had ever had. Finally went to a proper church service after a while, my host family interpreted bits and part of the message for me. With my abysmal German, I caught the gist of the message. After the service, we went for a 3.5 hours lunch where we just joked, talked, laughed and quickly bonded. We do have some good discussion, for example we talked about value creation in every work field that we devote ourself into. It's not the worth of the job as per say but rather what we, even we might be a "lowly" toilet cleaner, create something better for others. This is interesting because this issue was brought up at the recent East Asia student conference too.
Had a free guided tour of Basel by the young adults and junior pastor, got to know the famous places and sights plus all their quirky commentaries.
It was lively interactions as we even joked about a lot of places we came across. I have different perspectives of the city as my fellow guides/friends are of different background. Some are local boys, another a Dutch and I have a half German/half Argentinean too. It is very interesting to hear different sides of stories. There are some discussion that will probably stick with me for a while. While we are visiting the Munster,
CIMG2393.jpg (The Munster couldn't fit into the camera, so I took a different picture instead ;) )
we talked about the construction, one of them said that the builders spend their whole life just building the church, they died nameless but it doesn't matter to them, these people understood the values they live for and they live life knowing that it is for the Lord. I think almost all of us had lost this kind of passion and commitment now, we are easily excited by different things and never stay focused long enough to see the bearing of fruits. I wonder if we'd have this spirit again. I thought this attitude is rather fascinating. They are the real "nameless and faceless generation", even though some of today's church keep raising the issue of being invisible (nameless, faceless) if we look back at history, this would be a model.
I had a protestant history lesson as we were looking at the Latin Tombstone.
I heard a very unique perspective from one of them, that fragmentation of church of is the cell, we somehow need to fragment before more growth. This is evident in Protestant history, we fought and broke up the most yet we are the most penetrative. So church split, albeit it's ugly initially might turn out not to be a bad thing.
We crossed the Rhine and I realized that after I came here, all of my expenses are paid for by others, what a blessing.
Had a long tea break and the old town square. We talked about politics, the world and ended up spending more than 3 hours again. I gained perspectives of the EU from my friends here. My suspicion were confirmed, they don't see themselves as European but rather Dutch, German and Swiss. There's still the allegiance to the crown in some countries. It was knowledgeable exchange between learned men and I enjoyed my time with them.
Went home for dinner and we had fruit pie, I am starting to really enjoy the lovely Swiss food. We talked about everything over dinner table and we start to plan my day trips in Switzerland together.

Posted by canglingy 20:06 Archived in Switzerland Tagged bridges churches people sightseeing Comments (0)

Farewell, Czech Republic. Hello Switzerland :)

Full day of traveling

sunny 36 °C

Bid the republic farewell. Some memories here will definitely remain for a long time. Hopped on a minivan by Sebastian Tours and left for Vienna.
The drive was very pleasant with great sights along the way. The only two drives that I know off in Malaysia that can compete with this view would be the road that links the East and West Coast in Peninsular Malaysia and the roads leading to Kundasang in Sabah.
The weather was hot but the blooming flowers in Austria's countryside compensated for the heat.
I got a sneak peek at Vienna before boarding the train Zurich where I will get another intercity train to Basel.
Admired the scenery along the way,
read some books throughout the journey, made another new friend. Finally got to Basel late in the evening and was greeted by a smiling Uncle Ulrich. It was already dark so we went back to his lovely home to rest :)

Posted by canglingy 07:41 Archived in Switzerland Tagged trains travelling Comments (0)

Mirror Labyrinth, Wax Museum and Cycling

A full day in Cesky Krumlov

sunny 29 °C

Had to go hotel hunting in the morning, Cesky Krumlov is very popular so for those planning to stay in for summer, it would be wise to book some months in advance. Found another good little pension (Penzion Landauer), the owner and the daughter were very nice and have very engaging personalities.
I cycled at random to the middle of nowhere because I wanted to see the countryside. The Downhill rides were particularly great as you feel the cold wind swept over you, really wanted to do more but the uphill journey really wears me out.
This was the basic bike I went around.
After all the workout, I had pork knuckle for lunch, a huge portion but I enjoyed it :)
Visited the mirror labyrinth and it was a unique experience. When you are in there, a small part of start panicking and you'd feel a slight sense of suffocation. There a strong reliance on touch and memory to leave the maze. I got a little bit frustrated initially because it everywhere looks the same.
And the labyrinth looks like this.
Me getting kinda stuck.
I was happy I completed both levels of the maze and I went into the wax museum. There wasn't much to see in there and with the rather high admission ticket, it is quite a tourist rip off. Then again, here's some pictures of the interior.
I start to get some souvenirs for friends and family back home and just walk around the town.
I also stopped by the tourist center to to get infos about alternative to get into Austria, the staff there turns out to be the best workers I have ever seen. They even helped me to call OBB when I couldn't communicate with the operator (They just speak German and nothing else) The staff had also helped to arrange transport for me to get to Vienna. Truly wonderful and helpful people :)
Spent the evening reading and writing. After nightfall, went into the town again for a quiet and leisurely stroll.
I was contented with the time spent in Cesky Krumlov.

Posted by canglingy 23:39 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged museum sightseeing Comments (0)

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