Klosterberg Festival 2014

The Klosterbergfest 2014 is on! Don’t miss the food, music, and fun!! For more information, click here!

klosterberg

The Klosterbergfest is legendary in Basel!

What is it?

A three-day, multi-cultural street party festival: Live music, caipirinhas (of course!), gourmet food from around the world, and more! The goal is to raise money for street children in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The money will be used to provide the children opportunities for growth and enhancement. So far, over 20,000 people have benefited with elementary and advanced training from these generous donations from Basel.

Join the fun!

Source: http://www.baselinsider.ch/jahreshighlights/klosterbergfest.html

The SBB

If you plan on doing any traveling this summer, you’ll be seeing a lot of the SBB, with its excellent connections to destinations within Switzerland and to the surrounding countries of Germany, Italy, and beyond. The SBB, Basel’s main railway station, is the self-proclaimed first international train station in the world. It is also home to Bâle SNCF, the French railway station, located through a border crossing/passport control point.

The Centralbahnplatz right outside the entrance of the SBB is a major connection center for trams and buses to other places in Basel. You can catch Bus 50 to get to the Basel/Mulhouse EuroAirport, or any number of other trams into the city center and its outlying regions.

For more information on the SBB, including timetables, visit their website at sbb.ch/en/home.html.

Frohe Ostern!

Easter is almost here and it’s time to celebrate! If you’re wondering how to celebrate the Swiss way, here are just a few ideas…

Easter Surprises

You’ll probably hear the church bells ringing joyfully this Easter morning! It’s traditional in Switzerland to attend church, followed by brunch or dinner and a family get-together. A typical Easter menu could include lamb with potatoes, pastetli (a meat pie with mushrooms and cream sauce), chicken in lemon thyme butter, fish with couscous and yogurt sauce, pork, or rabbit.

Most children—and adults—also look forward to an annual Easter egg hunt. Easter eggs (usually real eggs, not plastic) are normally painted the day before, and then in the morning are hidden outside in the park or garden, in the house, even inside boots and shoes!

And don’t forget the Easter Bunny. Many children wake up on Easter morning to a magical nest or Easter basket filled with a chocolate bunny and candy eggs.

Easter Treats

Chocolate bunnies

There are lots of Basel specialties to look forward to any time of year. Here’s a quick guide to a few Easter favourites:

Biskuithässli and Biskuitlämmli: Bunny-shaped and lamb-shaped almond cookies with a delicate lemon flavour. Try the chocolate ones too!

Ostertauben: Pastry “doves” with candied fruit, hazelnuts, and almonds.

Osterfladen or Osterflädeli: A cross between a custard tart and a cake, often filled with rice pudding, speckled with raisins, and topped with frosting or powdered sugar. It can range from a very simple custard-like filling, to something more decadent with several layers of jam, cream, and nuts.

Praline Eier: Big candy eggs with a hard praline shell, filled with chocolates and decorated with piped frosting. These gourmet (and somewhat costly) praline eggs are given to close family and friends…a gift that tells a loved one just how very much they mean to you!

And everyone knows, Switzerland is the place to be for chocolate. Walk into any confiserie or bakery and you’ll be overwhelmed by all the choices—chocolate bunnies, candy eggs, marzipan carrots. Migros and Coop sell plenty favourites as well, from Lindt to Cailler, to Milka and beyond!

Easter Extras

• Another fun event to check out is the Basel OsterTango, 17 – 21 April. Hosted by the Basel Tango School, the event brings everyone together for a colourful weekend of music and dance, with a Tango Concert and Show, AfterHour Tango, a special film presentation, DJs, and more. Stop by their website for tickets and more information: www.tangobasel.ch.

• In Switzerland, Easter Monday is a public holiday as well as Easter Sunday. It’s another time when families and friends get together for more festivities, or just to relax. Just remember that some stores may be closed, but in a pinch you can find almost everything you need at the SBB train station shopping center.

• The forecast for Easter Sunday is mostly cloudy and 20º (68º F). (But mostly cloudy could be called partly sunny, right? : )

What are some of your favourite Easter traditions?

Happy Easter from Basel Community!

Frohe Ostern

Erin Go Basel

St. Patrick's DayWherever you come from, wherever you roam, it’s good to be Irish in Basel! Home to a large Irish community, you can be sure that Basel’s bustling pubs will be celebrating this Paddy’s Day with flair, cheer, and of course, Guinness. Here are a couple authentic Irish pubs to check out this year…

Mr. Pickwick Pub Basel

With several locations around Switzerland, Mr. Pickwick is a popular place for catching a football match, playing a round of darts, or simply getting together with friends in a cozy setting that’s always packed! Stop by their website for more info at pickwick.ch.
Steinenvorstadt 13 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 281 86 87

Paddy Reilly’s Irish Pub

It’s Paddy’s Day at Paddy’s! Besides its friendly atmosphere, delicious food, and of course great beer, Paddy’s is known for local live music and DJs on the weekend. Join the party this Monday and don’t forget to try the Steak & Guinness Pie (or Cottage Pie!). You can see some photos from St. Patrick’s Day past on their website: paddys.ch/basel.
Steinentorstrasse 45 • 4051 Basel, Switzerland
Tel: +41 61 281 33 36

No matter what your nationality, it’s the one day of the year when everyone’s Irish. So grab some friends and don’t forget to wear green! This year, follow your rainbow to the Rhein and find your luck the Swiss way — in Basel.

For each petal on the shamrock

This brings a wish your way

Good health, good luck, and happiness

For today and every day.

Feature Photo | vermegrigio | Flickr.com
St Patrick’s Day Seal | Half Moon Bay Art Glass

The Basler Fasnacht

Basler Fasnacht
10 March | 04.00 – 13 March | 04.00

Carnival in Basel is an experience like no other. It’s extravagant, it’s loud, it’s crowded, it’s a great big deliciously cacophonous mess. The biggest carnival festival in Switzerland, the Basler Fasnacht is an historic and fun event that you must experience at least once in your lifetime.

Morgästraich

Merz and Qadaffi as Punch & Judy © nicestalan
Merz and Qadaffi as Punch & Judy © nicestalan
It all starts with Morgästraich, that moment at 4:00 in the morning when, after what feels like the entire city has gathered downtown, the lights go out and the Cliquen (groups who are part of the festival) start their first march, all at the same time. Hundreds of Fasnächtler, or Fasnacht-participants, dressed in elaborate costumes compose the Cliquen, playing their tunes with flutes and drums, marching in a massive parade of colours and lighted lanterns, with bright handcrafted carts and displays usually saturated with political satire. (Try to attend this with a Swiss friend so they can explain the jokes!) And the Fasnächtler carry on as the morning dawns, taking breaks to warm up now and then at a local bar before heading out again.

After the Morgästraich, join some friends to try some Mehlsuppe, flour soup (a Fasnahct tradition), at one of the local restaurants or pubs. You can also try other local specialties Zwiebelkuchen, a pie made of onions and bacon, or chäschüechli, a cheese quiche. Many restaurants are open for the entirety of the drey scheenschte Dääg…

Die drey scheenschte Dääg

Waggi Confetti ©nicestalan // Flickr.com
Waggi Confetti ©nicestalan // Flickr.com
The carnival itself lasts for 72 hours straight, running until Thursday morning at 4:00 a.m. These three days, called the drei schöoenschte Dääg or the ‘three most beautiful days,’ are a non-stop celebration, with special parades on Monday and Wednesday called Cortège as well as other parades all throughout the city. Another fun part of Fasnacht is the Guggemusik — brass bands who play everything from classic folk to modern pop songs. The Gugge participate at Cortège on Monday and Wednesday, but Tuesday night is dedicated especially to the Guggemusik, with concerts spread out through the centre of the city, at Barfüsserplatz, Marktplatz, and Claraplatz. Buy a klöpfer and Feldschlösschen lager at the food stand and enjoy a fun evening of lively music.

Tuesday is also the day for the Children and Family Fasnacht, where children can take part in the marches with their parents.

Monday through Wednesday evening, you can catch ‘Schnitzelbänke,’ when performers sing satirical songs about current events and personalities. More info.

Throwing Räppli

You’ll enjoy dozens and dozens of floats during the parades, and you might get thrown an orange or other treat from one of the wagons. But you might also get stuffed with Räppli — colourful paper confetti. (And once it gets in your house or flat, you’ll be able to remember Fasnacht all year long, as you’ll continue to find it during your housekeeping for the rest of the year!) The best way to ward off confetti-throwers is to buy a Fasnacht Blaggedde, a badge or pin worn during the festival, which you can buy in the weeks leading up to Fasnacht. Yet even with the pin, there’s a fairly good chance that you’ll still get showered in Räppli at some point during the festival!

Fasnacht Treats

Besides Mehlsuppe, Chäschüechli, and sausages and beer, there are several treats you can look forward to for Fasnacht. Try Faschtewaihe, a white, pretzel-shaped bread topped with cumin seeds found at bakeries like Sutter and local supermarkets. For a sweet treat, head to your favourite confiserie, Migros, or Coop for some Fasnachtschüechli—delicious deep-fried pastry topped with powdered sugar.

There’s much to love about Fasnacht! What’s your favourite part of the festival? Tell us in the comments!

For more info, visit Fasnachts Comité at www.fasnachts-comite.ch.

BScene Club Festival 2014

Basel Clubs
28 February – 1 March 2014
Friday & Saturday Nights

Music lovers, it’s Basel BScene Club Festival weekend! The biggest club festival in northwestern Switzerland, Basel BScene has been running since 1996.

This Friday and Saturday you can catch any of the 65 musical acts of all styles performing at 11 different stages around Basel. Buy 1- or 2-Day Passes and be a part of all the sights and sounds that make up today’s thriving local music scene.

Check out their website for lineup, tickets, locations, and more: www.bscene.ch.

Photo by www.basel.com

Sweet Valentine

It’s Valentine’s Day! Hectic week and no time to plan? No stress! There’s plenty to do in this lovely, romantic city by the river…

Chocolate, of course.

Nothing says love like chocolate! And what better place to find it than in Switzerland. Bakeries, patisseries, confiseries…there’s so much to choose from. Sprüngli, Bachmann, Beschle, Läderach, and Schiesser are all right here. These are the ‘jewelers’ of chocolatiering, where every truffle is a work of art. Stop by to see their Valentine’s specials! You can find them online here:

Bachmann: confiserie-bachmann.ch
Beschle: www.beschle.ch
Läderach: laederach.com
Schiesser: confiserie-schiesser.ch
Sprüngli: spruengli.ch • They have two locations in Basel—Gütterstrasse 115 and Steinenberg 14.

Dinner is served.

If you find Basel’s restaurants booked up, no worries. One of the most romantic ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day is with a traditional fondue dinner at home. Here is a fun list of “Fon-dos” and “Fon-Don’ts” from world-renowned cheesemakers Emmi of Switzerland:

“Fon-Do”

Chocolate Fondue1) Variety is the spice of life! Be creative and serve a wide variety of dippables. Crusty bread, fresh fruit and veggies, boiled shrimp, marshmallows and cookies are all wonderful in fondue. Just be sure everything is prepared ahead in bite-size pieces.

2) Mix it up! Fondue is the perfect appetizer, main course or dessert. If you want to start with chocolate and end with cheese, it’s up to you!

3) Swiss Kiss! It is tradition when eating fondue, to kiss the person to your right if you drop your bread in the cheese. (It’s ok to do it on purpose…)

“Fon-Don’t”

1) Don’t forget to stir. As the night keeps moving, be sure to keep your fondue moving. Stir it up to so your cheese or chocolate fondue remains smooth.

2) Don’t double dip. Every fork- or skewer-full should contain a new, unbitten morsel. (If a piece falls in the fondue, see fon-do tip #3 above!)

3) Don’t hide any surprises. While fondue offers a lot of interactive eating enjoyment, it is not a good place to stash an engagement ring or other surprise gifts for your sweetie.

Ready-made fondue is available at Migros and Coop (along with fresh flower bouquets and wine or champagne), or you can visit a specialty cheese shop. Two other stores to check out are Manor at Schifflände and Globus in Marktplatz—specialty department stores with everything you need to create something special at home, complete with table settings, candles, and Valentine’s cards.

Away from you…

I-Heart-UOne of the unique and often challenging things about Basel is that for many it is not a permanent home — it is a stopping place for travellers, for business people and backpackers and adventurers. Many expats in Basel are on temporary work assignments, or are away from loved ones during the holidays. What do you do if you can’t be with that special someone on Valentine’s Day?

The good news is that in today’s high-tech world, it’s hard to stay disconnected. If you have apps like FaceTime on your smart phone, your sweetheart will love seeing the Rhein River and Markplatz, and all the sights and sounds around Basel. You could make it a memorable Valentine’s Day with a virtual tour of the city, or a romantic Skype dinner at home. Technology now lets us be more creative than ever before.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? We’d love to hear about it!

Image by David Sunnock // CreationSwap.com

Christmas Memories & Magic

Do you remember your first Christmas in Basel?

What stands out the most? Strolling through the stalls of the Christmas Market for the first time? Hot raclette on a cold December night? The smell of spicy mulled wine, a favourite ornament that still hangs on your tree, your first taste of Swiss gingerbread, the white lights across the Rhein?

Whatever your most memorable part of the season, it’s all starting this weekend with the grand opening of Basler Weihnachtsmarkt 2013…

The Basel Christmas Market, the largest in Switzerland, runs from 28 November to 23 December, kicking off with the annual lighting ceremony at Münsterplatz. Governing President of Basel-Stadt Dr. Guy Morin will begin the ceremony, which will feature the Musik Akademie Basel and Theater Basel’s Extra-Chor. Enjoy live Christmas music while you warm up with free refreshments!

The Christmas Market extends over Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz with more than 100 stands and stalls—handmade crafts, ornaments, scarves, specialty soaps, toys, and more, along with Christmas treats from Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars) to chocolate truffles to sausages and chäschüechli (cheese pie).

A few favourites of the Christmas season are the annual Stadtlauf on 30 November, a run through Basel’s festive streets past Christmas lights and decorated shop windows; the Basel Wish Book at Town Hall, where guests from all over the world can record their wishes and hopes for the coming year; and the Basel Theater Advent Calendar, when every night during advent, the theater’s foyer opens up for a literary or musical surprise.

Barfüsserplatz ChristmasOther events to look forward to are the Snow White ballet, Santa Clauses on Harleys, the Christmas Tattoo, a carol sing, a tower night climb at the Münster, and lots more. Also, don’t forget to stop by the Spielzeug Welten Museum for this year’s window display and a special Christmas exhibition—Christmas, Sweet and Crunchy, where you can try holiday cakes and cookies from all over the world.

With a perfect balance of tradition and innovation, there’s always a chance to revisit your best-loved memories or try something completely new, whether you’ve been in Basel for one season or twenty.

Stop by www.basel.com for more info and an online brochure.

Barfüsserplatz photo by basel.com

Running // Basel Marathon

Kick off the fall with the Basel Marathon this weekend—
Sunday, 22 September!

IWB is hosting their fourth annual Basel Marathon on Sunday, called Run to the Beat—a sports event that combines the power of music with a passion for athletics.

In past years, music has been played by live bands at different points on the route, but this time, runners are invited to join in on their own Run to the Beat radio station on iPhones and personal radios. Now everyone can enjoy their Sunday morning just the way they like it—with peace and quiet or a dynamic original soundtrack.

Also new to the marathon this year is a brand new 10k run through the city center. Other courses include the Marathon, Half Marathon, Team-Lauf (Team Run) and Youth-Lauf. It all begins on Freie Strasse and is for everyone, beginner to seasoned runner. The day is complete with refreshments along the way, gifts from sponsors, and an Award Ceremony.

Sign up to run, or stop by to cheer someone on! Find out all the information here.

Photo by www.mynextrun.com

Summer Never Ends…

Work and school are already back into the swing of things, but it’s not too late for one last gorgeous summer night. Here’s one more way to celebrate the season with the Spätsommerfest this weekend—the last weekend of the summer!

What: Spätsommerfest 2013
When: Friday, 13 September • 17 – 22 HR
Where: CO13 Werkstätten • Colmarerstrasse 13 • 4055 Basel

There aren’t very many (if any) other places in the world that can put together an evening like this. But CO13 (Colmarerstrasse 13) is itself a very unique place. Their workshops specialize in bikes, fashion, house maintenance, office services, and gourmet food. Where else would you find all that in one spot?

At Spätsommerfest 2013, you can check out the latest bike models and be the first to see the new Winter Collection 2013 at their boutique, with a special summer fest discount for guests. Come hungry for American Barbecue at the CO13 Bistro.

And of course the night wouldn’t be complete without music. The evening’s musical guest is world-class singer/songwriter Roli Frei and the Soulful Desert. Roli Frei is a legend in Basel, his music spanning a variety of styles from blues, to pop, to soul and gospel—all with strong, moving melodies and heartfelt lyrics.

CO 13Stop by www.co13.ch for more info and to find out all about who they are and what they do.