Basel is a city which you probably feel you know something about but may well never have been to before. Perhaps that will change as we now have a relationship with a Guild of Wine producers, the EE Zunft zu Rebleuten (literally The Honourable Guild of Vine-Men) and I spent an interesting weekend there exploring the City and attending their annual dinner – well feast, as it started at 4pm and lasted till midnight.
Much food and wine of course, but also speeches, the induction of new members, solemn remembrance of deceased ones, and some very jolly pipes and drums. I extended the hand of friendship in my best high German which seemed to go down well although they all speak a dialect of such impenetrability that 48 hours of exposure failed to unlock any real comprehension.
Liveryman Edi Etter, the Master (of 13 years standing no less) was a perfect host and sat me next to the Master Gardener who spoke perfect English and turned out to know many Liverymen and Lord Mayors from many years connection.
Basel is a very attractive ancient city, discoverable in a day, home of the global pharma industry with the Rhine flowing through the middle, I found that the secret of its position is that the bridge was the last one before the North Sea in the Netherlands. Hence the banking and trading – especially in spices – which is another story! They are keen to have exchange visits – so that’s another agenda item for the car club perhaps, together with my visit to a watch-maker in Geneva. We shall see.