Viking Rhine River Cruise: Basel, Switzerland

Before Christmas, mom and dad offered to take Bryn and I along for a Viking River Cruise on the Rhine River.  Of course we were both very keen and excited to go!  I'll admit I was hesitant about the idea of cruising, but I'll save my thoughts on that for another post.

The Rhine River begins in the Swiss Alps and runs 764 miles through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, France, Germany and The Netherlands, where it runs into the North Sea in Rotterdam.  During the course of our cruise we came to realize what a busy waterway it is as we were rarely, if ever, the only vessel in sight on the river.

We boarded our ship, the Viking Alruna, on a Saturday morning in Basel, Switzerland, the river's farthest navigable point, according to our ships information.

The Rhine River flows really fast!  There were people hanging out all along the river bank, reading, BBQing or just hanging out.  Apparently you can float on the river in Basel!  We didn't see anyone doing it, so maybe it was a bit early in the season, but I'd be game if when I make it back!

After a pleasantly uneventful series of flights with a brief layover in Paris, we arrived in Basil.  We were met by Viking staff at the airport and driven on a coach bus to the ship.  The whole process was stupidly easy, so Viking gets big props for that! Since our stateroom (doesn't that sound fancy?!) wasn't ready yet, we had some lunch in the ship's restaurant before taking a walk into the city.  

We did a typical Liz and Bryn random tour - that basically means getting completely lost on purpose in order to see as much as possible!

There were Saturday markets going on in the city center.  They had such nice looking fruits and vegetables, fresh bread and meat, and the most beautiful flowers for sale.  Why can't Auburn and Opelika have markets like that?!?

We loved walking down the "high street" and seeing all the shops we haven't seen since living in the was very natsukashii, as they would say in Japanese!

After a while, we realized how exhausted we were from our day of travel, and we knew mom and dad's flight should have arrived and they would be on the ship, so we went back to find them, and were able to check into our stateroom.  

(That's dad walking back to the ship while we waited on the top deck.)

Later that afternoon, Bryn and mom stayed on the ship, and dad and I went back out for another walk (I have trouble sitting still when I travel - I don't want to waste a single minute!) and got caught in an afternoon thunderstorm - go figure we had decided to leave our umbrellas and rain jackets on the ship!  We made it back, completely drenched, and had just enough time to get cleaned up and dried off before dinner and setting sail for the night.

Basel was a very pretty city with a wonderful mix of old and new, historical and modern.  In our one afternoon at port, we only had time to explore part of the city and never even made it across the river to see what the other bank had to offer.  For me, that just means I will have to make my way back there one day!

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