Thursday 30th July
We had only a morning to wander the relatively quiet and ordered streets of Basel in Switzerland after the tourist chaos, blistering sun and sheer noise of Florence. The contrast was quite remarkable. Virtually no tourists, a cool 23 degrees, a much more homogeneous and “older” society, (vast numbers of European tourists are under 40) and the sort of architecture that makes you feel like you have landed in Disneyland with everything manicured, everything sweet, chocolate and cherries everywhere and everything carefully painted and finished.
Our soul goal was to visit the Basel Cathedral and honour Erasmus, whose tomb is found there. Erasmus has always been a hero of mine and his “In Praise of Folly” should be compulsory reading for all Christians. His achievement of editing and having published an accurate copy of the Greek New Testament kick started Luther and Tyndale and in a way made the Reformation possible by providing authority and trust in the text of God’s Word written. After the cathedral will visit we wandered the streets of Basel and had a carefully negotiated lunch, as Switzerland will only deal in Swiss Francs or Euro notes, not coins so we had to judge our Euro costs to the closet Euro note!
We then travelled the short distance by train from Basel to Strasbourg through flat well cropped fields, picked up a hire car, a Renault Capture in Strasbourg and spent far too much time working out where to park it cheaply as our hotel has no serious car park.