Easter Weekend. We don’t do much celebration (other than enjoy the chocolate sales afterwards), and distant family made sure that we weren’t invited to any ham and scalloped potato dinners, so we did what we do best: we went on adventures!
The first Adventure was on Friday. Dan had the day off from work so I suggested that we take a tram to the end of the line and then walk around. We got a lot more than we bargained for! We ended up going to the village of Dornach, 10km from Basel and the home of 6,000 people. The weather didn’t hold much promise but we made the best of it. We really didn’t know where we were going, but when we got off of the tram we found a local map and decided to shoot for the 4 hour hike to the town of Liestal.
We found the wanderweg sign that pointed to “Liestal” and made our way along the village streets, admiring the unique architecture that we saw along the way. They have a very interesting style of door that I haven’t seen anywhere else. I would have loved to have taken more photos, but the lighting and cloud cover were all wrong.
And from there we went up the hill. We were surprised to find some tank traps (they’re more common than I would have thought) and then a little further up, a castle ruin. We poked around it for a bit, but there wasn’t much to see and the clouds were getting thick.
Restaurant at the top of the hill. Off to the left is an amazing view – on a different day.
Now we were at the top – or so I thought. We chose the path to Gempen (pop. 722), which according to the map in Dornach, was mid-way along on our route. The trail meandered into the forest, and then the snow, and then further uphill. The light rain had turned into a light snow and everything was beautiful. It is at this point that my camera battery died. You’ll just have to believe me when I say that it was a lovely rest of the day.
Looking back at the restaurant.
A farm in the middle of nowhere.
A barn entirely covered with solar panels.
The last photo: our foray into the woods on an unmarked path, thinking “This should get us where we want to go!”
From there on, we made our way to the village of Büren. By then I was tired, it was getting late and a break was on the menu. We found an open restaurant (not at all likely, it being Good Friday) and had something to drink and a small pastry. It was unanimous that we take the bus the rest of the way to Liestal and the train back to Basel. It was a long day (over 14km of hiking), but we did manage to find the perfect valley to return to once the fruit trees start to bloom!
Monday – another day off for Dan and the weather was supposed to be much better than Friday’s and we made plans to take advantage of it. First on the list were the waterfalls of the Rhein! But once we figured out the distance to get to them we realized that we should have gotten started much earlier in the day. Instead, we went to Adventure #2 – Rheinfelden and Kaiseraugst.
These are both towns within a 15 minute train ride of Basel and each promised something interesting. Rheinfelden? I wasn’t sure, but it was on the Rhein and therefore should be pretty. Kaiseraugst? It was the site of a Roman town in 300 A.D. Off we went!
Welcome to Rheinfelden! It was a surprisingly intact and historic little town. We didn’t do much more than walk from the train station to the bridge that crosses over into Germany, but we enjoyed what we saw.
Once we reached the river we turned west and followed the trails to Kaiseraugst, the next town over. The wanderweg signs indicated that it would take us just over an hour for the trek.
It was an enjoyable hour, with views across the river, birdsong in the trees and friendly locals.
Once we entered Kaiseraugst we set about finding the ancient ruins that brought us here. There is quite a lot of history to this place and amazing that after the Romans left in 500 A.D., the people who moved into the area abandoned the Roman townsite for the next 1,500 years, instead choosing to live in the fortress along the river.
Not exactly “historically accurate”
The excavation site was extensive and we hiked through farmers’ fields and pastures before we saw the last (on our list) of the ruins. All-in-all, it was amazing that this place was once a thriving town 1,500 years ago.
It was nice to finally get out and enjoy some sunshine, even if the wind was cold. It won’t be long now before the trees are budding and the hillsides are green!