I travelled to Basel one warmish Saturday morning, with two Canadian friends. Avery was living in Geneva, and Christine in Gex – a tiny little French village next door to the equally small town where I was living. Google Divonne les Baines if you want to see what it looks like. Our trip was going to be one of colour, magic and excitement. We were on our way to the Holi Festival of Colour. I was so excited that there was one in a country so close to where I was living and I had high, high hopes.
Unfortunately, we are all quite unlucky and the trip didn’t go quite according to plan. Firstly, it took us an hour to park in the city of Basel. Top tip: find a car park on your satellite navigation if you end up driving there; it really isn’t as easy to drive around as it sounds. I certainly knew the one way roads like the back of my hand by the time we found a side street. We then went to meet our couch surfing host, who invited us into his hedonistic world for the day. His apartment was similar to a commune. We were given an allocated space of floor with three cushions and a few blankets (beautifully stitched I might add), sharing the room with a couple. They struck lucky with a regular double bed.
Our host gave us plenty of food, drinks and walked us all the way to our colour festival. I found an avocado in my jacket and decided to peel it as a snack for the walk. My hands were already coloured in green by the time we got there. With green hands, I took a while on deciding an appropriate coloured powder to compliment them. In the end, I chose purple. The others chose yellow and green. Together we represented the Barney gang.
I wish this post was accompanied with lots of photos of our cheesy grinning faces covered in blends of exotic colours, looking like we were in heaven on earth. Although these photos exist somewhere, none of us are quite sure where they ended up. This is because, Christine’s (the snapper) phone got stolen at the festival and despite our efforts, we never retrieved it. The hazy photo from my film camera is the only memory we have – of our crisp white t shirts ready and waiting to be christened in colour.
Instead, I will describe the rest of our stay that goes with the photos I have chosen to represent this post. The next day, after a good two hours of scrubbing off the remains of our paint, we took a trip to the lake in Basel to sit by it and watch the world go around. Our hosts came along too, accompanied by many bottles of prosecco and ice cream. It was maybe not the most touristic trip, but we saw the real Basel, spending our Sunday like many of the locals.
It was a short and sweet weekend away and if you are planning on going around Europe anytime soon, I definitely recommend Basel in the summer if you want to just go away and chill.