Or: the Trials and Tribulations of an Uptown Girl with a Boyfriend from Old Europe

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Location: Basel, Switzerland

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Call of the Wild

I need drugs. Badly. Allergy season has turned me into a snot-nosed, red-eyed wreck. People can hear me coming from at least 100 meters away: even Swissy Pie, whose ears function about as well as Helen Keller's when he's on his bicycle, kept looking over in amazement today whenever I shot off a volley of sneezes. By the time we got home from our ride, I looked like Lord Voldemort. Or Darth Maul. (Hey, Harry Potter was on TV yesterday, and tonight we got Star Wars, so right now mediocre fantasy movies come easily to mind.)

It's been a long time since I've suffered from hayfever. When I was young, I had to stay indoors during recess because of it. But I thought I'd outgrown my allergies. In New York, only the cherry blossoms in Central Park triggered it, and it was easy enough to avoid the area behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the two weeks they were flowering. I guess there just wasn't enough greenery in that city to set off my symptoms. Ah, how I miss living in a concrete jungle!

But I refuse to let my wayward immune system keep me indoors - not when there are places like Badenweiler to be discovered.

We came upon the town entirely by accident. On Saturday, we'd taken a friend of mine from college up to Blauen to do a bit of light hiking. Though it was a little hazy and quite windy, we managed to get in a good walk, complete with views.

Afterward, Swissy Pie was still feeling adventurous, so he descended via a different route, which took us by Badenweiler. Nestled between the mountains of the Black Forest and the vineyards of Markgräflerland, the town is beautiful, with a picturesque Neo-Romanesque church, painstakingly landscaped greens, elegant outdoors restaurants and cafes, and a number of posh-looking spas with saunas, mudbaths, hot springs, and other treatments. My friend seemed quite interested in the sauna - he kept pointing out that it only cost 10 euros - but as it was rather late, we had to content ourselves with exploring Burg Baden, a ruined castle overlooking the town.

First built in the 1100s, the castle is part of the beautiful Kurpark (which also showcases subtropical plants, gardens, as well as an old tea pavilion, the Belvedere). Though Swissy Pie translated the signs that explained the ruin's history, the views from its walls distracted me too much for the information to stick. All I can recall is that Elizabeth of Burgundy once lived here, so the land must have exchanged hands at least a couple of times. I suppose it's worth fighting for!

Since Badenweiler is only about 30 km from Basel, we'll certainly be back to finish exploring the rest of the town, and to give the hot springs a try. And with any luck, I won't spend half of the next visit blowing my nose...

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Blogger Ms Mac said...

The same thing happened to me. I hadn't had an attack of Hayfever since the early nineties but in 2005, it all started again. It's a pretty rare occurrence and I find usually only when it's windy outside. Can I recommend asking your doc for Xyzal? I take one and half an hour later all is well with the world. Good luck, sneezing like a madwoman can zap you of all your energy!

May 14, 2007 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger myriam said...

ohmy - you do such a great job discovering the area. even i as a swiss have no idea about that baden-place. hay-fever alarm here, too. i dont leave the house without rhinopront N. oh i look horrible! i am actually off to NYC and hope there are no cherry-blossom trees blooming (as much as i love them - my nose goes crazy!!) good luck. hatschi!

May 14, 2007 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger naechstehaltestelle said...

What a great looking castle, and so close! Too bad about your allergies though. I hope you start to feel better. For the longest time I didn't even know what allergies were as I had developed them later in life. I just thought I always had a bad cold!

May 15, 2007 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger jenjen said...

Gorgeous photographs. Sounds like you are having a great time aside from your allergies. Hope you feel better : )

May 15, 2007 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Un-Swiss Miss said...

Ms Mac - Wind seems to make it worse, but right now I'm suffering, rain or shine. Thanks for the Xyzal tip! I shall try to pronounce it for the doctor.

Myriam - Well, Badelweiler's in Germany, so it's a good excuse not to know it. Plus, I think there are only about 300 permanent residents or so. Have fun in NYC!

Naechstehaltestelle - Bummer, allergies got you at last. Did it happen after you moved here?

JenJen - Thanks for the well wishes!

May 15, 2007 at 5:17 PM  
Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Oh I am in heaven! i used to have this problem until I started taking natural vitamins containing only fruits, veggies and natural sugars. If I don't take them, I get alergies within a few hrs.. Maybe it's a placebo effect, but I'd like to think not so much..

Here its psyeudoeufran(sp)...

Hope your hay fever clears up!!!

I just love your trip... I want to come and visit. ;-)

May 17, 2007 at 2:28 AM  
Anonymous jessica said...

Ooh, what a fun day trip. i'm really impressed with your getting out and about whenever possible. you're going to have no problem here. when do you start work?

May 17, 2007 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger naechstehaltestelle said...

The allergies attacked me once I moved to Denver -- I have no idea why. Maybe a combo of the altitude, dry climate, and pollution. My allergies aren't bad here, actually. Maybe it'll get worse later.

May 21, 2007 at 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Switzerland / Europe SIM Cards for US Travelers by Rebelfone.

April 12, 2010 at 11:14 AM  

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