Monday, July 22, 2013

Basel Scrapbook!

I finished the first section of my Europe scrapbook: Basel, Switzerland. Basel was our first stop, and we loved every minute of it. It was my mom's favorite because of its quaint streets and peaceful feel. The history came alive for us, and we enjoyed many hours walking down the hundreds of years old streets.
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My mom bought me the Travel Stack of paper for the scrapbook. It was on sale at Jo Ann's for $7. The pages are so cool. I like this one with the airplane graphic at the bottom.


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These were our first impressions of Basel. The airport and train stations were dead silent. (The Swiss are very quiet people, apparently.) We stayed at Hotel Rochat, not far from the beautiful Munster.



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One of the first things we did was to check out the cool flea market outside our hotel. There was a lot of cool old stuff there, and it was nice just to walk around and experience the Swiss culture up close.
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After we walked around for a bit, we got hungry for lunch. We stopped at this great bakery, ordered two things that we still cannot really identified, and enjoyed sharing an outdoor table with a little old lady who chattered away with us. It was really nice. For this page's layout, I chose to cut out our meals. I think this gave it a nice touch.
 
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The city of Basel has five walks set up that guide you around the historical part of the city. Each walk is named after a famous person from Basel. We did the Hans Holbein walk first that took us to the Rathaus (town hall), across the river to Klein Basel on a boat only powered by the tide, and to the paper museum.
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The museums in Europe never ceased to amaze us. This was our first taste of a European museum, and it did not disappoint. We learned all about paper making, printing, and the history of the written language. I even got to make my own sheet of paper which I used as the background for this page.

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Prices in Switzerland are outrageous (I'm talking $50 for a lunch of two appetizers.), so we decided to pick up some cheese at the market and then run to the grocery store to pick up some food for dinner. We ended up going to a historical specialty grocery store. It wasn't very cheap, but was very cool. The bread and cheese in all of Europe was to die for. We had some of each for every meal.

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After dinner was the Thomas Plattar walk. It was based mainly around the area surrounding our hotel. The church above was right outside our hotel window. Every morning we enjoyed breakfast to the sound of ringing bells. For this page and many others I used a collage layout. I cropped and fitted pages in a way that they would fit together on the page. It is a fairly easy way to maximize the amount of pictures your page will hold.

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The next morning was a Sunday. My mom and I thought that we should not be church skipping heathens, so we headed over to the Munster for service. The past Catholic church is now Lutheran. Even though we did not understand a word of it, it was nice to see how similarly believers show their love to God all over the world. We were sad to see that the congregation was dying out. In ten years there will be no one going to this almost 1000 year old church.

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The Erasmus walk helped us to learn more about the history of the Munster. We explored the cloister and took a better look inside of the church after service. We also saw the white and blue houses, two mansions that were owned by wealthy brothers. My mom was just about ready to pack her bags and move into the blue house.

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Lunch was another expensive one even though I just ordered a soup and side salad, and mom got an appetizer. She wanted to try the tarte flambee, but I wanted to wait until we got to Strasbourg. (It is the specialty there.) I was not a fan of the Basel version.

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The Burckhardt walk took us to a couple of churches, a automated fountain, and the toy museum. This museum brings out everyone's inner child with four floors of elaborately decorated dollhouses and scenes (including a full Italian village), automated animals, and teddy bears. We loved it.

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We headed across the river again to the Kleines Klingenthal museum that houses all the sculptures that have fallen off of the Munster. We learned about the history of the Munster.

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We had a wonderful ravioli dinner and got to experience some culture first hand. Outside of the University a group of people gathered to ballroom dance each night, and we got to see the winning Swiss marching band march through the streets.

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After dinner was the Paraclesus walk. It took us to even more churches (Basel is full of unused old churches.) and the old prison. One thing we found in Europe is that they love their stairs. Literally entire streets (like the one above) were just made up of stairs. We had to walk up about 2000 to get to our hotel each night. I did not mind, but mom said she was too old for that kind of physical effort.
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Monday was a very eventful day. We took a tram, bus, and walked 9 miles (which our concierge told us was only a 10 minute walk) along the highway to get to the ancient Roman ruins of Augusta Raurica.

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Augusta Raurica was spread out over five miles, and had a temple, theater, amphitheater, museum, historic house, animal park, bath houses, an old town hall, and much more. We enjoyed exploring and learning about the people who lived in Agust 2000 years ago. I used the map of Augusta Raurica as the background for these two pages and then stuck the pictures around it.

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I think every travel scrapbook needs a page or two at least of journaling. I used this one to tell of our day from picnicking where gladiators fought to seeing cherry trees growing next to the ruins of an ancient temple.

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We were hungry after Augusta Raurica, and asked our concierge for a good Swiss restaurant recommendation. He recommended Zum Harmonie. My mom got rosti (like hashbrowns) and a pork roast. I got the Swiss salad. My "salad" was 12 chopped up raw hot dogs, a pound of the best Swiss cheese I have ever had, a jar of sliced pickles, and two pieces of lettuce. I hate hot dogs and pickles, but I tried my best to eat as much as I could. (I promised myself I would be an adventurous eater on this trip.) I ate about 30 pieces of hot dog, and barely made a dent in the meal. I did manage to finish off all that delicious cheese, though. :)

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Our last morning in Basel was a bittersweet one. We were sad to leave, but were looking forward to experiencing Freiburg. You'll have to stay tuned to hear about all of the fun adventures we had there.

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These turtle pancakes were a big hit. Stirring in the additional tablespoon of chocolate caramel sauce into the batter really enhances the flavor. The toasted pecans and extra chocolate caramel sauce on top really puts it over the edge.

Turtle Pancakes
serves 1 (4 pancakes)
1 egg
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp chocolate caramel sauce*
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
2 tbsp chopped toasted pecans
2 tbsp melted chocolate caramel sauce*
 
Whisk together the buttermilk, egg, oil, and vanilla. Mix the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Swirl in the 1 tablespoon of chocolate caramel sauce. Preheat a nonstick pancake pan to medium heat. Scoop out 3 tablespoons of batter at a time onto the pan. Cook until the top bubbles and dries. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Serve immediately topped with chopped pecans and melted chocolate caramel.
 
*If you don’t have chocolate caramel, either buy some from Pampered Chef, or mix part chocolate sauce with part caramel sauce.


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