Thursday, August 29, 2013

World's Longest International Tram Ride, Basel, Switzerland

A while back a Swiss news website ran a story about Basel's number 10 tram. Traversing two countries (Switzerland, France) and three Swiss cantons (cantons are similar to states in the USA), the number 10 tram stretches over 25.9 kilometers (more than 15 miles)--making it the longest international tram ride in the world. The story mentioned the tram leaving the city and passing through lush countryside along with skirting past multiple castles. Whoa, skirting past multiple castles! that sure got my attention. My bicycle and I had a talk and decided it would be fun to follow along the tram's route.
 This is the number 10 tram heading out from Basel's central train station.
Only a few miles out of Basel and we are in Binningen (population 14,000), birthplace of tennis pro Roger Federer and home to Binningen Castle. Built in the 13th century, the castle is now a hotel and the grounds a public park.
 A couple miles down the road from Binningen and I'm in Bottmingen (population 6,000). A block from the tram line stands Bottmingen Castle. What makes this 13th century castle unusual is the moat surrounding it---very few castles in Switzerland have moats.
 The castle is now a restaurant.

 This is the backside of Bottmingen Castle.
The tram leaves Switzerland and passes through the French village of Leymen. The tiny village has a boulangerie/pastry shop and of course it gets checked out. I like the holder of the sign but, the pastries are awful.
Past the cornfields of Leymen and way up on the ridge stands the ruins of Chateau de Landskron or Landskron Castle. It has been there since 1297. Over the years it has been a fortress and state prison for political prisoners and for the mentally ill. In the 1970's the former owners installed a colony of monkeys into the ruins.  Now, a preservation group owns it. I love castles but, I'm not cycling all the way up there just to see ruins.
 I do however, make a couple steep climbs to pass through several valleys.
This is in Laufen (population 5,000). The Birs river runs through the town. Why is Laufen famous? It's home to Ricola, the cough drop and breath mints company.

1 comment:

  1. Wow what does it cost to ride the tram? Nice place to visit?