The flight to Basel Airport (BSL) took about 1:20′ with a 50-seat CRJ-200LR and was pretty neat and uneventful. There's not a lot of room in a jet that size, but it was still much better than last time I travelled by air, which was in a small chartered piston-engine airplane barely with room for the seven of us and without a pressurized cabin. It was OK, but that flight to Mainz and back took quite a while, over two hours each way, and it was impossible to move around or change position in the very tight quarters of the cabin.
Interestingly BSL is a multihomed airport with exits to both France and Switzerland at checkout. We choose Switzerland, bus 50 to the city and then tram 2 to Messeplatz and then I had to call Flemming and get directions for the hotel, which was nearby, we just couldn't see it.
Later most of the EuroBSDcon attendees from our hotel went out for dinner, but it fragmented quickly and we ended up being just Line, Søren, Flemming and me. We found a nice little restaurant with a waiter who could only speak Italian and German with Italian accent. We learned that “steinpilz” is a kind of mushrooms and managed to get something to eat and all was well.
Basel is an old city with narrow steep streets, sometimes with stairs, and buildings dating back to the early 14th century. Even the christmas decoration of the streets and buildings was agreeable to me, which is quite something, I normally hate everything related to christmas before the middle of December. I took far more pictures of the city and architecture than the conference, 200+ geeks geeking out together isn't that photogenic.
Some observations about Basel and Switzerland:
- Swiss cuisine is not very good.
- It is harder finding someone who speaks English in Switzerland than in France.
- The tram system in Basel works really well. I like trams.
- Street signs point to “Messeplatz”, “Marktplatz”, a lot of other “platze” and “France”. It's that close to the border.
- There's a lot of pharmacies for some reason.
- There's also a lot of chocolate shops.
- There's som unusually specialized specialty shops like a rubber stamp shop and a knife shop. The knife shop had a quite interesting selection.
We didn't want to bother with public transportation when we checked out from the hotel, and a cab was much faster. The security check was a little more strict in BSL than in Copenhagen, they asked me to open my bag so they could look through it, as it was full of my laptop and camera and other stuff made out of metal which was apparently hard to identify on their scanner.
The flight home was as uneventful as commercial flights are. I was lucky and got a window seat, but the clouds was pretty bland most of the way and the window very small.
We just made it onto a train from the airport and I were home just past 14:00, 4½ hours after we left the hotel in Basel. Not too bad.
I'm really tired now and wish I could take a day off tomorrow, but there's too much going on at work now to do that.