I felt her hand on my arm before I saw her.
I had wandered down Ochsengasse barely a block off one of Basel’s main streets. Approaching Webergasse, I apparently and accidentally stumbled into the city’s red light district. More like a corner than an actual district. An estimated 800 prostitutes legally ply their craft in this Swiss town along the Rhine. Prostitution has been legal in Basel since 1942. I gave a polite, yet demonstrative, “No. Thank you.” and made my exit back toward Claraplatz.
I was in Basel to shoot headshots at Cloud Foundry Summit. After the conference, I took some time to explore this corner of Europe where the borders of France, Germany and Switzerland meet. I flâneured like Hemingway at the buvettes on the banks of the Rhine. I stopped for lunch, okay, Prosecco, on the Münsterplatz as kids scootered past and tourists craned their necks to the steeple of Basel Minster, which was built between 1019 and 1500. I watched members of an older generation drink wine and toss bocce balls beneath the changing leaves.
And I made a new friend. She sat at my cafe table on the edge of Münsterplatz as I sipped my Prosecco. She ordered a tea. I told the waiter to put it on my bill. I asked her name in my best German. She told me it was Draga. I then asked where she lived. She said Basel. This is why I learn basic phrases when I travel. It doesn’t take much to make a connection and travel like a traveler instead of a tourist.
These are a few of the images I captured during my brief stay. Click one of the images to see the uncropped versions.