Visiting 4 countries in a day!

It was late in the day on my last evening in the wonderful city of Basel in Northern Switzerland. As I sat there tucking into a particularly expensive sandwich and happy in the fact that I had seen and done everything I wanted to during this visit I wondered what I could do with my last couple of hours before heading over the airport. Glancing over the tram map I noticed two small towns, one just across the border into Germany and the other over the river in France were accessible…Now here’s a cool opportunity to be in 4 countries in 1 day I thought…and off I went! Here’s my little international adventure!

NOTE:

This was just a bit of travel/ geography fun in my last couple of hours in Basel, I have visited each country “properly” before!

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Now don’t get me wrong, I am not just all about “Ticking Off” countries, I have visited all these 4 countries “Properly” before.

Firstly my original trip was over to Switzerland and I visited Basel and Lucerne. Secondly I visited Paris back in 2007 on an amazing and pretty much life changing trip which opened my mind up to travel. I then in summer 2009 I spent some time in Hamburg with my cousin and did some work experience over there. Then last but not least I have lived in good old England for 27 years, so I guess I’ve kind of seen a little bit of it!

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So anyway, as a traveller and self confessed wanderlusting addict I love everything about travel, I love different cultures and languages, I love experiencing different places and speaking to different types of people.

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Borders and boundaries are fascinating things, sometimes when we just fly from one location to another we just get picked up from one culture and dropped into another and it can feel a little bit disconnected.

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Walking across a border yourself and seeing the signs change, listening to the language shift and feeling that transition you do feel much more connected.

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Being in Basel I was in a unique location, the city sits on a tri-border with France and Germany. Even the airport itself is technically entirely in France and serves the three international cities of Basel, Mulhouse and Freiburg. The tram network does also goes right up to the border in France and across it into Germany and with the fact that you get FREE travel on public transport when staying in Basel it seemed like a cool and BUDGET friendly way to explore the wider area around Basel and visit 4 countries in one day!

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It’s not often that many of us get to do something like this, even with the amount of travel that we do! Most of it is being in the right place at the right time to do something cool like this!! So here goes:

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Switzerland

Today I woke up in Switzerland on the last day of an amazing 4 day trip to this beautiful country. I had explored the wonderfully detailed and characterful city of Basel for the past few days and spent the majority of the day making sure I had every angle covered!

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I revisited a few other favourite spots such as the Rathaus and wandered by the picturesque river once again. I also had a day in the mountain town of Lucerne the previous day.

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Germany

One of the big motivators in going this was to step foot in the region of Germany that my ancestors are from; Baden Württemberg seeing as I was so close. The town I crossed the border into is Weil am Rhein, which happens to be the most south Westernly town in Germany!

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Outside the Rathaus of Weil am Rhein
In all honesty there isn’t much to see in this town and on a Sunday afternoon nothing at all was open, but it was interesting to wander around and see part of the region my family come from. I do plan on returning to Baden Württemberg and some of the more interesting areas such as Stuttgart.

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Crossing over the border from Switzerland to Germany!

France

 To head over to France I headed back towards the border with Switzerland but whilst still in Germany crossed over the “Dreiländerbrücke”, or “La passerelle des Trois Pays”…The Three Countries Bridge into the village of Huningue in Alsace.

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Of course I knew I was walking over from Germany to France but I expected there to be some buffer area of language and culture but literally as soon as I got just over half way across the bridge I could hear those romantic French tones over a loud speaker! It was quite surreal to literally just step across a line and into a completely new culture, but really made this little adventure feel worth while!

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I also seemed to stumble across a local festival with live bands and local food cooking in the streets. There was life and energy everywhere, quite the opposite to Weil am Rhein! I decided to stay a little longer and take in the atmosphere whilst wandering around the typically Alsatian streets. Again, of course I would love to head back to this region and in particular visit Strasbourg.

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England

Well, it was that time to head back home to not so sunny England and my hometown of Manchester! It was great however to see the other Roaming Renegade and more importantly our pug Count Dooku! After a 2 hour delay (on a flight only supposed to take 1.5hrs) it was late when I arrived home but there it was, 4 countries in one day!

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How many countries have you been in one day and do you enjoy crossing borders by foot instead of flying?

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Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.