Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Birthday Bafflement in Basel 1

No 3 son is not a great sender of Birthday Cards, preferring  phone call and something less conventional. This year, for fbb's special day, he send one of his Basel picture puzzles, namely a shot of some transport infrastructure with the challenge for fbb to identify the location.

This time there were three pictures of the same location. The first showed two trams on a narrow city street.
Note the person adorned with frizzly hair and some kind of shawl or poncho in puce and standing with their back to camera.

A second view at the same location ...
... with another tram, maybe the same green tram (?).

But picture No 3 was more interesting.
This showed an articulated bus pulling up at the tram stop. This experience is not common, even in Basel. Usually trams run on "reserved" track and have separate stops from those used by buses. So a city centre location is predicated. (fbb's first ever use of the word "predicated"!!??)

Can the electronic signs help?
Possibly but it is not completely clear. The route numbers look like:-

6, 8, 14, 15, 17, 23 (or 33?) and 34 with arrivals in 2, 6 and 7 minutes. Does the symbol in the "time" column against the top two on the list mean something like "tram/bus is here"? If so it would, correctly, match the third picture in the set, showing tram and bus at the same stop.

Destination blinds show a BLT tram on route 7 ...
... a BVB tram on route 14 ...
... both in the first picture. Then in picture 2 we can just spot the side destination number, namely 8.
This all matches the electronic screen. So fbb, his curiosity aroused, is looking for a city centre tram stop served by up to six tram routes and at least two bus services.

On-street clues ate less helpful.  There is a MacDonalds sign plus "M"s, but no familiar yellow and red logo ...
... and there is a shop called Gryffebegg ...
... with visible labels for BACKER (baker in Swiss German?), KONDITOR (confectioner), CAFE (no idea at all!) and  SUTTER , the latter repeated on the shop front with the word over the top of a squiggly shape.

Motivated by its decades-long commitment to uncompromising quality, freshness and taste, Sutter Begg still bakes everything fresh every day. Its 26 branches all over Basel stock regional specialities such as original Basler Läckerlitorte and a range of tasty snacks for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea – always served with a smile.

Basler Läckerlitorte?
Looks scrummy!

The Basler Läckerli (also Leckerli or Läggerli, lecker meaning "delicious" in German and -li being a diminutive suffix) is a traditional hard spice biscuit originating from Basel itself.
It is made of honey, hazelnuts, almonds, candied peel, and Kirsch. The flat baked dough is, when still hot, cut into rectangular pieces. It is then topped with a sugar glaze.

Basler Läckerli were originally created by local spice merchants over 700 years ago and is available year-round.

Add "torte" and the traditional "biscuit" becomes a cake? And on the "Sutter Begg" web pages is a picture of the shop near the stop ...
... but with NO ADDRESS! Boo!

Hey ho! It's back to the Basel tram and bus diagram and Google Streetview.
It is beginning to look as if No 3 son's Birthday puzzle picture challenge is much easier than the lad thought - but then he is not so obsessed with public transport as his old man.

Only two stops are served by the compliment of buses and trams shown on the electronic sign (plus bus route 31, not passing when the pictures were taken).

With Streetview on-screen, we can start at Schifflände, cross the Mittlere Brücke and plod electronically onwards.
Schifflände is more complex than the route diagram might suggest. The tram and bus stop is on Marktgasse some distance away from the "Ship Landing".
Trams then turn sharp right (River Rhein on the left) ...
... then sharp left to cross the bridge.
Trams and buses then proceed straight on into Griefengasse to stop at the Rheingasse tram and bus stop (upper right in the aerial view above), named after a road which crosses at right angles.
And there is our stop! Below, a Streetview looking back towards the river.
And, turning through 180 degrees, there is MacDonalds (complete with subdued "M" logo) with the three orange Ms ...
... adorning a shop further along.
This is a side entrance to the huge Migros supermarket whose building is on the next street to the left, with its main entrance ahead and turn left on Untere Rebgasse.
So thanks to No 3 son for a stimulating challenge and a very enjoyable birthday "present"; much more fun than opening a pair of sox or a tie.

Back in November 2017, fbb posed a question to his readers. What was the train on the Corsodyl advert? Corsodyl is a group of products designed to keep your mouth healthy, in particular to mend bleeding gums.

The protagonist is travelling on a suburban train and screens on-board plus the name of the arrival station all predict dental disaster and halitosis. The young lady alights and, parked in the neighbouring platform, is a train in Corsodyl livery ...
... which she joins and, we presume, obtains an instant cure.

fbb asked if anyone knew what type the train was and where the advert was filmed. There was one positive reply.

Correspondent Neil identified the train as, "a Polish PESA DART, a cheapo Stadler FLIRT clone."

On 30 October 2013 Pesa announced a new design of high-speed electric EMU train called the Pesa Dart for PKP Intercity service. The first version of the Pesa Dart will have a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph), but the train is designed to be capable of 200 km/h (124 mph).
Use some clever confuser trickery to change blue to red and paste in the Corsodyl logo and at least part of the answer is covered. All we need to know now is where it was filmed (if filmed it was) ...
... and in what suburban train did the young lady first confronts her dental fears.
Why the interest? The adverts are currently being re-run providing another chance to speculate.

 Next Basel blog : Wednesday 7th March 


  1. This is the good news that Bournemouth bus users have been waiting for Go South Coast to run the R4/R5 from Kinson to Bouremouth Hospital via East & West Howe from Sunday, 8, April, the day after Yellow Buses withdraws from this route as previously commented on this blog site.

  2. Andrew Kleissner6 March 2018 at 14:57

    In Budapest a lot of the trams run in segregated lanes. Buses do not use these as far as I know - unless they are "tram replacement services", when they pretend to be real trams!

  3. On †he other hand, in Naples segregated tram lines are also used by buses - and the occasional car too, but this is Italy, where the rules of thr road appear to just be 'advisory' !

  4. The local train appears to be Warsaw suburban operator SKM - one of these: