Intrepidation. My first trip to Europe and taking a river cruise from Basel, Switzerland to Ansterdam on the Emerald Dawn with Emerald Waterways. Now, I am a simple type when it comes to traveling and hotels. I dont do 5 star hotels, I carry in my own luggage and get myself to my room and back when it is time to leave. I truly felt pampered as we stayed in the Steinenschanze Stadthotel in Basel. The taxi unloaded our luggage from the car and carried it to the front of the hotel, where the hotel staff brought it in. The hotel was very accommodating as we checked in earlier than our time. One of the rooms was ready and they quickly found another room for the other party in our group. They took the luggage upstairs and had it there before we arrived at the door to our room with another staff member who was there to show us how everything worked in the room. Basel is a very friendly city that tries to accommodate everyone language wise. Many people speak English enough to help English speakers. The main language seems to be German with some speaking French and even an occasional Spanish speaker was found. We were very surprised to find one young woman at a restaurant who spoke English like it was her first language, but it wasnt.
Getting around Basel is really easy. Trams run very regularly all over the city and outlying areas, as well as buses. The hotel staff gave us maps, suggestions of some of the things going on in the city and also directed us where we wanted to go. The neatest thing was, we each got a 30 day pass for unlimited use of the Bahnhof (trams and buses) for use while we were staying there. Not only did we use them to where we wanted to, we also rode them some just to sight see by going out to the end of the line and back.
At checkout again, the staff were so understanding and friendly. They called to find out which dock our river cruise was leaving from, then called a taxi large enough for four of us and our luggage. If you are going to Basel, be sure to check out or check into the Steinenschanze Stadthotel.
I am actually excited now to perhaps go visit my brother and sister-in law. They teach internationally and will be teaching in Basel starting in the fall. I know they will love it in Basel. They will love the countryside, the city, the transportation system. It will be perfect for them.
I have some really bad habits-habits like playing certain games for hours on end on Facebook, when I am not working. I do this despite having so many other things that I could be doing. Playing those games is my way of chilling out, and I do a LOT of chilling out. Anyway, I finally got the “bug” to do something besides those games. When we took the cruise to Alaska, I had bought a panel and four corner squares from a quilting store in Skagway with a wolf theme for my son. Now that it sat for over a year, I finally decided to get back to it. I went and bought the coordinating fabrics, a new sewing machine-since mine from 36 years ago finally died, made the design on paper and got to work. I just didn’t want you to think that I totally forgot about the blog for no reason. So here it is, all pieced together. I have since put the layers together and starting to do the actual quilting.
Yes, it is Fee Free Days for all National Parks this weekend, April 18-19 in honor of the start of National Park Week. For the locals, this means it doesn’t cost you anything to get into Red Rock National Conservation Area and Lake Mead National Recreation Area. If you wish to venture out a little further, Grand Canyon National Park has free entrance. Anywhere in our National Park areas, it costs you nothing to get in this weekend. I know I want to be there.
During my 21 years of living in Nevada, I have only been over to Pahrump twice before. The first time was when we first moved here and my husband had to try out his four-wheel drive vehicle, so we went up over Wheeler Peak. We saw some of the wild horses up at the top and dropped down through the state camping area on the other side then headed into town. I don’t remember there being that much in Pahrump at that time, but there was enough to grab a bite before we headed back to Las Vegas. My second trip was related to education and involved visiting one of the schools in Pahrump. I remember there was a Terrible Herbst in town on that trip. So today, I went over to the Second Annual Pahrump Balloon Festival. The town has really grown up. It now has Albertsons, Walmart, Sonic, Denny’s and a whole bunch of other restaurants.
So apparently, balloon festivals are held in many places in Nevada that I wasn’t aware of. Reno, Las Vegas, Mesquite and now Pahrump each have one. There were only about 20 balloons today in Pahrump, but there was plenty of excitement. People volunteered to help with holding the lines on the balloons while they were being inflated by highly powerful fans that amazingly blew them up much faster than I thought could happen. There were lots of people out there with their cameras, like me snapping pictures. People were available to form the chase teams to go pick up the balloons when they landed and I learned that the balloonists have a tradition of having Mimosas once the balloons are picked up.
Pahrump Balloon Festival
There was other excitement too, in the form of a drone flying around and quite a few motorized gliders. There were so many people in attendance, that Denny’s had quite the time keeping up with all of the customers who came in for breakfast, but all of the employees were justly apologetic and as pleasant as could be. One place that I still haven’t gone to out in Pahrump is the winery. It has been there for years, and it has been recommended by several friends. But after getting up at 4 am to be out there in time for the ascension, and knowing I had a 90 minute drive back, I wasn’t about to drink any wine this morning. Depending where you are in Las Vegas, the drive to Pahrump is somewhere between 60 to 90 minutes.
Another friend and I are both trying to do more with photography. One of the things I love to take pictures of is snowy weather and after the snow falls. Mount Charleston is only a 30 minute drive to the top. We can definitely see the snow on the mountain when it does snow. Getting up there to take pictures right after the snow is often challenging, since I can only do it on weekends and she can only do it on certain varied days. One day we both could go and decided to do just that. It was supposed to be snowing on the mountain on a Sunday morning, so off we went hoping for the best, armed with our cameras, snow chains, water and blankets just in case.
We stopped everywhere we saw a potential picture, including our high desert plants. Now mind you, everytime it does snow, the snow disappears over the next several days-at least in the accessible places. The very top of the mountain where we can’t get to stays white and can be seen down in the valley. Well, it was snowing and it was cold.
What is this anyway?
So after taking some pictures and checking out Cathedral Rock Group Picnic Area, we headed in for some hot chocolate at the Mount Charleston Lodge. Mount Charleston Lodge has a limited number of cabins for use year round. Sitting near the fire and looking across the way with the snowflakes coming down was quite calming, as we planned the next shots we would take. Out the door we went to take more shots at that location, then headed partway down the hill-taking some more pics as we went down.
Halfway down the mountain, you can find The Resort on Mount Charleston which is larger and is a nice stopping point in either direction. The Resort on Mount Charleston has more rooms available in a lodge type hotel. Both on on Kyle Canyon Road. What is brand new up the mountain is a US Forest Service Visitor Center. It is so new, it isn’t even open yet. But checking it out, we saw that there is plenty of parking and even “bus” parking. What on earth do they have in mind for this visitor center. I can’t wait to see what they do with this.
New Visitor Center
The other thing that is new to both Kyle and Lee Canyons is a round about on both of them. A round about? Really? Drivers in Las Vegas are not known for handling round abouts very well. We do have our share, particularly up in Summerlin. This could be downright entertaining. Oh well. We headed across the connecting road to Lee Canyon and tried to check out the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort. We couldn’t get up there where more snow was located. Turns out there is paid parking. So we turned around and headed on toward Floyd Lamb Park for our next session of snapping photos. Did we see the snow that we really wanted to see? No-it was there on Monday when we were both stuck at our jobs. Did we have some fun? Yes-definitely!