En Plein Air by the Rhine River in Basel Switzerland

The Rhine is a working river, moving cargo and people along its length and from shore to shore. She knows her place in that respect. Yet, what passion this slow moving river awakens during a long and warm spring morning.

plein air painting by the Rhine river Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 102

Even having just arrived the evening before I know her charms intuitively. The Basel Minster (Cathedral) is a prominent feature in the Basel landscape. Its beauty from afar or up close is worthy of admiration.

RHINE RIVER BASEL SWITZERLAND 8 x 10 inch on gessobord acrylic painting sketch.

Rhine River Basel Switzerland 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_04_18 067

Art prints available HERE.

While I was painting the riverside restaurants filled with lunch patrons. Several stopped to visit as they arrived or left. One was a young girl about eight years old. She didn’t speak English but her grandmother did and she translated for us so that we could talk. The girl reminded me so much of myself at the same age with her curiosity about painting.

A Basel Switzerland morning  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 015

In much of Basel, single family dwellings are few. These small four or five-story apartment buildings line the streets with frequent small bar/coffee and other shops below. This economy of space without the North American highrise allows for trees to reach tall in squares and along sidewalks. The results are a relaxed pleasant neighbourhood though rippling with human noises.

FROM THE BALCONY OF AN APARTMENT IN BASEL SWITZERLAND 8 x 8 inch acrylic painting sketch on canvas board.

from the balcony of an apartment in Basel Switzerland 8 x 8 acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_04_18 065

Art prints available HERE.

Friday nights are definitely the end of the week with businesses opening later on Saturday morning and grocery and many other stores closed on Sunday. Locals walk, run, roller blade and cycle all the time. Frequently whole families can be seen out together along the paths beside the river. Work, home and play are integrated. Here are a couple of a skate park ramps in a small space at the end of a street.

skate park Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 022

This is just before where we are going to cross over one of the major bridges, the Wettsteinbrücke and look over the Rhine again. On a nice evening the whole east side of the river is filled with people having picnics and BBQs and drinking wine and beer. Everyone is there from visitors like ourselves to parents with new born babies, lots of university student and elderly women and men. There are people still in their business clothes sitting next to those who appear to have been beside the river since the first sun touched the east bank. Our picnic evening was close to the number one highlight during our time in Basel. Not to be missed if you are ever in town on a fine evening.

looking over the Rhine Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 032

It is morning now. Sunday morning to be exact and it seems as good a day as any to take a closer look at the Basel Minster which has a fascinating history. From a slightly different angle this time.

Rhine river by the Basel Minster in Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 027

If you look really closely done on the river bank near the right side of the photograph you can see the cable boat that ferries passengers back and forth across the river. However, we are going to continue across the bridge and walk through the “old town” and into the courtyard of the church.

Basel Minster courtyard and windows to the Rhine river by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 074

I could stand here for hours watching the light change and seeing how it impacts the few through the far windows. But. Sigh. We must be off through the archway that leads to the lookout.

freshly washed steps by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 077

Around a bend or three and a street or two and we can glimpse the oldest remaining bridge across the Rhine. It is called the Mittlere Brücke or middle bridge. Basel’s first bridge across the River Rhine was opened here in the year 1226. Electric trams were introduced to Basel in the year 1895. These proved to be too heavy for the old bridge dating from the 13th century, so it was replaced by a new structure in 1905.

through branches is Mittlere Brücke the oldest bridge Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 101

That little peaked roof structure on the bridge at the bottom is a copy of the original chapel or Käppelijoch on the bridge where in the Middle Ages convicted criminals were sentenced to death. Also, in this time period women who were accused of infidelity or infanticide were bound and thrown into the Rhine. If they were swept to the banks of the river still alive, then this was taken as proof of their innocence, and they were set free.

Reference: Virtual Basel

Today, what I found were the padlocks of lovers sealing their commitment.

ove locks on Basel Bridge Switserland  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 123

Don’t get caught putting one of these on iron gate to the chapel though. I am told there is a fine.


What would your padlock say if I was to find it on this iron gate in Basel Switzerland?


I could tell you so much more about our time in Basel – like when I saw the Five Bathers (1885/1887) by Cezanne in the Kunstmuseum Basel

But some things must be left to our imagination or possibly for another post. Though this isn’t too likely since the train has moved on and we are now well settled into life in Venice or Venezia.


All the best of Easter Weekend to you!


© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

6 thoughts on “En Plein Air by the Rhine River in Basel Switzerland

    • Thanks Claire and welcome to Creative Potager. I see you have traveled a bit on a tight budget as well. Ours is by definition a modest one but by no means luxurious. Still, there is enough for comfortable accommodations using Airbnb and the occasional meal out. Mostly we do activities that cost us little to nothing. This is normal for us so we don’t mind in the least. The Global 2 month train pass with Eurail is a gem. I would definitely do this trip this way again.

  1. When I travel with my partner we are always looking at structures – Your painting and photographs help me visualize the people in the space and using the boats and bridges – how the life unfolds. Nice story telling. This seems to be the way I will be traveling in my life – through other’s words and pictures…and oh so many books !

    • I have done most of my traveling in books Patricia and it definitely has some advantages… you are much more likely to be able to find a bathroom when needed and your feet are not nearly as sore from rolling over the cobblestones. But we miss the smells of places when we only read about them. I find this the greatest disadvantage because smells are such strong triggers.

  2. A veritable feast for the eye and then some! An artist of your caliber roving around Venice translates to unprecedented physical beauty and this long and ravishing scroll of photos leaves one breathless and immersed from a distance. Your painting of the gondola is a masterpiece for one, but the way rain is incorporated atmospherically is simply stunning.

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