I really, really dislike getting up without at least 7.5 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, I “had to” do it this Monday morning to witness the Morgestraich in Basel.

At exactly 4h00 in the morning, all the city lights go out and bands of piccolo and drums players start parading through the city with lanterns. To get an idea of what this “looks and sounds like”, watch the first 2 minutes of this video. Of course, the effect is much stronger when you’re actually there.

What I really enjoyed was the fact that the parade did not follow any simple, non-intersecting path as all the other parades I’ve seen in my life so far. They would “randomly” turn left or right at some point and walk straight through the crowd. Of course, all in a carefully choreographed and planned manner. [This is Switzerland we are talking about here.]

During the day (and after more sleep) there were more “standard” parades of also more typical marching bands. Still, their paths often intersected which made the whole thing more interesting.

I also have to revise my image of the peace-loving Swiss: there was a confetti war going on all afternoon!

An important thing to know (which I fortunately did know): you better buy a sponsor’s badge before the event if you don’t want to get “stuffed”, i.e., if you don’t want your orifices to be filled with uni-colored paper shavings. A similar thing would happen to people who come up too close to a float and try to get some of the candy that the waggis on the floats a offering.

You can see some pictures I took during the event here.

I have to admit that the whole event would have probably been only half as enjoyable, had it not been for our perfect hospitality club host Claudia. (The person in front is the other culinary expert.)

I also learned a couple of new Swiss-German words:

Schnitzelbank. (If you can’t read German, see the second meaning in the English Wikipedia.)