Strange Lights Over Basel; Rail Traffic Interrupted; New Tenant For Old Hotel Basel

News For 16 January 2024

If you were awake early Sunday morning, you'd have been treated to a purple glow over the skyline and would have been forgiven for thinking that the famed "northern lights" had reached all the way down to central Europe.  Many residents of Basel reported the light show to the police and meteorological services of Switzerland, even providing photos, hoping to have witnessed something unique.  It turns out, however, that the lights were not the result of some natural phenomenon.  Rather, FC Basel uses grow lights on its turf during the winter months to keep the grass healthy.  Throughout Europe, other football stadiums also use the turf, notably those that host Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.


Friday morning commute times on Switzerland's railway service between Basel and Olten were longer than usual due to technical problems along the line.  Several InterCity, and regionally scheduled trains were delayed or cancelled leaving commuters to use replacement bus services.  Travellers headed beyond Olten to places like Milan, Lugano or other remote stations had to divert to Zürich first.  SBB reports that all the technical difficulties were resolved by 8:30 am the same day, and service has been interruption-free since.


Hotel Basel, at the corner of Münzgasse in the Spalenberg neighborhood of Basel, closed its doors for good at the end of September last year.  The owner of the property announced yesterday that a new tenant for the property has been found.  Limehome, also a hotel operator, has signed a 20 year lease for the space.  The concept for the new hotel is that all of the check-in and reception-related services have been virtualized to reduce costs.  Limehome has nearly 250 locations throughout Europe that target both business and leisure travellers. Opening of the new hotel is expected in the 2nd quarter of 2024.