Both ends of the stick…

Last night I got to see both ends of the Swiss lifestyle spectrum within a ten minute walk.

I met up with Eva for a celebratory dinner and drink at Lily’s on the Claraplatz in Kleine Basel (small Basel, across the Rhein from my work place). We were toasting our good fortune at finding an apartment and also the end of Eva’s first working week here. The place was jammed with people (8pm on a Friday evening) but we waited and got seated. Its a noodle bar and you sit on benches across from each other perilously close to the strangers on either side of you. We happened to be sitting beside a guy from Limerick and a girl from Dublin I think. Go figure.

Anyhow, the meal was good, the beer was very welcome and the atmosphere was busy but cosy. We finished up and Eva headed back to Simones on her borrowed bike. I decided to walk home past a fancy hotel on the banks of the Rhein. Les Trois Rois (The three Kings) hotel is very swanky and they usually have plenty of nice cars parked outside. Generally there’s a token Porsche Carrera S, maybe a Lotus Elise and once I even spied an Aston Martin DB9 (cue drooling, weak knees etc.). Last night however there was something very special. This was parked outside:

Ladies and gents let me introduce the Ferrari Enzo (apologies for the blurred photos, I was trembling!).
You don’t “buy” an Enzo, Ferrari produced 399 of them and you were chosen to buy one. They drafted a list of 399 people who were “allowed” to own one (the Pope got one, but I don’t think it was this one!). So to see this in the flesh, so to speak, was a real treat.

Everyone knows Switzerland is a wealthy country. Basel I think ranks below Geneva and Zurich on the rich list but you still see the fair share of sports cars and designer goodies. However, after regaining the power in my knees I walked up the hill and round the corner. This is where the womens hospital is situated and across the street is a methadone clinic. They were distributing when I was walking past and suddenly from the wealth, pomp and ceremony of Les Trois Rois, you’re brought back down to earth with a thump. Makes you think…

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