We are not going to get up again at 3am to watch the Carnival said Vicky last year. But here were are a year later with our friends the Lewins heading off to the local bus stop at 3.30am to catch the start of Basel's Fasnacht carnival. It is the middle of the night and probably over a thousand locals are dressed up in spooky costumes with pipes and drums, lights on their heads and big lit up lanterns waiting with their 'cliques' or bands for all the lights in the city centre to be turned off.
After a couple of hours exploring all the excitement in the dark we head back home for the rest of our night's sleep. Then we are up again and back into town for the "Cortege" - when the floats and Gugge brass bands march around the town. I had forgotten that the trams are diverted but we make it eventually and have a fab view of cliques marching in both directions.
It's amazing the work that goes into this every year with the costumes, floats and musicians. Some of the cliques are very topical with political digs at local politics or Donald Trump and climate change. Others look rather familiar from last year but why not preserve the old favorites? And how can so many of the local population play brass instruments, drums and pipes? "They must teach the pipes in the primary school" muses Rick. Click on the crazy apes below for a link to a photo gallery of the event.