|Arrived in Basel yesterday afternoon. Got to our hotel around 3 and went exploring. The weather was around 32 - 34 degrees, but no rain or snow. We walked across the bridge into the old town which was beautifully decorated. We walked around and ran into the Xmas market. We discovered Gluwein (the Swiss version of hot mulled wine) which is delicious when it is so cold outside. It comes in a mug that you pay for, but can return and get your money back or keep and pay for refills only. We of course kept them for refilling. We found a charming little restaurant in town and ordered Raclette - delicious! We went back to the hotel and went to sleep. Had a great night sleep and headed out around 10:30. As we walked through the lobby we discovered that the people on the "pre tour" we're staying at our hotel and being bussed to the ship at 11:30. We were able to hook into that and get a free ride to the boat. Straight to our room which is really cute. Looks like a living room and we both wondered where the bedroom was. Apparently this is like an RV and the seats make into the bed. The ship is really nice and completely decorated for Xmas. We went to lunch - a sandwich,, salad, ribs, pasta buffet with a choice of four or five different desserts including profiteroles and chocolate mousse. We then took the shuttle from the boat and went into town to another Xmas market that we had not yet discovered. The markets are really busy but lovely (even prettier at night with all of the lights). Lots and lots of booths - scarves, hats, candles, jewelry, ornaments, wood items, childrens' stuff, etc. In addition are lots of food booths selling cheese, meat and lots of sweets. You can also eat really well there. We were able to sample potato pancakes (with either applesauce with garlic or creamy chili sauce - hot). They were delicious as were the deep fried breaded Apple rings dipped in cinnamon and sugar . They also had the bread rolls that they had in Prague as well as sausages, crepes, fondue, raclette, etc. Food is Devine! There was also a complete children's section and what was so cool was that they were all hands on. The kids were doing black smithing, candle making, wood carving and wood burning, gingerbread cookies, ornaments, etc. Couldn't possibly happen in US - too many potential lawsuits. Had a lot of fun walking around then headed back to the ship. Welcome cocktail in an hour, then dinner and if we're still awake, music in the lounge. We didn't get there, but apparently there is spot 10 minutes from the ship where Switzerland, Germany and France all intersect so you can go to three countries in the space of a minute.