Enjoyable brush with Swiss masterpieces
Swiss art and culture educated critique initially appeared as likely as taking Basel sporting son Roger Federer to a tie-break.
Or Liverpool and Seville football fans touring the city's Fondation Beyeler hours ahead of their EUFA cup final clash.
Yet the latter did indeed occur with lovers of the beautiful game supporting beautiful artifacts at Switzerland's most popular art museum.
And blank canvas of knowledge actually allowed me to better savour the same as an inexperienced, if enthusiastic, gallery-goer whose cuckoo clock and choc clichéd misconceptions of the country were well and truly laid to rest.
This novice clearly saw the light, brighter than any deeply disturbing Bacon brushstroke. The father of figurative is showcased among over 200 works spanning Picasso to van Gogh, Cézanne to Monet, while reflecting nature's symmetry outside.
Central site Kunstmuseum's Sculpture on the Move 1946-2016 across three buildings - themselves architecturally appealing, latest of which only opened in April - houses quality chronological collection from Beuys to Warhol.
Rhine-side Museum Tinguely stands as lasting, loving testament to home-grown iron sculptor Jean's animated mechanics. Imagine Chitty Chitty Bang Bang's eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts on acid. And you're not even close.
Strikingly redesigned Musée d’Ethnographie de Genève is currently immersed in Amazonia: The Shaman and the Mind of the Forest exhibition focusing on forest families and folklore through thousands of ethnic objects shrouded in mind-blowing mystique. Simply MEG-nificent.
La Nuit des Bains offers the opportunity for nocturnal foray into heady world of close-knit contemporary objet d'art installations, many refreshingly "sponsored" by Peroni.
Monster attraction meanwhile doesn't do justice to Martin Bodmer Foundation's newly unveiled Frankenstein, Creation of Darkness homage to bicentennial of Mary Shelley ultimate gothic horror imagining during a teen visit to frigid, foreboding Lake Geneva.
The lake, fittingly later home to Scary Monsters frock 'n' roll visionary David Bowie as well as inspiration for Deep Purple rock riff classic Smoke On the Water, today boasts family-friendly beach and fountain firing 500 litres of Jet d'Eau 140 metres high every second.
Switzerland saved its best landscape until last as first class second deck rail trip afforded sylvan vista of waterside chocolate box chalets beneath snow-capped mountain peaks, leaving this enlightened visitor unable to remain neutral about a rich land's combined catalogued and natural beauty.
Where to stay: Superior accommodation can be enjoyed at palatial Swissôtel Le Plaza Basel, among most contemporary venues in the area and seamlessly connected to Congress Center, and Geneva Hotel N’vY Arty, care-free fusion of elegance and energy effortlessly embracing boho chic.
Where to eat: Fine art meets fine dining in the form of Basel's Restaurant Atelier's inspiringly international "menu workshop" while culinary and cultural meeting point Restaurant Volkshaus brasserie and classic bar boasts quaint courtyard and pavement café. Les 5 Portes – duly accessed by five doors – is fashionable Pâquis port of call, successfully embracing gamut of all moods and moments, while Café Galley serves as success on a plate Quartier Junction watering hole nestled between Rhône and Arve waterways. And you can't help but sing praises of Birdie artisan coffee quaffing recette du succès.
How to travel: Swiss International Air Lines' 8,564 staff operate from Zurich and Geneva to 102 destinations in 46 countries, carrying an annual 16.3 million-plus passengers aboard its 94-strong fleet - UK summer timetable sees more than 170 weekly flights from Manchester, Birmingham, Heathrow, London City, Edinburgh and Dublin from Â£55, Â£71 all-inclusive, one way. Switzerland Travel System's Transfer Ticket covers round-trip between airport or border and destination for Â£99 2nd class & Â£160 1st class while Swiss Pass, Â£242 second class and Â£387 first class, adds up to over a week's unlimited rail, boat and tram trips as well as free entry to further 450 museums.
Contact facts: Press trip organisers Switzerland Tourism, Basel Tourism, Geneva Tourism, Swiss International Air Lines, Swiss Travel System
Switzerland Tourismwww.MySwitzerland.com00800 [email protected]@stc.co.uk
Swiss International Air Lineswww.swiss.com0845 6010956
Swiss Travel Systemwww.swisstravelsystem.co.uk00800 10020030