I visited both those fairs this year to be able to find out, and write about it, which one is better. The OLMA, held when harvest is over, or Herbstmesse when the King is in town. King? Read King and Basel and you know what I mean. Their Roger Federer. I wonder if they will change the date of their fair once he’s retired.
I found out that they are different enough not be compared by each other. Most remarkable difference was that the dutch guy selling pot plants was missing in Basel after he was seen at the OLMA and the Knabenschiessen in Zurich… no that’s not the point but I was looking for this guy in Basel.
An other thing that makes comparing a little bit tricky, I was on a Friday in St. Gallen and on a Monday in Basel. So while at one place the locals where preparing for a night out with a beer in the hand all afternoon and evening long, in Basel you could meet your locals which would be visiting the fair for a quick lunch. And it seems as that every local in Basel or St. Gallen would try to make it to their fair a least once a year. Lots of folk on the streets, I wonder what it looks like when it’s raining but for that we possibly will have to wait until next year. In Basel you could escape into a hall at the Messeplatz where you still could shoot with airguns, eat and have a look at all those bulbs. While everybody in St. Gallen tries to end their day at the fair in the food halls, those halls are usually to crowded to hold additional folks if it would start to rain.
What would you expect at a fair in Switzerland? Chocolate, seen in both cities but later more on food in Basel. Watches, too expensive for a normal fair but your maybe looking for a Jacuzzi. Cows, smelled and afterwards also seen in St. Gallen but compeletly missing in Basel.
Food in St. Gallen, normal fair food in Switzerland, expect that you don’t get asked if you want mustard with your Bratwurst… and don’t try to ask! Food in Basel seemed to be too much. Everywhere sausages, raclettes and sweets. I had a burger disappointment instead.
And I finally made it to the bar of a famous hotel in town, more about it another time, maybe after my second visit.