Category Archives: Switzerland

WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 17

17 Aug 08, Sunday

This farm is wonderful. Silvia, Alfred, and company have been a joy to fellowship with each day. Instead of requiring our every energy, they are grateful for our help. They have three cats, one of which has recently given birth to three. The kittens are two red and one red, black & white. The Hautikon farmhousetwo red are both males. There is a habit of calling red cats Ginger, and of course they hav e one red aptly named.

Yesterday we met Alfred, Sr. and although he doesn’t speak English he invited Philip and me to attend Sunday service with him. Yesterday Philip and he rode bikes to his late wife’s gravesite, near the church to place flowers. So, Philip, at least, had some idea where we were going.

After a quick breakfast, we rode in Alfred Sr’s car to his church. The Kappel (church) was grand in European style, however, cold. We were blessed by the music of an alpine choir of yodelers as well as a baptism of a little girl a mere few months old named Jessica.

After service we went on a carriage ride with Silvia and Alfred’s daughter, Regina’s boyfriend, while he trained a young woman to drive horses. It was a long, cool, bumpy ride through the countryside and wood. We bounced over the stone path a a gallop at one time with the cold breeze stinging our faces. Nevertheless, it was a wonderfully exhilerating adventure.

Tonight is the last night of the Zurich film fest. Because Silvia and Alfred’s son is the sound engineer for the production, he has secured five seats for us near the lake. I understand they do this once each year in August for two-weeks. Tonight’s movie is to be a comedy. Silvia tells me the screen will be on top of the lake and at the start will raise over the water into position for the showing. That in itself should be pretty spectacular. The movie title is Son of Rambow.

What a fun and funny movie! Son of Rambow! It was cold on the lake, but we totally enjoyed the movie. Even in the cold they gave every attender a choice of ice cream, bar or dish. We sat in bleachers near the production booth. Watching the screen come up over the water and then sitting and seeing the movie was an experience I’ll never forget!

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WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 16

15 Aug 08

We are now settled into our third and final farm. But before I go further I have to tell you about the last two or rather one and a-half days.

Xarah and I instantly recognized each other. It was like old familar friends meeting after a long absence. We had lunch next to the shop we met and then went on to tour the old-town area of Zürich.

Later in the day after shopping on the main shopping area, which I refused to pay ‘Rodeo Drive’ prices, we stopped for a quick drink. We waited for then minutes and after no service ended up at a trendy spot. We sat there for what seemed like an eternity as well and finally a new couple came to the table next to us. The waiter went to them instead of us, so Xarah asked them, in German, to order for us. We all had a laugh, but the waiter got the message.

After our order was taken we again waited another eternity. I am not joking; the couple next to us, when the waiter finally DID return, put in another order immediately!

Then Xarah and I walked along the Limat River and then back and down the Zürichsee. All along the promenade were only foreigners. We had an idea to take a bite for supper on the lake boat, but it was a four-hour, sunset cruise, so we decided that would have to wait for another visit. Instead we stopped at an Italian eatry and had pizza while Xarah had gnoche, small potato balls in sauce. Of course, then we had to go on for dessert and so back to the Limat River we stopped for coffee and chocolate mousse.

Xarah rode the tram with me back to the Maur depot. We said our farewells with the customary three-cheek kiss and off I headed for Maur and Philip.

When I got back Joseph was just turning off the lights and locking up. It wasn’t even dark yet! Thank goodness I wasn’t a second later!!

Philip was still in bed, but not asleep. I gave him some cold medicine that he refused to take, because he couldn’t find any information about it, nor could he read the package. The next morning I took the box, typed into my translator, online, and told him what the box said. It was only then that he finally agreed to take the medicine that the pharmacist had suggested I buy for him. Of course, he then started feeling better and was ready for a trip to Zürich himself. 😉

Since he was set on going and didn’t feel 100%, I went with him. We spent Thursday in Zürich as well. Philip took me to the hotel he stayed at on his previous trip and had a short conversation with the manager who offered to have the other young woman, clerk, show us the changes that had been made since Philip’s last visit, twenty years ago. Of course, that was not neccessary so we didn’t take him up on his offer.

Before we left the man gave Philip a card and told him to contact him if ever he had a need, even to bail him out of jail. We all laughed about that.

Then Philip and I went down the other side of the Lamat River to a COOP (Cope) to pick up a bite to eat. This was the trendy, artist side of the river. After we ate we headed back to Maur and a good night’s rist before hading out for Hauptikon.

Hauptikon is such a small Village that the train station in Zürich didn’t even have bus ticket to it for us. However, we did finally get on the right bus. I would like to say the trip went smoothly, but we missed our stop, so the bus driver took us on the return trip and we got off at the right stop the second time around. Alfred was waiting for us with umbrella in hand as it was raining here as well as all the whole trip.

This is a real farm, two pigs, twelve chickens, two horses, a bunch of cows and a garden too. Silvia and Alfred are both retired teachers. What a niche atmosphere they provide. They have three kittens, two red, that they call “Ginger”, and one black, gray and white. One of the ginger colored wil find a home in Zürich with a small child on Sunday.

Watching kittens can be very entertaining. So far, I have been helping in the kitchen and Philip helped by bringing seven cows back to the barn for the night and milking. (Not by hand.)

The computer connection isn’t working, so I can’t get online yet. Hopefully, tomorrow Silvia’s daughter’s boyfriend will be able to get it working.


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WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 15

Wed. 13 Aug 08

Life here is very relaxed. Even so, we are continuing to find things that need doing. I have been picking berries, canning and baking, while Philip continues to prepare the ground for planting and trimming (pruning) the grapevines. Yesterday was a rain day so we were stuck inside most of the day. However, I was able to grab some apples and make applesauce with them in the afternoon.

The laundry is done and it seems like one load takes forever in the tumble washer. This is a very modern version to give  you an idea. Then, because there isn’t a dryer, and it is raining the close must be hung inside to dry.

Philip came down with a cold and so yesterday’s rain day allowed him to rest, which he badly needed. I tried to get him some cold medicine at the only shop in town. I went over and asked them for kolt medicine and they had no idea what I was asking, so I just sneezed. Seems that is the universal language for colds. 😀 Sadly, they didn’t have any that Philip would take so I passed.

In about an hour I will leave on the bus to visit and dine with Xarah, one of my online friends. Larissa, from Germany, won’t be able to join us until near the end of our tour.

Zug is approximately the same distance to Zurich as Maur so it should work out nicely near the end for Larissa to join us.

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WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 14

Sunday, 10 August 2008

No church to go to today. Philip was able to call Hans-Peter and we will be visiting them in Stäfa tonight. Yesterday was a touring day. Our host left for the film festival in Lugano and so we were left to our own plans. As the two day Zürich Street Parade is this weekend we wanted to avoid Zürich altogether. We decided instead to go to Rapperswill. It turned out to be a superb choice, with but one challenge. The bus vack we had to take only connected to Zürich–more on that later.

Rapperswill port, Switzerland

Rapperswill port, Switzerland

Rapperswill is a gort town near the southwest section of Lake Zürich. We tourned the “old town” area and saw the rose garden. We lunched at a Migros counter and had a really good sandwich they call a pizza sandwich. It was nothing like pizza, but instead had a soft semi-round bread with warm cheese and other ingredients. Mine was ham and tomato and Philip had just motzarella cheese. Both were quite yummy.

Just around the corner from the station is a marina and temperature display. The ferry was in and so after I checked with the crew to be sure our “Alla Zones” pass would be accepted, we decided to take the boat back. We actually took it three-quarters of the way around the lake because the 17th annual Zürich madhouse was in full swing when we reached Zürich. However, we ended up back in the Zürich depot in order to connect to Maur.

Zurich Street Parade 2008

Zurich Street Parade 2008

What a madhouse! It was wall-to-wall weirdos! I am not kidding, young people dressed up in costumes with feathers and body parts clearly visible, that were better left hidden. 😉 I was glad to be on the bus back to Maur and safe and sound on the farm.

Mostly I have been cooking, picking berries and canning applesauce. The first batch was so well accepted that Reinhart Lüeder, our host, took a jar with him on his weekend jaunt.

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WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 13

This morning Philip & I went for a photo tour walk of the village of Krinau, where we are staying. We ended it with breakfast in the village’s only restaruant. We ordered tea and coffee and followed up with bread and jam. When the order cam it was more food than you could imagine! They served bread, jam, butter, several wonderful cheeses, sliced swiss cheese and ham, and orange juice. With our tummies filled and our appetite quenched we headed back to the farm.

All was quiet, when we arrived and we put the laundry on the line and another load in the washer before any sign of activity was seen. Now the sun is shining over the tree covered hills and a light breeze is whistling through them. This is truly God’s most beautiful country.

Aug. 5, 2008

Reinharts Place

Reinhart's Place

We arrived in Maur on Monday. The trip was uneventful. When we were heading out the door at Lisbeth Vogle’s house, Philip got an email from our next host, Reinhart, telling us that he was still in Tacino and wouldn’t arrive back until five or six in the evening. Nevertheless, arrangements had been made, so we embared on our journey.

Upon arrival we were met by a fine Argentinian young man, Isaias. He let us in and we settled down after three trips to the one local grocery. How funny though, that we travel all the way to Switzerland to meet someone and converse in Spanish! As neither Philip or I had used it in over 30 years, it was a little difficult, but we managed, nonetheless.

It turned out that he and his wife of four years, Cintia, were both dancers. He was unemployed because he wasn’t gay! However, his wife dances with the Zurich Ballet Company. She was photographed dancing for an advertisement piece and in the news. The ad is hung on the wall of Reinharts ecclectic dining room. It turned out that this was their last night at Reinhart’s before moving to a flat in Zurich.

For supper I made spaghetti bolenaise – with meat- and served the most flavorful ice cream you could imagine for dessert. Reinhart finally arrived home, about eight 0’clock. Philip and Reinhart had a good conversation that concluded with our instructions for the following day, they were to pick blackberries, which we did first thing in the morning.This task took all of about ten minutes, almost filling one bowl. How very different from Lisbeth’s.

About noonish we left for Neidlebad to visit with Rober & Hanna at their nuring facility. robert met us at the train & drove us to his nearby town and work. He gave us a wonderful tour of all the facilities, as well as, allowing us to see two bibles – one in the chapel translated by Martin Luther and copied in DMCCXX, and another from a very secret room, also translated by Martin Luther and commissioned by the then King, I believe, King William III. I can’t tell you what a privelage and honor that was to actually touch as well as see such a wonderful, beautiful, and precious piece of history.

Hanna was herself, the perfect hostess. She served us coffee and a homemade tart of 1/2 prunes and 1/2 apples from the grounds of the nursing home. Then Robert took us to meet with three gentlemen that work there with him. One young man is into computers and helped us find our schedule to return to Maur, and the other was an event coordinator, Jorge, who happened to be a tretired bio technologist in plant chemistry. He offered to help us by giving us the names of some compnaies, or groups, that assist, small to mid-size farmers with subsidies and such.

Then, after a quick bite with Hanna and Robert in the dining hall, Robert walked us to the bus stop and waited with us until we got on the bus back to Maur. Upon arrival back the man from India had supper with us and Philip and he chatted until very late. So late that I gave up and went on up the narrow stairs to bed.

The door to the bedroom bears comment here, it was solid oak, straight out of a midevil castle! I have never seen anything quite like it, but in this flat it certainly fit.

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WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 12

St Gallen Cathedral ceiling

St Gallen Cathedral ceiling

While in St Gallen we toured the catholic cathedral which was also Baroque in style and extreemly ornate. It was amazing to stand under the painted ceiling and realize this was not a photograph. One of the first things I noticed was that in several places in the ceiling round the feet of some of the characters protruded out of the painting, as you can see in the photo. However, the photo just doesn’t do it justice. It is something you must see for yourself.

The tour guide who came through said there were two clocks in the church, but one was all I ever found.

The next day, Philip and I went to Davos, Switzerland. Philip told me it was world famous so I expected more than we saw. However, the train trip was worth the whole day’s tavel. Not only did we discover a stupendously awe inspiring area of Switzerland between Sagas & Weesen, but we met a man who was from Basel that had his PhD in Biotechnology. He worked with the city of Basel to bring Biotech companies to their city. It was a perfect opportunity to introduce him to GERON and Philip had an intellegent conversant. I couldn’t have been more pleased.

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WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 11

Aug 4, 2008

Today we took our first planned solo outing. We decided to take a tour of the Zurich Cantonal Capital City since a couple of people had recommended the trip. So we hopped on the bus to the trainstation and within a short while were in St. Gallen for the day.

The depot could have been just about anywhere USA as it was filled with rif-raf and graffiti. However, once we got out of that area we were able to enjoy the quaint and uniqueness of the city. We found the tourist office and grabbed a map and off we went on foot to visit some of the sites.

St Gallen Abby Library

St Gallen Abby Library

One of the most interesting stops was the St Gallen Abby Library. They wouldn’t let you take photos but they did offer postcards for purchase. Also, one really unique experience is that we were asked to remove our shoes and to glide over the parquet mosaic floor in soft slippers. We gave that floor a good buffing with the rest of the visitors help. 😀

As you can see, it was baroque in style and quite exquisite. Well worth the stop if you ever make it to St Gallen, Switzerland.

After a brief, but interesting tour off we went to the old town to take in the cathedral and sites. The old town was a small section of St Gallen that was surrounded by a fortress wall.

Former “Abbot’s Gate”

Of the original eleven gates belonging to the city walls, only the “Abbot’s Gate” or Karlstor (Karl’s Gate) is still standing. It was built in 1570 and named after Cardinal Charles Borromeo of Milan. He is supposedly the first person to have walked through the gate.

Karlstor Gate in St Gallen

Karlstor Gate in St Gallen

This is one of the gates we actually walked through to get to the Old Town. We passed under another earlier in our treck, but this one captured our attention as it was a mix of both old and new.

Besides these sites we visited the Cathedral, which was getting a new lawn. It was quite interesting to watch as they laid down a carptet of grass. The Cathedral itself was getting a facelift, however we were able to find our way inside and Philip snapped a few interesting photos which I will share in my next excerpt.

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WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 10

Sunday 3 Aug 2008

As you can see by the infrequency of this journal’s entries life has been very full with activities. since my last entry we have made two sojourns and seen many sites.

First of August Switzerland

First of August Switzerland

First of August in Switzerland is celebrated much differently here than in the states with the Florida Suncoast Swiss American Society that we belong to. Rather than a round of singing and picnic there was a small town fourth-of-July type event. The evening, about seven, we walked to town in the drizzling rain. Upon arrival at the local restaurant we were escorted upstairs to a small conference type room. There we were served wine and orange juice while we awaited a visiting guest of Hans and his wife (Schini), named Ursala. We had made arrangements the day before to join her there after we met her in the restaurant again over coffee with her spaniel, Buffy.

In short order, Ursala arrived followed by a string of men from the community. One had nothing to do with the other but…
The men lined up in the front along one wall like a row of eligible bachelors. this group was soon joined by several others and the room quickly filled to capacity.

It wasn’t long before the festivities began and we finally understood the reason for the bachelor lineup. This was the Krinau Men’s Choral Group. We were blessed by several songs and then an official from the canton spoke. Ursala told us later the gist of the speech and it was just what we were hoping to hear. The man spoke about the smallness of Switzerland and the need to remain that way.

After the meeting was over we three went down to dinner. About the time we were finishing we heard the fireworks, and had to rush out. It seems Buffy gets scared of these noises and Ursala had to leave for home in a rush.

On the way back to the farm we saw the town bonfire and fireworks on the nearby hillside. The fireworks were small in comparison to our 4th celebrations but none-the-less enjoyable.

The next day we took a train trip to St Galen for the day.


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