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.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under life, organic farming, Switzerland, travel, WWOOF

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.

1 Comment

Filed under organic farming, Switzerland, travel, WWOOF

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Geron, organic farming, Switzerland, technology, travel, WWOOF

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Switzerland, travel, WWOOF

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.

2 Comments

Filed under life, organic farming, Switzerland, travel, WWOOF

WWOOF Switzerland, The Saga Continues…Part 9

30 July 2008

Today started off normally with yogurt making to get started in the kitchen and gardening tasks to complete. Lisbeth’s yogurt maker started acting up, it would shut off for no reason regardless of the timer setting. So she decided to have me put the jars in a water-bath in the oven on a very low temperature. Since I had done this once before she simply told me to do it and left me to the task.

Big mistake! I had made dinner in the oven, my mom’s meat crust pie recipe, the previous day and so the temperature setting was in memory from that meal preparation. That meal was cooked at 160-degrees C, but the yogurt setting should have been 40.

I was out in the garden and Layla (Mouse) came to tell me to come to the kitchen, where I found Lisbeth scowling over Felix, who was bent over trying to scrape melted plastic from the oven.

I took over the job, and it was quite an ordeal to clean plastic off the metal shelves and oven, but at least the jars didn’t explode! Now I know how they coat wire racks with plastic.

Gingers Artwork

Ginger's Artwork

Lisbeth had just cleaned the oven a few days prior to this disaster, which made me feel even worse. However, when I was done I think the oven was cleaner than when it was new, well at least as clean, for sure.

At dinner, Felix told me that the product of my fiasco reminded him of an artist named Alberto Burri that he had a book of his work. He said my artwork was at least as good as his. We all were finally able to laugh about the incident.

Melted Plastic Art by Alberto Burri

Melted Plastic Art

This was the last work-day in Krinau, what a way to end a stay!

Tomorrow we are off on holiday. Philip and I have decided to go to St. Gallen. It is the capital of this Canton. Several people have told us to visit there when we can. Roldan told us to visit the cathedral and library. This is what we will do among other things while there.

2 Comments

Filed under life, travel

WWOOF Switzerland The Saga Continues, Part 8

29 July

It was a busy week. Lots to do both indoors and out. Since I last wrote Philip and I went with Lisbeth Vogl and her two girls, Festie & Mouse, to Seven Mountains in Unterwasser (Under water for those who don’t speak German). We took a lift up to walk the base of the mountains and then near the end the girls and Lisbeth took a short, steep hike back which left us to manage the return trip on our own.

Seven Mountains

Seven Mountains

We had a bit of difficulty finding the entrance to the down lift (ski lift). However, we experienced something new because of our inexperience. As we walked up the outside stone steps to the mountain restaurant, we were met by an obstinate goat and a frustrated waitress who was trying desperately to shew the goat out of the restaurant via the stairs.

Alpine flowers

Alpine flowers

Once back down the lift, thanks to Larissa Glück and my German lessons, I tried out the one sentence that I worked so hard to learn on the cashier, “Wo ist die Bushaltestelle?” To my amazement he not only understood me, but I understood his directions. I heard a couple words I understood, pieced it together and off we went to the nearby bus station.

View from Seven Mountains

View from Seven Mountains

Philip wanted to find a pharmacy so he purchased two rail tickets to Winterthur – much farther than we intended. However, it turned out to be a fine outing and a relaxing trip. In Winterthur we found everything we needed.

During the bus part of the journey we met a man who was on his way to meet up with his wife, Hans Huerlimann, who works for Siemens as a programmer. We only had a few minutes to chat and Philip being a programmer too gave him his card so he could be in touch. It was during this time our computer connection to the world went down. We were so hoping to connect with the two of them while they were in Krinau.

Luckily, Felix was able to fix the problem and Philip found an email from Hans and immediately got in touch with him. They made arrangements to get together the next afternoon for a brief visit during which they discovered they had even more in common. So we agreed to meet them for pizza when we got to our next destination, Maur.

Then on Sunday night we went to evening service and spoke with Ellen, the visiting pastor and Anina the cellist. Anina also played the pipe organ. She is a very talented young woman.

1 Comment

Filed under life, travel