19 August 2023

Well, school started this week. So it is back to studying for me. The thing that intrigued me the most about the Masters Program I am in, was the fact that I was able to take classes through three different schools at Indiana University (IU). The program is basically 1/3 from the Business School, 1/3 from the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, and 1/3 from the Law School. I found it interesting the three schools could work together, and so far the most surprising thing to me is…. The school that is highest ranked at IU (The Business School) is the worst in regards to hosting online classes. The Professors have been really good, but they make it harder than the other schools to attend online. When the Business School offers an online class, a lot of the time it means you still have to attend the class at the time it is being taught. Now if I lived in Indiana, probably not a big deal, but living over here that means I have to be up at 2 or 3 in the morning for class. If I were 22 again, that might not be a big deal, but at age 58 that takes a toll on me. I was really looking forward to a class through the Business School this semester. You work on a team and with an actual client and present a Cyber Security Plan for them. I am having to drop the class though.

The first reason is because of the mandatory lectures. 1/3 of the grade is “class participation” which means I have no choice but to be up at 2 AM for class. The biggest reason, though, is that all of the deliverables are due on Thanksgiving Day. If I were just staying in Switzerland, not a big deal. Heck, there isn’t even a Thanksgiving Day here. My problem is that I will be traveling to the US the week before Thanksgiving, and will be traveling between Wisconsin and Indiana the days surrounding Thanksgiving. It wouldn’t be fair to the team I would be working with if I were unavailable when the last push to get everything done is on. So I am down to two classes.

That doesn’t worry me. I am still able to finish on time. My son, though will probably be getting a lot of emails. The two classes I am taking are through the Law School. One is a class on Privacy Laws, and the other is a class on general CyberSecurity Law. I figure my lawyer son, can be my editor for all the writing I have to do!

We are also gearing up for another stretch with a lot of visitors. I have a sister coming over early in September for a few days, then one of my wife’s best friends is swinging by after a business trip to Germany. Then we have parents coming. Julie’s Dad comes the last part of September, and my parents come early October. This is kind of what we thought it would be like with visitors. Covid, of course put a stop to that, but hopefully next year will be just as busy.

We have a trip to Munich scheduled the last weekend in September. We have wanted to visit for Oktoberfest and this year we are going for a long weekend with another couple. We are excited we got our dirndl and lederhosen all ready. I’ve been looking for a Bavarian Style hat to complete my ensemble, but so far have not found any I really like!

Castles vs Palaces

Growing up in Southern Indiana, I always thought of castles and palaces as the same. Even after my first trip to Europe I really did not understand the difference. We saw some palaces while we were visiting, but I still thought of them as the same. It wasn’t until I moved to Switzerland that I truly understood the difference. In a nutshell, palaces were the houses of the rulers, castles were what the rulers used for defence. The ruler might live in the castle, but more likely, they had a palace somewhere else, and only stayed in the castle if they were under attack.

The best example I think of in the US: Biltmore Estate is a palace. The Alamo in Texas is a castle. Of course the Alamo was originally a mission, but it was built for defence, and there was some kind of governmental functions that ran from there. I think that is a problem with “American” English. We use those terms interchangeably, whereas the rest of the world does not. In fact if you were to do a google search for castles in the the US. You will get a list of huge homes, none of which were ever fortified other than for appearance. The Alamo was truly the closest I could come up with. Though in the US maybe a castle would be called a fort? Or maybe the US CANNOT HAVE a castle because there was never a nobility class there? I truly don’t know, and will confuse myself the more I talk about it so…..

Just like the US really doesn’t have any castles, Switzerland doesn’t have any palaces. Back in the days the palaces were being built the separate areas of Switzerland were never big or prosperous enough for the ruler to build a palace. There are a couple of buildings that are called palaces here, but they were never the seat of the ruler. There are however, many castles. Julie and I visited Schloss (Castle) Kyburg last weekend.

The “cow castle” was first seen in history in 1079. The House of Kyburg was second in importance only to the Hapsburgs in this part of Switzerland. In fact, when the last Count of Kyburg died in 1264 the Hapsburgs took control of the castle. About 200 years later the CityState of Zurich bought the castle. For roughly the next 370 years the Bailiff of Zurich lived in the estate.

The bailiffs were administrators over particular territories. Zurich, back then was the largest CityState in Switzerland. Zurich had multiple Bailiffs that controlled the countryside. Kyburg was arguably the most important of these. The Bailiff was an appointed position. The appointment lasted for six years. The bailiffs were of course the “elite” of society. The bailiff had to have enough financial backing to run the household in the castle, but also had to keep the business, and household running in the city. Of course it was very lucrative to be a bailiff.

The castle set empty for about 60 years when it was purchased by a wealthy merchant. He refurbished what he could and turned it into a tourist attraction and art museum. Schloss Kyburg became the first castle museum in Switzerland. The castle has remained a museum ever since.

This weekend we are also taking it easy. I think Julie wants to go shopping downtown and spend some gift certificates, and then Sunday we are heading to the city of Baden for Badenfahrt. Badenfahrt dates back to the middle ages. It was originally a religious festival, but over time it became a secular activity. The festival is only held every 10 years; so the city really makes it special. The city of Baden has about 20,000 residents, but will have over a million visitors during the two weeks of the festival. Hopefully it will be a good time!

Enjoy the pictures from the castle!

One thought on “19 August 2023

  1. Thanks for the lovely pictures. I didnt take enough while we were there with Sarah! I loved the heating stoves with the chairs built in!

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