It is looking like I will actually post something in back to back weeks! It has been pretty quiet the last two months. Contracting Covid in August, and then we had visitors for most of September there just was not much to write about. When you have visitors that are coming for the first time Switzerland we feel obligated to take them to the famous places. They do not change much from visit to visit so I could not think of anything to write about!
Well, last week, while my sister was visiting I got the chance to do something new. There is an outdoor museum in Switzerland named Wallenberg. The museum is designed to show what the Swiss Countryside was like hundreds of years ago. The museum has found houses from all over the country that were good examples of traditional country housing. The buildings were torn down, and then rebuilt on the property. As you tour the grounds you get a good feel for how the Swiss People lived centuries ago. You also see the typical styles of houses from the area. While this alone would have been a good day, there was also a festival going on at the same time.
The name of the festival was Fest der Feste. I still do not know exactly what the translation into English is. I saw it as Fest of Festivals. and as Feast of Feasts. Either one was accurate to the festival. Many different cantons had areas set up showcasing their area. You got to see how they celebrate the harvest, and of course got to sample a LOT of local cheeses and other delicacies. It was great fun.
I think my sister was the most amused by how much trouble I had ordering lunch. You see we stopped at one of the French speaking areas. I of course do not speak any French. I tried first of all ordering in German, got nowhere. Then I switched to English, and had even less luck. I happened to run into one of the few people in the country that ONLY spoke the language in their canton. Or at least she pretended to not be able to speak any German or English. If she was pretending she did a great job! I finally was able to order a couple of dishes, and some drinks, but it was pretty painful!
In addition to eating and drinking we also had other fun.
I think my sister and her husband had a good time. It was their first trip to this side of the Atlantic. She got to see one city in Germany, and one city in France, as well as most of the big points here in Switzerland. The one thing she did not get to see was the Matterhorn. This was one her list, but the weather just would not cooperate. It pretty much started raining right before she got here, and it finally stopped yesterday. (One day after she left.) She did get to see the top of Mt Pilatus outside of Luzern. We looked at the weather one morning, and saw that she might get three hours with partly cloudy conditions; so we changed our plan that morning and drove to Luzern. We walked around the town mostly in rain, but then the sun came out, and I quickly got them to the gondola! It started raining about 10 minutes after they came off the mountain!
Tomorrow Julie and I leave for London. We will be spending 4 days in the city, but the highlight will be Sunday afternoon. We got tickets to watch the Green Bay Packers play football. We thought we would not see a live football again, as long as we live here. Once we found out the Packers would be close we decided we HAD to be there. I figure Julie will spend Saturday morning shopping. The pound is really low to the franc or dollar right now; so I think she will take advantage of that! Outside of the football game, the only thing I want to do is take a tour of the Globe. We talked about seeing a play, but decided we needed to wait to experience that with Kaylee!
The last thing I have to talk about is last week’s election. The results were exactly as everyone predicted.
The Pension reform package passed, but just barely! The portion about the sales tax hike passed with 55% of the vote. (You are welcome Swiss Citizens. I will help pay for something I will never see.). However, the portion about raising the retirement age for women just made it across the line. 50.57% of the people voted for this one. This portion of the plan was the most controversial, because it costs women a significant amount of money.
The factory farming bill lost by a wide margin. 63% of the people voted NO on this one. I have a feeling though that it will keep coming up. This is at least the 2nd time an initiative like this has been voted on since I have been here. The people that brought up the initiative say they will keep bringing it to a vote.
The other tax bill also went down to defeat. This is the one I really did not understand as it concerned tax rates for things that do not pertain to Julie or I. This one saw 52% of the people voting no on getting rid of the tax. I tried to learn more about this one over the last week, but I still was not able to understand it. The government claims that eliminating this will spur foreign investment. This doesn’t make any sense to me, because the amount of money overpaid gets paid back at the end of the year anyway.
Here are some videos from our week. The first one shows part of the Queen of the Hill contest at Wallenberg. The second video is a quick tour through a 16th century Swiss farmhouse.