Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Switzerland Day 3

Before everyone gets worried that my brother Todd was somehow shunned from the family, and didn’t get to go. . .he DID join us later on our trip.  He couldn’t get that much time away from work.  We made up for it big time once he arrived. . .you’ll see him in pictures later, I promise.

We had a leisurely morning at the hotel in Zurich. . .yummy breakfast, and packed up our big van for our journey to Niederstocken.day 3 to Niederstocken  day 3 to Niederstocken (3)(Nice sign huh?  I ordered it for our trip!)

Our first stop was the Lindt chocolate factory in Kilchberg.  We had hopes that they actually still had tours, but we were wrong. . .oh well, we just hit the store instead.   Day 3 Lindt factory day 3 lindt factory (2) day 3 lindt factory (3) 

We did however, journey over by the factory, and just opening the windows could smell the chocolate.  We may or may not have stayed there a little while just breathing deeply.  This was the day that our official “taste testing” contests of chocolate began.  Dad was obviously the champion of taste testing, but more of that later. . .

Oh, before I get on with our day can I do a plug for the Garmin GPS system?  Otherwise known as “stay sane with your family on vacation!”  I will NEVER do a trip like this without one.  My Dad bought one before we left and made sure it was updated with all the European maps.  We just plugged in wherever our little hearts desired and it took us right there!  My sister Heidi was the main (awesome!) driver, and she quickly reminded us that although we all had our maps out she needed NO ONE to tell her where to go. . .that was all left up to FRAU.  That’s what we named our GPS.  Frau was a life saver!  Thanks Garmin!

After leaving the Lindt factory, we headed south and hit a few cities along the way.  Really we just looked in our guide books and found some interesting things, and we were NOT led astray!  It was a fantastic day!  Our second stop was in a town called Einsiedeln.  Our main stop there was the Abbey.  The picture on that link gives you just an idea of the massiveness of that place. . .but you have to compare it to our pictures. . .

Day 3 Abbey in Einsendeln (8)

See those little tiny people in front?  Yep, that’s us!  Day 3 Abbey in Einsendeln Day 3 abbey in Einsendeln (2) day 3 abbey in Einsendeln (4) 

The Abbey became a pilgrimage of sorts for many.  They say that those coming would stop at the fountain in front and drink from the water.  (Just FYI, Switzerland is loaded with all kinds of fountains all over the country with fresh water, so you can always take a drink, or load up your water bottle!)day 3 abbey in einsendeln (6) We stopped and had a quick lunch across from the Abbey. . . .what a view!!day 3 abbey in einsendeln (7) The abbey is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture.  (insert joke from Beauty and the Beast here. . .)  It was in a word. . .amazing.  No pictures allowed of course, but pictures would never do it justice anyway.  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  A monastery was founded on the site in 934 (yeah, that’s old.), and it was rebuilt to it’s current lavish Baroque design in the 1730’s (yep, still really old.)  There are just a few pictures on this link. 

As we were leaving Einsiedeln, we noticed this amazing ski jump area, and found out that this is where Simon Ammann practices!   Day 3 Simon Ammann ski jump in Einsendeln

After leaving Einsiedeln, we headed to Aldorf to see the William Tell statue there.  William Tell is the folk hero of Switzerland. . .and I thought I knew the “story” but really had no idea. . .I’ll explain more of the story in my August 1st (Swiss National Day) post.

 Day 3 Altdorf (2)

Heidi was just a little bit excited that she finally found her Torino chocolates we’d be on the hunt for since day 1!  They were my winner for the taste testing for sure!Day 3 Altdorf (3)

Dad, Julie and I are re-enacting the William Tell story. . .complete with a real (half-eaten) Apple!Day 3 Altdorf (4)

Need to know what time it is?  Find the church!Day 3 Altdorf (6)

I had to take this picture for all my fellow Southeast High School Knights!  (Raise your black, and gold, and fight forevermore to stay!)Day 3 Altdorf

Our day had been a little longer than we anticipated so we skipped seeing the city of Meringen, where there is a Sherlock Holmes Museum, but we did see Reichenbach Falls (the waterfall where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose to kill off his hero--Sherlock), on our drive.   day 6 wilderswil (13) day 6 wilderswil (12) Day 3 to Niederstocken (5) There were tons of tunnels we drove through, but this one was my favorite 1/2 tunnel!  Cool!Day 3 Einsendeln (2) Yep, still like a postcard!Day 3 Einsendeln (3) We stopped for a lovely dinner along Lake Brienz in a town called Istelwald.  It was late (and dark) when we finally arrived in Niederstocken.  Niederstocken is the small town just southwest of Interlaken in central Switzerland.  It is the town that our Schwendimann family is from  (InSwitzerland all the Schwendimanns still have 2 n’s.)  We found Fritz and Loti Schwendimanns fabulous restaurant and hotel/apartments.  They greeted us with hearty Swiss hugs and were SO excited to have us there.  It was a thrill to finally be in Niederstocken with our Schwendiman family.  In the larger towns were able to get by with our English pretty well, but in these small towns, my father’s german was the ONLY way we were going to be able to communicate (Thanks DAD!!)  My Dad wasn’t actually sure how he and Fritz were even related, so I pulled out my family history charts that I had worked hard on and copied to bring with me.  I started to show him what I was trying to figure out and he stood up and held his hands out as if to say. . .”wait just a minute.”  He left and went toward his large back kitchen area, and when he returned he had it.  THE book.  You know, THE book that they show in the shows about genaology.  Fritz HAS THE book for Niederstocken.  All of the records of births, marriages, deaths for the town of Niederstocken back into the 1700’s.  Yep, you couldn’t have picked my jaw up off the floor if you tried.  Day 3 evening at Fritz's   He immediately found and showed us the records for our ancestors Samuel and Magdalena and their six boys.  They even had recorded when they left for America in 1886.  A couple of days later, I spent most of the morning taking photographs of the book to hopefully find more records of our relatives that we’re missing. Day 3 evening at Fritz's (4)When we were talking about going to Switzerland, I really started to research our family history.  Honestly, a LOT of it had been completed, and it seemed that we had as much information that was available.  My hope was to find at least something. . .even one name, that was missing.  We did have most all of the information from our direct line, but what about siblings, spouses, cousins, etc?  We were truly blessed in all the information that was discovered over the few days we were in Niederstocken, and even more blessed by the places we saw, and the people we were able to meet.   


Can I Have This Dance.... said...

Wow! What an amazing trip. You have some beautiful pictures. That is so awesome that you were able to see the family book. What a treasure!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Wendy! Now I'll have to go back and read Day 2 - I think I missed it. We really do need a place to record "the rest of the story" ... like 3 days after we got back when Dad called to try to figure out how to get the Garmin out of Frau mode and back to the good 'ol USA!

Lisa said...

What? Are you kidding me? This would make an excellent episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" for sure! How exciting to find THE BOOK! Wow! (Families are Forever!)

Lisa said...

What? Are you kidding me? This would make an excellent episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" for sure! How exciting to find THE BOOK! Wow! (Families are Forever!)