Monday, September 27, 2010

Switzerland Day 4—welcome to Niederstocken!!

Day 4 was spent in Niederstocken--the small town in southwestern Switzerland where our ancestors are from.  We woke up to this amazing view!

Day 4 Niederstocken Day 4 Niederstocken (2)Day 4 Niederstocken (4)Day 4 Niederstocken (3)

Actually, to be honest, I woke up to my father yelling my name, as well as all my sisters names from outside in a good Swiss German tone. . .”Vendi!!!!  Vendi Schvendimaaannnn!”  He’d been up early to take a walk around town (but not early enough to see the morning milking in the barn! We’d have to catch the afternoon milking.)  We woke up and had a yummy breakfast in Fritz’s dining room.  I really think we went through 20 packets of hot chocolate that morning.  Oh, another “clean Swiss” thing we have noticed is the individual trash containers on each table. . .again, so Swiss.  No matter how fancy the restaurant it seemed they had these little containers. . .and seriously, it took us all a while before we figured out what they were for!  “clean up after yourself please”  Oh, one other was that each and every toilet stall had it’s own individual toilet bowl cleaner wand. . .no matter if there were 2 stalls or 10, each had their own. . .and I’m sure those things were more clean than mine was coming out of the packaging.  Ok, back to the sites. . .

day 4 niederstocken (5)We arrived in Niederstocken after dark the night before so before we headed up to the Stockhorn we stopped to take some pictures by the “official” sign.

day 4 niederstocken (7)day 4 niederstocken (8)We left that morning and headed toward Oberstocken to see the Bell Factory.  Bummer. . .they were on holiday, but I’ll be getting a catalog to order a bell like this for my front door.  I love it! 

Day 4 Oberstocken bell factory We took a leisurely drive and stopped in a small town to gather some supplies for the family party that night, then headed back to Fritz’s for a delicious lunch! You can see that Heidi obviously hated the soup.  Luckily Julie hadn’t finished yet, so I did get a “before” picture.  It was a tasty squash soup (with I’m sure more butter than squash. . .I still remember it.)day 4 Niederstocken Fritz's (2)day 4 Niederstocken Fritz's (3)

After lunch, we headed to Reutigen—the town where the main church was where our ancestors attended, and also the grave sites.

Day 4 Reutigen I LOVED the all wooden turret on the steeple of the church.  Beautiful and amazing it has lasted all these years.  The first mention of this church (I hope I’m remembering this right, was in the 1300’s.)

Day 4 Reutigen (2) Day 4 Reutigen (3)Day 4 Reutigen (6)A look at the new benches, with the original paintings/murals on the walls.  The stone baptismal bowl at the front of the church is also original.  So that is where my ancestors were all christened!  Amazing!!Day 4 Reutigen (9)We did find some of our relatives gravesites and headstones.  Unfortunately someone there told us that they don’t have much room, so after so many years, they just take off the headstones, and grind them up to make new ones.  (sad face.)

 day 4 reutigen Fritz and Ernst's father day 4 reutigen married to Eduard      day 4 reutigen (20)Ida Schwendimann Straubhaar day 4 reutigen (22)Gottfried Schwendimann day 4 reutigen Friederich's son, married to Marie Nikles day 4 reutigen Peter Schwendimann's father day 4 reutigen Suzi's husband, Eduard's son Day 4 Reutigen (13)

Really. . .Switzerland had the most beautiful cemetaries! Each plot is really a flower garden.  

 day 4 reutigen (29) day 4 reutigen (32) day 4 reutigen (34) day 4 reutigen (35)

 

One thing for sure on our list was to head up to the Stockhorn (schtock horn).  In my great-grandfathers journals he writes that he climbed up the stockhorn when he was about 5 years old!  These photos are the view from Fritz’s bed and breakfast!  day 4 Niederstocken view of Stockhorn from Fritz's day 4 Niederstocken view of Stockhorn (2) They went often as children.  Well, we’ll take the gondola, but only because we’re on a time-constraint.  The gondola actually goes up the other side of the mountain, because from the Niederstocken side it is literally straight up!  We drove over to Erlenbach and rode the gondola from there.  It was a little cloudy up top, but we hoped we’d get some great views. . .of course, Switzerland delivers!

day 4 gondola to stockhorn (4) day 4 gondola to stockhorn (5) day 4 stockhorn (13) day 4 stockhorn (20)

I loved the little wildflowers growing right out of the rocks!day 4 stockhorn dadHow did we know the Stockhorn was really made for us Schwendimans?  They had a huge jigsaw puzzle half way up!  Dad stayed up top and took pictures of us doing the puzzle.  Mama Jill would be so proud of us!  day 4 stockhorn dad puzzleday 4 stockhorn dad puzzle 2 day 4 stockhorn dad puzzle3

Fighting for the last piece!!day 4 stockhorn dad puzzle4day 4 stockhorn (32) At the halfway point for the gondola they had a little kids playground. . .complete with a slide and a huge rocking horse!! day 4 stockhorn dad horse     day 4 stockhorn (26) day 4 lake Thun    This is Lake Thun.   

Once we got back into town we walked around Niederstocken a bit.  Look more wood stacks!  day 4 niederstocken (12) We made it back to Fritz’s just in time to see the 5pm milking!  We met Urs and Rosmarie (little did we know that we were related and they’d be at the party that night!!) day 4 niederstocken (15)Thank goodness for Dad we could communicate with them, so she showed us around a bit.  There was a tiny calf (just 2 days old!)  She showed us the momma, and showed how they fed the calf when they were in the barn. day 4 niederstocken (16) day 4 niederstocken (17) day 4 niederstocken (18) They had a container of the mothers milk, so they would just pour it into a bucket, then had a little nipple bottle top and would just put the calfs mouth right into the milk!  She said that the calf would nurse from the momma for about 4 months, then from anyone she could get lucky with.  day 4 niederstocken (21)Here’s a look at the side of the barn.  It’s right behind Fritz’s bed and breakfast then there’s a large grazing pasture behind that.  We stayed long enough to see Urs drive off in their car with the cans of milk headed to the cheese factory and to see Florian (their cute son!), walk the cows out.  day 4 niederstocken barn behind Fritz's    Day 4 Niederstocken Fritz's Here’s a good look at the front of Fritz’s place.  Seriously!  The woodwork!  The flowers!!

day 4 niederstocken Fritz's (4)This is the back side of Fritz’s place, and a peek at what the rooms were like.  I loved that everywhere in Switzerland that we stayed not matter how big or small had real feather comforters and pillows.  Day 4 Niederstockenroom at Fritz'sday 4 Niederstocken old home next to Suzi's (2) We took a walk next door.  The original Schwendimann home where my great grandfather was born used to be right next door.  There was a fire in the early 90’s, and because of structure damage it had to be torn down.  They since have rebuilt there (more on that story and Susi who lives there later.)  The old structure in the picture is the area on the next lot.  Fritz owns that.

 Day 4 Niederstocken original old house behind old house lot  Here is a look at the original shed that was behind the home.  My Dad remembers coming here in the 80’s and having Eduard (Susi’s husband, and my great grandfathers cousin) show him the rabbits they kept out back for eating.  (It looks totally authentic, with satelitte dish and everything!)   Day 5 Niederstocken old shed (8) Day 5 Niederstocken old shed Day 5 Niederstocken old shed (2) Day 5 Niederstocken old shed (3) Here’s a look at some of the old tools, a sled, some kind of belt driven machinery, and my Dad earning his keep by cleaning up outside!!

Day 5 Niederstocken old shed (4) day 5 Niederstocken old shed (5) day 5 Niederstocken old shed (6) day 5 Niederstocken old shed (7) day 4 niederstocken, old shed and Suzi's houseHere is a larger look at Susi’s home with the shed in the back. 

Another thing about the Swiss houses that I love is all of the decorative work.  Each home, when built has some type of inscription engraved on it as well.    day 4 oberstocken day 4 oberstocken (3)Day 5 view of Fritz's homeDay 5 view of Suzi's home (3) Day 5 view of Suzi's home (2) Oh, and the flowers!  Everywhere!  That is my goal for next spring to have Matt build me some flower boxes so I can decorate “Swiss style!” for the summer.   We headed back to Fritz’s to help get ready for the party. . .

Next Post coming up. . . .THE SCHWENDIMAN (N) PARTY! 

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