My Dad has always known he was a true Swiss Man! His Birthday (August 1st) falls on the Swiss National Day! One thing that my friend Julie told us, is that you don’t often see the Swiss flag out (like in America where they are often out at homes and businesses). But, for the Swiss National Day they are EVERYWHERE! Swiss flags and Canton flags too. Our Bed and Breakfast was decorated well for the breakfast on the big day! I ordered Dad a custom shirt that says “Let’s celebrate! It’s my birthday!” in German, and on the back it had a Swiss flag and said “I’m a Swiss man at heart!” in German. He was a trooper and wore it all day and had several, "Alles Gute zum Geburtstag" comments too!
Here’s a photo of the crooked stairs at the Bed and Breakfast (I swear the camera is straight up and down) we would laugh everytime as we walked up the stairs and slowly tipped to the right. . .
We headed to church at the branch in Interlaken, not too far from the bed and breakfast! Lisa even met one of her good friends parents who are serving a mission there! (cue: music to It’s a small world. . .)
It was fun to attend church in that small branch and hear the German saints bear their testimonies of the Gospel and of our Savior. Dad even got up and spoke some wonderful German words about his thankfulness for the missionaries that converted our ancestors.
After church we headed to Grindelwald, a wonderful little town up the canyon a bit. From there you can ride a gondola up and rent these scooter bikes to ride down. Good thing they had good brakes because it was a pretty great, fast, and sometimes steep ride! Julie started off, but made a wise decision after the first hill (and a spectacular wipe out!) to ride the lovely gondola back down and wait for us there. I believe her words were “well, I think maybe if I could ride a bike I could do this. . .” She also used her wise advice that she has taught her son, Lincoln. . .”if you’re going to crash, lean for the grass!!” She had some good grass stains on her shorts and legs! She was a trooper and the rest of us headed down for a wonderful, and of course, picturesque ride!
Look at that VIEW!! Well, if I’m being honest, Dad scared me to DEATH watching him wiz by me on that bike! But I think he LOVED it! I told him “Dad, please slow down, I don’t want to pick up your teeth off the road.” Guess what his smart-aleck remark was to me (his dental hygienist daughter)? “Well, at least you’ll know which one is which to put them back in!!” HA!
At the tail end of the scooter bike ride we drove by a beautiful church and cemetary in Grindelwald and pulled off the road to see if we would find any gravestones with our families names on them.
SEE! I wasn’t kidding when I said the cemeteries here were beautiful!
Here’s another one of those great water fountains they have in every town in Switzerland. I’m convinced it’s so all the hikers and bikers can fill their water bottles!
After the scooters we needed to head back to Interlaken’s main street to get our place for the big parade!
It’s the Swiss Way! The clean up trucks were right after all the animals to clean up the street before the rest of the parade!
These were the boyscouts (or at least whatever they have like that in Switzerland) doing some fund raising. I like the idea of just having the blanket and people just threw their change. They had several running around collecting all the misses too!
After the parade we walked back toward the hotel. We had noticed some sort of little “amusement park” ride place just across the street earlier, so we decided to check it out! It was kind of little a little personal roller coaster ride that was called “Heimwehfluh” which means “fast path!” Boy was it! You took a little ride up the hill. . the rode down! It was a blast! For the first ride, I did get pictures at the end, but I think we all must have been a little timid and kept the break on. For the last ride I was the first one down and got to see everyone else come down. (Heidi did pictures at the top) They had a break for you to stop the cart, but most of us didn’t realize it was going to stop itself so quick! So everyone that came down so fast that second time had a total whiplash moment, Heidi’s was the best! Her glasses that were on her head completely flew off! It was hilarious and we had a great belly laugh over it!
We were exhausted from the day, so we headed back the B&B and rested for a bit. We had a yummy dinner at a restaurant just North of Interlaken in a town near Beatenberg. The clouds were rolling in and there was a pretty fantastic thunderstorm during dinner. It cleared just a bit and we headed toward main street in Interlaken again where they have a huge fireworks display. We brought umbrellas and enjoyed the fireworks in the rain. It was fine at first, we’d just get dripped on a bit when we’d tip our umbrellas too far to look. But eventually I think they just said “forget it!” and lit up everything, with the rain the smoke was so thick that you couldn’t see anything! We could hear all the fireworks but couldn’t see anything but smoke. It was so funny! One would go off and we’d say “Oh! That one’s my favorite!”
We also had an adventure getting back to the hotel, thinking we were taking the “easy” way. But it was a fun night! Happy 70th Birthday Dad!
Oh, I told you I’d explain more about William Tell and the Swiss National Day. . .(I thought the main story was the whole “shooting the apple off of his sons head!”. Not so.)An emperor of Austria had come to the canton and village near where William Tell lived to try and take over. He ordered the people there to build him a new castle. His servants would also carry around his hat on a pole and order the people to bow down to it. William Tell would not do it. He was arrested and as punishment was required to shoot an apple off of his sons head with his crossbow. He was successful but one of the servants had noticed that he had pulled two arrows out of his quiver and questioned him what the other one was for. He told him that if he had injured his son, the other arrow was for the emperor. This angered the emperor and instead of setting him free as promised, he bound him and took him to his ship to be transferred to another castle. A storm came up on the Lake and Tell escaped. When the emperor caught up to him, Tell shot him. In celebration the townspeople tore down the castle they were building and had a huge bon fire. To this day, on August 1st, their Swiss National Day, they build bon fires all over the mountains and towns to celebrate! (and NOW you know. . .the REST of the story. . .)