Swiss travel: Freilichtmuseum Ballenberg

I’m now entering into my second week without a working furnace. It’s not exactly fun, but it could be worse. It’s a very depressing autumn day, about 12 degrees and rainy, so everything is kind of damp and chilly. The kind of day where you would like to have functioning heat. But if I were back home, it would certainly be a lot worse, because I see things are already freezing there. Of course, back in Calgary, I bet it doesn’t take two weeks to fix a broken furnace in November. Because you would die. So that’s a con for living here, I guess. The fact that furnace repair is not a priority. Not the not dying without heat thing. I consider that part a pro.

I am way behind on my blogging. Travel blogging, anyway. Most of the things I write about happened several weeks ago. I’d like to pretend it gives me time to reflect on our experiences and parse out the important anecdotes over the static of what is just another ordinary event. However, in actual fact, I’ll be sitting here in front of my blog, asking “what the hell did we do that day?” And then making a bunch of stuff up so it sounds cool. (just kidding, I don’t do that, for the blog anyway. I have a “one line a day” diary where I’m supposed to write one line a day, obviously, about what I did, but it goes on for five years so you can look on the same page and see where you were on any given date over the past five years. In theory, very cool. In practice, I either write something lame about doing laundry, or blatantly lie because I’m so behind I have zero clue what I did that day. It was probably laundry.)

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Freilichtmuseum just means open air museum, but I for some reason really get a kick out of saying “freilichtmuseum” over and over again. German can be super fun. There are actually lots of open air museums in Switzerland and Germany, as far as I could see. I suspect it becomes necessary to preserve many of the ancient buildings found around the countryside. Ballenberg happens to be a few minutes away from Interlaken, so we checked it out on our way home. We were really lucky, actually, we happened to be driving right by the last day that it was open for the season. This particular museum had buildings dating back to the 11th century, which you have to admit is pretty cool. It’s kind of like Fort Ed in Edmonton, only massive. And, well, the buildings here make the ones in Fort Ed seem a little … new.

It was a fun place to wander around and explore, especially with a little one. X got to do a lot of climbing, and there were some houses that were hands on, with old-fashioned crafts, or writing, or musical instruments. All of it was great for hands looking to be busy. Sorry for the creepy quality of this photo, we didn’t take many photos and everywhere inside was really dark. I’m pretty sure if you look carefully enough at this picture, you’ll find a hidden ghost.

Freilichtmuseum

 

My favourite part was the old bakery, which still functions and provides the bread for the shop nearby. Of course my favourite part is going to be food-related. X’s favourite part was the pigs, which he got to oink at, so obviously his day was complete. He also enjoyed slowly climbing up a set of stairs, holding up everyone behind him, then deciding he had to descend the same set of stairs, resulting in a tantrum from someone. That’s just how it goes with this kid. Good thing he’s cute.

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As a place to wear out a child, we considered this place tops. Although, X decided he would do remarkably little sleeping on the six hour drive home, no matter how much healthy running in the outdoors he got. Since he’s usually okay in the car, this isn’t such a problem, but we’d go through periods in the car where we were all hissing at each other to shut up because he was stirring and we didn’t want him awake. Instead of taking the easy (and quick) way home on the highways, we cut through the mountains. These mountain roads were intense. White-knuckled, gripping the ceiling if your me intense, as the road hugged the very steep cliffsides. And they don’t have road barriers like they do in Canada. Instead of a solid metal rail that will probably keep you from plummeting to your death, there’s some wooden spikes and a string at the very edge of the cliff. As if to say: we suggest you don’t go any further than here, but that’s on you. Will not be wanting to do those roads in the winter. We passed by some world-famous ski resorts, like Gstaad, on our way home. Also pretty cool when you realize Gstaad is a couple of hours from your house. It was a full weekend for us, and we didn’t arrive home until well after dark, after picking up some French McDonald’s. Is it wrong that I feel so disappointed in France for having McDonald’s? I mean, we still go there. And welcome it, since it’s the only thing open on Sunday night at 8, literally, in the whole country. Oh well, a philosophical debate for someone when they are not hungry.

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