Welcome to the A-Z Guidebook Link Up. If you would like to join, read the A-Z Guidebook tab at the top of the blog and write a travel post relating to the letter of the month.
*Compliments of the season. I know that it’s a busy time of year for most of you so thanks for those who take the time to contribute and to the readers who visit and comment on A-Z. This month:
S or Surprise
What seems like only yesterday but is quite some time ago now, Anthony and I took 18 months off work to travel around Europe with side trips to the Middle East, North Africa and delightfully balmy Florida. People asked us how we could afford to fund such a trip. There was of course lots of saving of leave, budgeting and planning involved but a big contributor was house swaps. One of those swaps was for three months in Bern, Switzerland. Bern is not very far (by Australian standards) from the Bernese Oberland, the primary mountain region with famous names such as the Matterhorn and Eiger. We spent many days there hiking up, down and across but on one particular Sunday, we decided to head to Ballenberg Swiss Open Air Museum which showcases traditional rural life.
As luck would have it, the day we visited was Mother’s Day so there was a special ‘gathering of the peoples’. Families, folk group and choirs from all over the country descended upon Ballenberg, each wearing the regional dress particular to their canton. The outfits were wonderful. Detailed embroidery, pretty aprons, decorated waistcoats, feathered hats, buckled leather shoes. Everyone was definitely turned out in their Sunday best. In addition to Ballenberg’s buildings and demonstrations of traditional craft and agriculture, there were folk dances, singing and plenty of laughter. We heard these horns from some distance and were surprised and delighted to see that the music was being provided by three women. As two Aussies who sometimes find it difficult to pin down what traditional ‘Australian culture’ is, this huge dose of Alpine merriment and Swiss nationalism on a Sunday afternoon was an eye opener and hugely enjoyable. Make sure it’s on your list.