Wednesday began with a scenic drive through the Brunigassstrasse with twisting roads, numerous tunnels, breathtaking views of valleys, green hillsides, waterfalls and lakes. Arriving at the Ballenberg Open Air Museum, the North American tourists were guided through only a handful of the 100 examples of regional buildings in Switzerland. Next it was off to the town of Faulensee for a short cruise on Lake Thun where sights included the stunning Alpine range and hillside vineyards. After arriving in Thun, the group enjoyed a visit to Thun Castle built between 1180 and 1199. Guides, Monica Naef and Elizabeth Metter provided expert descriptions of the priceless tapestries among other items in the Museum.
Every six years or so the Association has, with the aid of the Swiss Schürch group, taken a tour of sites that are connected to our family heritage in Switzerland, the Alsace and Germany. There have been three, the latest of which took place in September 2013, for nine days.
Heritage Tour 2013
Cousins gathered in Liberty International Airport, New Jersey for their overnight flight to Zurich. Upon arrival were met by the tour guide Hildrun Mathies, whom we had on the 2007 tour. After checking in to the hotel a walking tour of Zurich was next. The tour included Zurich’s Limmat River area through the narrow streets and passages of the Altstadt or Old Town, as well as historic Fraumunster and Grossmunster churches. Located at the northern end of Lake Zurich, the town has been inhabited for as long as 2,000 years.The following day the group headed off first to the Täuferhöhle Anabaptist Cave at Homestead Holenstein near Baretswil where they were met by adjacent farm-owners Jurg and Barbara Schoch-Jenni. After a long, sometimes-steep hike to the cave there was a brief worship service where early Anabaptists held secret services under a sometimes cascading waterfall. Then it was off to the lovely town of Lucern along Lake Lucern where all were impressed with the plethora of frescos on numerous buildings, especially those of the guilds, and in the covered bridge. Swans on the lake completed the picturesque view.