Heritage Tour (Continued)
Moving closer to the conclusion of the heritage tour was the Family Banquet at Hotel Landgasthof Bären, Sumiswald on Saturday evening. Invited guests included the Swiss Family Association, SGNS. A special guest was Mayor Caspar Waber, who welcomed all with a speech including an apology for wrongdoings to Schürchs in the past.
Oergelifamilie Leuenberger and Heimatgruppe Mirchel provided traditional entertainment. Cousin Kurt Schürch joined the family music by playing the broomstick and also helped the Oergelifamilie Leuenberger family sons in an exhibition of Swiss-style wrestling! Reciprocating, the tourist contingent sang from the hymn, “Gott is die Liebe” in English and German as well as a few North American folk songs.
The last full day in the Sumiswald area before leaving for Bern, was Sunday, with a fitting service at the Täuferloch Anabaptist worship site in the Kurzenei Valley east of Wasen. The exact location was a long walk through a saddle shaped feature during rather damp weather to a site well isolated with a very steep bluff on one side and tall, near perfectly cylindrical shaped mound flanking the opposite side of the small worship site.
Back on the bus, the tour continued to the Gsang homestead of Casper Schürch and Margaret Trüssel, birthplace of sons Ulrich Schürch, code E, and Jacob Schürch the father of Ulrich Schürch, code N. The homestead is now owned by Uli & Rosa Baugartner-Eggimann. It is located high above the valley overlooking the town of Hambuhl and homestead of the Grundbachs on the opposite hill, where the Maria Grundbach was born and later became the wife of Ulrich, Code N.
Fittingly, the next site visited was the birthplace of Ulrich, Code N, Stagmatt, home of Jacob Schürch and Barbara Brand. Built by Jacob, the homestead dates from about 1689. René and Doris Röthlisberger- Zürcher own the homestead. After lunch at Restaurant Krummholzbad, the group travelled to the Trachselwald Castle where Schürch Anabaptists were imprisoned, including Ulrich Schürch, Code E. Tour members Bob Miller and Tom Sherk were brave enough to try the crude beds and shackles! The bus returned for a final night at Luderenalp with free time to hike, watch the cows and listen one last time to their distinct sounding bells, or pack for a last farewell to Sumiswald.
Monday morning all awoke realizing it was the last full day in Switzerland. Traveling to Bern with a stop at the Burgdorf Castle, which is about 800 years old, all were impressed with the spectacular site looming over the valley. Today the castle is an excellent and well-appointed museum. Finally reaching Bern and checking into the hotel, there was a walking tour of the old city including the Rosengarten and a panoramic view of the Aare River and dock area where the Schürchs, among other Anabaptists, were either voluntarily or forced into exile by river boat. Also viewed was the Bern Cathedral and famous Bear Pit.
An unexpected surprise was made by member Tim Vogt who discovered several Schürch names on a plaque in the Muenster Church listing those who died defending Switzerland during the Napoleonic wars. The plaque became an instant hot spot as members snapped numerous flash photos lighting up the church in ways it has probably never seen!
The closing dinner was held at the Restaurant Kornhauskeller, which was a former grainery in the heart of Bern. Returning to the hotel by tram, there was a short wrap-up meeting followed by a well deserved night of rest. Rising by 4:30 a.m., all were on the bus to Zurich Airport at 5:45 a.m. Final farewells were given to Hildrun and driver Gunther as members checked in and continued to their planes back to North America.
Vilen dank all Swiss cousins, Hildrun and Gunther! Auf Wiedersehen!