A Swiss Thanksgiving
OK, so the Swiss obviously don't celebrate American Thanksgiving. But for the first time, I was not able to be at home for my favorite holiday. However, I think we put together quite a good spread, complete with turkey, and I got to spend Thanksgiving with some good friends. Success!
Switzerland, as well as other neighboring countries, have these wonderfully festive markets where you can find all sorts of gifts and decorations, as well as delicious glühwein
We went to Basel, to one of the largest in Switzerland. It was beautiful, and a lot of fun!
However, I found that snow is much more enjoyable (even without the time off) when I do not have a car. No snow to clear off, no icy roads to worry about, and no cold car to sit in as it verrry slowly warms up. Just a walk to the bus as normal.
And since there is very little wind, the snow came down slowly and it stayed put. It stayed on tree branches, on rooftops, and even on fences. The constant snowing refreshed the old snow, so it stayed pristine and white. Unfortunately it was also slippery due to a lack of proper snow boots, but it was beautiful!
Talk about a winter wonderland. For some strange reason I find myself with very few pictures, but I assure you it was gorgeous!
Then came a procession of men and boys in white robes, each with a huge, lighted bishop's hat on his head. These were made from cardboard and intricately designed. Then colored, transparent paper was put on the inside and it was lit from within with candles. It gave it a incredible stained-glass look. They were gorgeous and ranged from about 2-5 feet high. They paraded and danced past, and I was pleasantly surprised that no one fell over.
Next came Samichlaus, accompanied by his Schmutzlis, men dressed in hooded robes whose purpose I don't really know.
The next part explained quite well why a coworker suggested that we wear earplugs.
Hundreds (they just kept coming) of men, each carrying a huge cowbell that bounced against their knees in unison as they walked by. Loud is an understatement. After them came about 200 more men, this time blowing cow horns, also in unison. Traditionally, all of the noise was meant to banish darkness and evil.
By the time we left, my ears were ringing and my toes were numb, but it was well worth it!
Conclusion: Christmas season is Switzerland is fantastic.
Next up comes snowboarding season!