A Travellerspoint blog

Wil 9/3/16

sunny 6 °C
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Today we went on a hike in the mountains behind the house where we're staying. We saw hawks and other birds. It is also possible to see wild boar, foxes, deer, lynxes and bears. Lynxes are medium sized wild cats that are really shy. They can grow up to 70 cm long, and can be as heavy as 30 kg which is more the me!

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The bears live alone and have a big territory that goes as far as Austria, Russia, Switzerland and Germany. Our friend Patrick says one will visit every few years and when he does the locals freak out, LOL ;) The bears are hibernating at the moment so we didn't see any. The type of bear is a Eurasian brown bear, its fur can be up to 10cm long and so can its claws. The largest Eurasian brown bear recorded was 481kg and nearly two and a half metres long. Mum was really glad they were all asleep!

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On the way down the mountain we also saw Goats called Grappa Grischa that were nearly extinct until one of the local farmers started breeding them. They have huge beards and horns. The beards are goatees (get it?) ;)

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Lucinda picked baerlauch (bear leek) which is a wild garlic to make pesto for dinner, it was really yummy. She also picks wild mushrooms, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries that come in late spring.

We saw hunting boxes and bird boxes in the trees. We climbed up into one of the hunting boxes and it was not very comfortable, it only had a carpet on a piece of wood. The hunters put out food on the ground then sit and wait. The hunting boxes are called a hide. They are called this because the hunters hide in them. They are shooting the wild boar because too many boars would be bad for the environment, they trample the forests and destroy the meadows.

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People make bird boxes to give shelter to the birds in the winter. Few of the birds use the small boxes but they make big bird boxes for the owls who often use them for nesting. They use the owl boxes to tag the baby owls in late spring. They get the mama owl out by holding a net in front of the owl box, then they hit the owl box and the mama owl flies out into the net. She gets really upset but is soon put back with her babies.

There was also snow (good snow that could be compacted easily). The best shot for a snowball fight is in between someone's jacket and their skin, that is the best shot possible.

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(Pictures of the Lynx and the bear are from Google searches.)

Posted by wott.on.earth 05:39 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Olive 9/3/16


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Today we had our official tour of the house, we had already had a small one to show us where we eat and sleep. The house is so cool! I didn't realise that they had a barn, upstairs!

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We're staying with our friends: Lucinda, Patrick, Angelino and Raphael, in a village outside Basel at the foot of the mountains. It is the home of 2,000 people.

The house is almost 400 years old and soon they'll have a huge party to celebrate. The outside walls are more than half a metre thick. In a hole in the wall inside the back door there is a bible that's 200 years old. It came with the house.

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In the barn there's a punching bag, and gloves. Plus tables in an open area, the walls were just wooden planks, so it got cold just like outside. Lucinda is an artist and she held her last exhibition here.

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She showed us her wood block studio, were she stands for hours, carving a piece of wood. She is great and really clever! It's incredible what you can do with a simple block of wood.

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A few days ago, it snowed.

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We had a snowball fight and we built a snowman. We called him Olav after the Viking King. We had so much fun! I ran around with my face up to catch as much snow as I could.

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It's dad's birthday tomorrow, and we're celebrating tonight. The adults are having Fondue, which is three or four different melted cheeses mixed with white wine and a spirit called Kirsch, which gives it a tang. You dip bread in it. Obviously the kids didn't have that, we had Raclette which is a cheese melted in a special oven, then poured onto potatoes and sometimes sausages. It was yummy!

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Posted by wott.on.earth 05:13 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

Wil 7/3/16

semi-overcast 0 °C
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Today we went to a cheese factory that makes Swiss cheese that is exported to America. It was really smelly and there wasn't any information about how to make cheese. We watched a lady looking after the machines and switching the paddles. She had a hose and we think she might have accidentally sprayed water into the cheese!

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My favourite part was the playground because the was A HAMSTER WHEEL! I ran soooo fast (P.S got video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/6rrqnUqHs4E ) I fell on my face about 600 million times but it was so much fun.

On the way we saw a castle on the side of the mountain. We looked it up to see what it was called, and we found a virtual tour online, which is good because we didn't have time to stop.

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Here's a link http://www.neu-bechburg.ch/fileadmin/virtualtour/virtualtour.php?start

Posted by wott.on.earth 08:19 Archived in Switzerland Comments (1)

Wil 6/3/16

sunny 4 °C

Today is our first full day in Switzerland and we went to a museum in Sissach (pronounced SEE-sac) near where we are staying. It was called the Heimatmuseum, meaning folk museum. In the museum there where rifles, pistols, swords, knifes, daggers, crossbows, axes, spears, armour, grenades, and bayonets that could be attached to the rifles. I think it is REALLY cool that we could touch all of them. None of the guns were loaded and all of the blades were blunt so we couldn't hurt ourselves. There was also a section on traditional costumes and looms that make fancy silk ribbons.

About 150 years ago the farmers got really angry at the government because they thought they where paying too much tax. When the government didn't care about what they thought, the farmers went to war against the government and their soldiers. These where the some of the weapons and costumes from that time. After that war the city and the farmland were separated into Basel-Stadt (Basel-City) and Basel-Landschaft (Basel-Land), and the each have their own local government, which means that the farmers were represented in the parliament, and they got to have their a say.
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Posted by wott.on.earth 09:40 Archived in Switzerland Comments (1)

Olive 6/3/16

Today we are in Switzerland in a town called Itingen. We are so close to the border, we can still see Germany from the mountain tops. We did a hike in the mountains to see the ruins of a castle. The castle is the Bischofstein Castle. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance. It was really fun, a 30 minute walk each way through woods that covered the mountainside. There were lots of doorways, one led to a useless tiny triangular room. I mean, what would you use it for? Write in the comments what you think it's purpose is! 90_88C6C815051BF3B81C87B5C7A4B275B4.jpeg
This one has snow in it because none of the rooms had a roof. Originally it did have a roof, obviously.

There were so many corridors! I couldn't believe it.
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In that photo, at the top left corner you can see a grill of some sort. People seem to have stopped, lit fires and camped here. There were other campfires nearby.

In the museum that Wil is writing about, we saw a model of the castle from when it wasn't ruins, so we could compare them. Large parts of the structure were broken and missing. One part that was still standing, though crumbling, was a tower, which we climbed.
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For safety reasons, they placed a barricade around the ladder.
In the top, there was a hole that reached right down to the bottom again.
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We got stuck. Just kidding! There was a ladder, but we didn't show it in the picture.

There was a well in what would have been a courtyard, it had a grate on it, probably so no one would fall in. In the stony castle, no one expected what we found down it! 180_88F5237406BFDAED39CCEA871B87752A.jpeg
Green!

There are two versions of how the castle became ruins: one is that there was a huge earthquake in 1350, and after the castle was destroyed, the people of the town just left it there and didn't rebuild. The other is that about 150 years ago local farmers thought they were paying too much tax to the ruler of Basel, and they didn't want to be part of Basel anymore. While fighting the soldiers, they protested by burning down the nearby castles. The rifles Wil is writing about, are the same ones that the soldiers were using.

Posted by wott.on.earth 00:23 Archived in Switzerland Comments (1)

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