Fri 06 Jan 2006 08:42:12 PM CET
Mom and I left Basel for Trub today. We drove through several small little towns until we got here. It is TINY! We're staying at the Gasthof zum Lüwen which is a tavern/hotel. Our room is right above the party room, and it's friday night, so I'm not sure how much sleep we'll get tonight.
My mother's family, the Wüthrich's, came from Trub. My great-great-grandfather moved to East Prussia (what is now Poland) and then the family returned back to Switzerland once the Russians invaded during WWII. Apparently a lot of people come from here. According to my mom, over 250,000 people can trace their heritage back to this tiny little village.
Walking around the town at night, we found a list of famous families from Trub and their associated coats of arms. I found the Wüthrich coat of arms, as well as Tanner (the last name of one of my uncles back in the states). A coat of arms of note for all you aggies is Baumgartner. Isn't that one of the yell leaders' names? Or wait... was that T-Baum?
We walked up and down the main road in Trub to get a feel for the town. It's a very small community waaaay up in the foothills. There's still about a foot of snow on the ground, and the clouds cleared off before the sun set. It's so clear up here. Still a bit light polluted, but you can see more stars than I have in quite a while. The moon was waxing about 1/2 way full, but the light reflecting off the snow made it so bright you could see for miles, even though there wasn't a streetlight around.
We walked up to a cheese factory where all the farmers were bringing their milk. Seriously, we were passed by at least 15 cars pulling little trailers with milk cannisters. They backed up to the dairy and a guy with a big tube opened the cannisters and sucked all the milk out. I'm assuming they get paid by the liter or something.
We had dinner in another little hotel down the street from ours. Mom and I had Rostig, which is fantastic. I am so totally making it back in the states. Basically swiss hash browns, but much better than anything you can get at IHOP.
We're going to see Tante Kätie tomorrow morning. Or, rather she's coming to see us. She lives up on top of one of the mountains. We came to see her and her husband Ernst last time we all were here in '98. Ernst and Kätie Wüthrich lived in the Wüthrich family home on this hill up until a few years ago when they sold it. In the Swiss tradition, ownership of the family farm is passed down to the youngest son, when the parents grow old. The parents move to the Stückli, the "Mother-in-law" little house near the farm for the rest of their days.
Ernst and Kätie only had one son, and he could not find a woman who wanted to live with him up on the mountain. Apparently, he got so disparaged that he committed suicide, leaving them with the care of the farm. They kept the farm for as long as they were able, and then moved to the Stückli, and sold the farm. Ernst passed away in the past few years, leaving her. It's kinda sad, really.
Anyway, the roads are a bit uncertain, and we don't have a 4wd vehicle (I think we're lucky to have 4 cylinders) so she is coming down the mountain in her 4wd car/truck/whatever. She's 80 some odd years old, and still quite vivacious. Last time we were here in 98, she was in her 70's, and we went hiking with her. She left us panting in the dust. She said that she was expecting a shipment of heating wood in tomorrow so she was going to be stacking wood all tomorrow, but she will reschedule to come see us. Amazing woman. We're kinda torn between making her come down the mountain in her 4wd to come get us and not seeing her at all. I think it would be in poorer taste to not see her now that she knows we're here, just 10 km away. She seems pretty excited to have visitors.
Sat 07 Jan 2006 12:54:50 AM CET
After dinner, I went out walking a bit further north in town. Once the moon went down, the skies were absolutely gorgeous. I even saw a shooting star, and what I am assuming was the Northern Lights, but I could be wrong.
In the other part of the hotel, there was a band playing tonight. I stopped in and saw them for 12 CHF and had a beer for 5 CHF. The were called the Tornadoes, and on the wall was a promotional poster. It said: Tornadoes: Die Partie Band! They were actually pretty good, for a swiss cover band. Among the songs I heard:
Living on Tulsa Time (Pronounced Tool-saw)
Rock around the Clock
There was a dance floor and there were some couples dancing. Polka and jitterbug, mainly. They were pretty good. If you could mute all the sounds, you would have sworn you were in Texas. You had your preppy beautiful-people table, your bitter 35-ish poker night widows, your crowd of young punks, and even a few lesbians. I guess the world is a pretty small place.