Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Ballenberg: Exactly the kind of place we like hanging out.

On Sunday morning we FINALLY went to Ballenberg. I say finally because it's seriously the most awesome place around. I have been talking it up to the kids for years and have them so brainwashed that if you asked them if they'd rather go to Ballenberg or Disneyland, they answer Ballenberg.

So, yet again, we woke up at the crack of dawn and piled in the car. Look at how excitedly exhausted we were to go.

No seriously, we're all super excited!

Ballenberg is an open air museum located near Brienz where they have transported houses and barns and other buildings from all over Switzerland and transported them all to this one place. They set them up in regions and even though you might have a house from the 1400s in one region next to a house from the 1700s in the same region, it's all very interesting.

That first house was set up with all kinds of information about the society for the preservation of Switzerland's costumes, music and some of the more fine trades (like lace making and jewellery).

In addition to all the displays about those things, many of the rooms were also set up as they may have been in that era.

We also got to listen to some Swiss rap.

Ahem. Yes, quite.

So then we went outside and pretended to be civilized.

If you're from my neck of the woods, you've probably been to Fort Langley or Burnaby Village Museum. Ballenberg is very similar, only on a much larger scale. You could easily spend two days here and not see everything. They put on plays and demonstrations and many of the buildings are working buildings with people going about their daily business in much the same way they might have when that building was in it's hey day.

They also try to have some animals that you might have seen. I'm quite partial to pigs myself.

The kids got to try pumping water. Although this gent did come and tell us that they have to pay for the water they pump, so don't do too much.

Just up from there was the drugstore. Surrounding the drug store building they have several gardens which grow things they might use in various tinctures and potions. Like echincea and lavendar.

Beside the drug store is a house where they actually make some of the things they sell in the working drug store.

And they had examples of things like early inhalers and some of the tools they use to make remedies.

And a beautiful garden.

Next to that was a farm.

With real, live scarecrows....

And a children's bedroom complete with toys and dress up clothes.

And later we found a kitchen that reminded dad of his own childhood.

The kids also got to try removing bark from logs.

And I chased chickens around.

In another house we watched a man making hats. They sell them on the spot and had many different hats for us to try on.

The house above was set up with many of the rooms furnished and then upstairs they had a lace making machine and examples of lace.

And then down the road we saw the biggest bean poles I'd seen up to that point.

Dad stopped to read the paper in the loo.

And we found another kitchen that reminded him of his childhood.

And then we found this house, full of children's toys!

Rob and I tried out stilts here many, many moons ago.

There was so very  much to look at and read. We spent about two hours doing the first quarter of the property, then realized we needed to run through the rest of it to try and see as much as possible.

Considering this was my third visit, you'd think I'd know better!

Those tall beam things in the field are for drying corn, right on the stalk!

I told you I like pigs. The animals made for some of my favorite pictures.

And then we found a carousel and the kids went for a ride.

There was a bit of a playground here with bowling and a petting zoo and even some other playground equipment.

He was my favorite part of the playground though. Just chillin'.
One of about four or five restaurants on the site. This one looked the most interesting.

I love how so many chalets in Switzerland have sayings on them. For some it's a favorite quote or verse, for others it might just be a name and a date. I love it.

By this point we really weren't even going in the buildings anymore, just desperately walking around, which is too bad.

The funny thing is, how we started to recognize the region we were in based on the building. We hadn't been to Wallis yet when we walked past this house, but we were there today and now looking at the pictures again, I knew instantly that this was from the Wallis region. There many of the houses have roofs like this one.

And many of them are as ramshackle and decrepit as this. Dad says it's a poor region, very rocky and dry and with extreme weather.

Elisabeth and I went into one building where we were able to watch a potter at work.

I don't think she'd ever seen a pottery wheel before.

Then we found a house with a children's enchanted forest in the basement. Elisabeth was completely creeped out and didn't want to do it.

And finally, I found pigs and got my favorite picture of the entire trip.

Then we had time for a quick drink from the fountain...

Maybe not so quick. It was very hot and we'd been running for a lonnnnnnng time.

And it was time to go. What a wonderful day. When we come back, we're planning to stay here and do the park in two days. ha ha. I think we need to move here.

In the parking lot, I found this car. I was in love. Dad says Grosspapa used to have one like this in red.