Today Christianity celebrates Epiphany, or the revelation of Jesus Christ to humanity. Since living in Switzerland I tough that the catholic feast of the Three Kings was something else entirely than the orthodox one I was used to, Boboteaza = Baptism. It took me a while to understand that western and eastern Christians actually celebrate the same idea, the revelation of God incarnated as Jesus Christ and his manifestation to the world.
Here comes a Christmas tradition from a special canton of Switzerland, Appenzell Inner-Rhodes, the smallest Swiss federal state by population number and the last one to award women the right to vote in cantonal elections (only in 1991). Appenzell Inner-Rhodes is most known for the practice of Landsgemeinde, open voting by the raising of hands in the public town square, one of the oldest forms of direct democracy. This canton is also known for its unique folk costumes, naive paintings and agrarian traditions. Its relative isolation, it is located away from the main communication routes, was a contributing factor in the preservation of the specificity of traditional practices at various times of the year. One of these unique practices is the Chlausezüüg.
When I moved to Fribourg from the overcrowded and suffocating place where I lived before, shared with almost 4 other million souls, I had the impression nothing much was happening…no Christmas rush, no over the top Christmas lights or a huge Christmas market.
I still have one of the toys that Saint Nicholas left in my boots when I was a child, it’s a mother gorilla stuffed toy holding a baby gorilla in her arms. I had named her Uga because at that time I thought she looked like the daughter of Ugo Fantozzi, an Italian series my mother was watching on TV. I gave it to Friboy a while ago and told him that it was from Saint Nicholas, he was shocked because he doesn’t picture me as a child. I am his mom, I couldn’t have been a smaller person that believed in magic and waited impatiently for Saint Nicholas just like him. He never reacted like this when I showed him photos of me as a child, this gorilla made me that little girl in his eyes.
I wrote about the Old Highland Museum in a previous blog post in the context of their temporary exhibition of Swiss paper-cut art. However, this museum is well worth a visit for their permanent exhibition of traditional art and lifestyle of the Fribourg highlands.
“Drat, double drat and triple drat”, to quote Wacky Races’ Dick Dastradly, this city keeps the wonder in my eyes each time I discover something new. This year I finally got to see the 12 hours of Auge humorous bike competition and I completely understated why friends raved about it.
We discovered this amazing nature trail a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for a short hike close to home that could entice FriBoy. He thinks humans don’t need to walk because they have cars, bikes and other vehicles for this purpose, courtesy of evolution.
Ogoz island is a popular destination in the canton of Fribourg, laying in the lake of Gruyeres, reachable by foot in spring and summer when water recedes. We hiked to Ogoz last weekend for the first time and it didn’t disappoint. When it comes to nature I don’t really like to go to the crowded and popular places, I prefer remote and less known but Ogoz island is really a must for everyone living here or just visiting.
Last week I took Friboy on a guided visit of the Fribourg Cantonal Police Headquarters in Granges-Paccot, organised by Ecole des Parents. I have to admit I was probably more excited to see how the inside of a police station looks and how the emergencies call-center works than my son was.
This is one of my favorite hikes in Fribourg because it’s well hidden and goes through a forest and along a lake giving me the impression that I am far away from the urban world. These nature trails in the middle of the city make this place so appealing and special to me. Back when we used to live in Bucharest we had weekends to get away from the city and see some nature but it took so much time (spent in traffic) to get there that the trip defeated its purpose.