We have been very privileged to be staying with our friends Karin & Elvis in their home in Switzerland. They have been tour guides extraordinaire, great cooks and great company. We have had a great time with a little mix of everything from going up mountains, walking around lakes, going to football matches and just chilling at home.
It has also been nice doing some domestic things – Karin & Elvis have built a house so there are always lots of bits and pieces to do so Saturday we helped water blast the pool and mow the lawns. Karin & I ventured to the river and collected river stones for the garden. They both work elsewhere during the week so they went back to work on Monday so we were left to our own devices – I felt like a right domestic goddess this morning making rissoles for our dinner, organising breakfast and then making a picnic lunch. The simple things in life. Also being able to watch the French Open live is a bonus – no middle of the night viewing. Loved our day that we had there last week – so cool!
Yesterday we drove to Schwanden where Karin teaches at the high school – about 1.5 hours from here. She has invited us to attend her English class where the kids are studying NZ – how fortuitous! One of her students – Andre – had written us a letter last week to invite us. Anyway they are looking at the tourist spots in Rotorua so we have to join in the group work so they can practice their English. For those of you who have ever received a text or email from Steve you will know that English is not his strong point – who knows what they may learn!
The kids in Karin’s class range from 13 to 15 – they were all very polite coming up, shaking our hands and introducing themselves. We had to introduce ourselves to the class and remember to speak slowly so they could understand us.
We then played a game where they have these words on a card and you have to say what the other tense is, eg took and taken. I got the first few wrong – how embarrassing! Once you had 5 right you moved onto someone else – the objective for them is to collect as many cards as possible. It’s back to the drawing board if you run out of cards.
They then had the exercise to do about Rotorua – they had to read a travel writers blog and then answer some questions about what they had read. They did this in groups so Steve & I joined different groups – I stuck with my group but Mr Social was flitting from group to group.
We then had question time – the kids had prepared some questions prior to class. The first question was – do we know any NZ tongue twisters? We couldn’t think of any on the spot so moved on to question two – do you have a relationship! She was meaning are we in a relationship – we had to smile.
Steve had mentioned he played table tennis so the kids were all keen to take him on – some of them had their own bats because there are two tables at the school. Once the class had finished we went down to play – Steve had them all lining up to play while some of the others were playing a type of roulette handball which I joined in. It was great fun.
The kids then had another class as did Karin so we walked back to her parent’s place to catch up with them which was nice before Karin returned.
We drove back to Buochs over the Klausen Pass which gets up to 1,900 metres. There were some great views and still a bit of snow higher up. Some of the houses are built with a hill behind them so when an avalanche hits it just flows over them. We stopped off at this waterfall which was lovely. We then stopped in Altdorf which is in the canton of Uri (one of the first cantons in Switzerland and where Karin’s dad is from) to see the William Tell monument.
William Tell is known throughout the world. He’s the man who in Altdorf, under duress from the Habsburg Vogt Gessler, shot an apple from his son’s head with a crossbow and, with the second arrow, killed Gessler in the Hohle Gasse. But did WilliamTell really exist?
The answer is that there are no historically proven sources confirming his existence. Tell is a mythical figure, a freedom fighter and tyrant killer who is said to have lived in the 13th and 14th century. Tell-like figures also existed elsewhere. The legend of the apple-shot and tyrant murder first appeared in Denmark in the 13th century. Similar stories are well known in England too. The fearless, courageous man of the mountains achieved world wide fame as the eponymous figure in Friedrich Schiller’s 1804 drama “William Tell”. Since the end of the 19th century William Tell has been recognised as Switzerland’s national hero.