Swiss customs: Banntag

Banntag is a tradition in the canton of Baselbiet (another term for Basel-Landschaft), some parts of Solothurn and some parts of lower Zurich. On Auffahrtstag (the Swiss German for Christi Himmelfahrt – Ascension Day) or a selected other day in May, the community divides into groups and walks around the boundary of the the parish. Originally, the point was to check that all the milestones/boundary stones were in the right place and the neighbouring parish hadn’t sneakily moved any to make their own area bigger. Back then, only men were allowed to take part and in Liestal that’s still the case. This year’s ascension day was bright and sunny, so we decided to take part in our town’s Banntag celebration. Here are some photos:

Part of the way round, we stopped at a local vineyard where we were given wine and a sort of bread with bacon bits in it (water and soft drinks were also available, but who over the age of 16 drinks those at a vineyard?).

Later on the route, a large tent had been set up and there was food and drink for sale.

Bunting with the coats of arms of all the cantons had been strung up in the tent. The two to the very right in the photo below are Baselland (in red) and Basel-Stadt (black). The symbol is a Baselstab or Baselerstab – a crosier or pastoral staff. I was sitting on the wrong side of the bunting, so they’re actually facing the wrong way – the Baselland one is supposed to face to the right!

Banntag

All in all, the walk was 10 kilometres. I must admit, I was glad to see the farm that was our goal! Once there, you could get more food and drink – someone was giving out tokens for a little parcel containing a piece of bread and a sausage, but somehow we missed out on that. We did buy a small cake each though – which I had demolished before I even thought about getting the camera out 😉

It was a beautiful day and a nice walk… and also a good opportunity to discover what ground our town actually covers! We left before the real party got started – it’s not much fun when you don’t know anyone, and almost everyone was way older than us – but on the way home I couldn’t resist taking a few more photos of the cows at the farm and the scenery. I still can’t quite believe that this beauty is within 20 minutes walk of my house!

Look up, Look down: Madeira

I’m right in the middle of my Madeira posts, and I didn’t want to abandon the tales of my trip for look up, look down. Fortunately, I did manage to take some photos looking both up and down in Madeira, so I can take part in the challenge and still continue telling you about my holiday.

The first photo was taken from Eira do Serrado, a viewing point just beside our hotel. The town/village thing you can see surrounded by all the mountains is Curral Das Freiras, Valley of the Nuns.

Curral das Freiras viewed from Eira do Serrado
Curral das Freiras viewed from Eira do Serrado

My second photo shows some of the fabulous flora that is abundant on the island. It was taken in the tropical garden in Monte… I just love the way the red looks against the blue of the sky!

Madeira flowers

And finally another photo of the chilli stand that I posted some pictures of yesterday. This shot was taken from the lower level of the market, looking up at the stand.

Funchal market

Have a photo that would be perfect for the theme Look Up, Look Down? Check out Travel With Intent’s blog post to join in and see all the other entries!

Calw

I haven’t posted in a while because there hasn’t been anything to say. When I wasn’t at work, I was proofreading somebody’s PhD thesis (written in English by a German), which is basically also work. In between I managed to watch some football, but seeing as anyone who is interested has probably been watching that themselves I don’t feel the need to blog about it. After all this work with no play, I was desperate for a change of scenery yesterday – if only to get my away from the housework for a while! So Jan and I decided to go to Calw.

Calw is about an hour’s drive from Karlsruhe, in the Black Forest. It’s famous for being the birthplace of German author Hermann Hesser – among other things, he wrote the novel Steppenwolf. Some of you may remember the 60s band of the same name. (I, of course, am far too young ;-)).
Our first stop on arriving in Calw was thus the Hermann Hesse Museum, for obvious reasons. Unfortunately we didn’t arrive til 4:30 p.m. and the museum closed at 5, so we only had time for a quick look. We could have done with more time to read everything properly, but what we did manage to take in was interesting.

Having seen the museum, we went to have a proper look around town. Calw is located in the Nagold valley, which allowed it to escape being bombed during the war. This means lots and lots of pretty old buildings. Just the kind of town I like!
Here is the Marktplatz. You can see the half-timbered houses and the Market Fountain in the background:

Calw Marktplatz

Marktplatz again, this time taken from right next to the fountain:

Hermann Hesse was born in this house:

Hermann Hesse birth house

I took a photo of a lantern, just because I always do.

Lantern and rooves

Later, we walked down to the river and I took this picture because I liked the reflection of the clouds in the water:

River Nagold

In the evening, we ate at a cafe/bar place called Kult – their homemade soups are delicious! – and stayed there to watch the football before heading home. It was a lovely day in a beautiful town (we were lucky that the weather decided to be nice for a change, but unlike Würzburg, I think Calw would still be pretty on a rainy day) and I get to cross another German town off my list of places to see. Not a bad Saturday at all 🙂