Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Visit to a Swiss Town

I think Heaven can be found in Läufelfingen, Switzerland! After our cruise we visited my sister-in-law's family, and had the opportunity to stay in "Grandma's" house. It certainly was dreamy!


It is difficult to spell and pronounce, but Läufelfingen, is located at the southern tip of one of the valleys branching out from Basel. To leave Läufelfingen to the south, one must either go through a tunnel or over the mountain. We enjoyed both routes... but I think my brother, who did most of the driving, enjoyed the windy road over the ridge and into the next valley - perhaps more than his passengers did!


Läufelfingen is built along the hillsides on either side of the valley. It is home to about 1300 residents. Many of the homes are ancient by American standards.


As you can see, the town is surrounded by farm lands. There are also many cherry trees, but most are not in organized orchards, planted row by row as we would see them here.

Screen shot from Google Maps
This is the main street in Läufelfingen. Uh, yeah... it is rather quiet! The market we visited for morning breakfast goodies is located on the left, where the car is parked.


The town has several water troughs. I guess they remain from the days when folks would carry their buckets to collect water for home.  The water may also have been for horses and other animals coming through the village. 


Here is another water trough. Do you see what looks like a Spruce tree mounted on the right end of the trough? It is decorated with red and white ribbons and has a wreath below.


Here is a closer view. The decorated tree is part of the annual May Day celebration. Evidently this is a huge thing in Switzerland.  The day we left I noticed that the trees were being taken down.


This is "Grandma's" house. It is an old farm house, that was renovated in the 60's. Originally the building on the right was the barn, and the home was on the left. My sister-in-law spent many weekends and summers living here. Now, the barn houses a garage and the entry and stairs for the home. The renovation is not complete. The plans called for a great room and bedrooms in the barn area. They are not finished. In fact, there is a door on the top floor of the residence that goes nowhere. The floor for the 'future' bedrooms still needs to be constructed. 


This is the back of "Grandma's" house. Before it was renovated, the wood areas were typical Swiss balconies with railings made from slats of wood with cutouts. 



Perhaps the balcony looked something like this:



All of the stairs were originally located outside the home. 

There was a small building behind the house. It was the original laundry and probably was the first part of the building with running water. My sister-in-law remembers taking baths in there, when it was warm. In cold weather water was heated on the stove in the kitchen and a curtain was put up around an old tin tub.

Here, the laundry is located on the right. The main part of the house can be seen over the roof. The building to the left is the original barn. 




Mr. Dreamy is standing in the back entrance. Originally, this would have been a door into the barn, but today it leads to the stairs leading to the main living area of the house.


Here he is from another angle. Notice all of the firewood stacked below what would have been the balconies before the remodel. The basement area has a laundry room, a bomb shelter and an old root cellar. By law, all Swiss homes must have a 'safe room'.


The firewood was used for this stove. I neglected to get a picture of the other side of the wall, where a tile outcropping, with another fire box, extended into the living room. My sister-in-law remembers sitting on the tile to keep warm in the winter.


It seems that most of the Swiss homes have lace curtains. This isn't really a curtain, per se, but I liked looking out the window and seeing the stone cat outside, looking in. Grandma's house has several stone cats adorning window stills and door stoops. 



I am in love with this little town. One of my favorite things was listening to the cows in a near-by 'pasture'. You could hear their bells as they grazed on the hillside below their combination house/barn Swiss home. Hearing the bells made me happy. (I apologize for the poor quality of the video - I couldn't get closer to the cows.... but you can hear the bells!)

video

Apparently, not everyone likes the bells. We heard that folks who had moved to town from another location were complaining about the noise of the cowbells. How sad. In my way of thinking, the cows epitomize life in a Swiss town. You know, Heidi, and all of that!



Picture credits:

5 comments:

  1. Oh, what an amazing visit! History, family and fun all rolled into one package. I'm not sure you can top that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for taking me to this lovely little town with the un-pronouncable name :). The skies are so blue, and the air must be so lovely out there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the bells, and I was thinking of Heidi too!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a lovely town! It looks like the houses did when I lived in Bavaria, which is in southern Germany. My family likes little towns like that.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I´m 45 year old woman, it´s just my Mom and me and I´ve never had the chance to travel anywhere, not even around my own city. You provided me a wonderfoul journey with the pictures of that place, so I just wanted to say Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

What thoughts do you have?