In the Swiss city of Thun, the year 2014 will be marked by ongoing festivities, festivals, and cultural highlights. The celebrations have been chosen to highlight and mark the work, cultural contribution, and political development of women in these 750 years. The reason for this extraordinary theme for a basically medieval jubilee lies in the person of the founder of the city: Countess Elisabeth of Kyburg.
Switzerland is an odd little country in Central Europe bordering Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Liechtenstein. It contains more oddities than people, I think, and I want to present a few of these weird peculiarities to you. They might also give you some ideas as to what is going wrong in other, larger, countries.
La Suisse n’existe pas (French for Switzerland doesn’t exist) was once used as the title for the Swiss exhibit at a World Exhibition. It set the Swiss media aflame with outraged indignation; despite that, it was nothing but a statement of fact.
Thun is a small town near Bern situated on Lake Thun. It has been inhabited continuously since Celtic and through Roman times. Having been of minor importance all the time, it has remained a small town which makes it perfect to explore on foot.
The city of Fribourg is located only 20 miles from Berne, but is today mainly French speaking though it started out as a German speaking city. It boasts the only Catholic University in Switzerland and has retained its medieval character throughout the city to this day. If you want to get a feeling for the lifestyle 600 years back, this is the place to visit.
Berne, seat of the Swiss federal government, lists as one of its main attractions the ‘Bärengraben’, the compound of bears. After the death of the last bear in April 2009, the new bears have arrived these days, a gift from Dimitri Medwedew, the President of Russia due in Berne end of September 2009.
Lausanne is best known as the world’s Olympic capital; sometimes it is called the World Sports Capital as well. But it is also a charming town on Lake Geneva with a friendly population that makes you feel very much at home anytime you visit.
Always on the fourth Monday in November, the city centre of Bern is awash with onions. The yearly onion market has a long tradition, going back to the feast of St. Martin, when the cities of Southern Germany all had large markets, pageants, and communal dinners to mark summer passing into autumn.
R J Evans published an article on the not quite standard saint Santa Muerte in Central America The Strange Cult of Santa Muerte: Saint Death. In it, he claimed quite correctly an Austrian influence on this strange phenomenon. As this might seem a strange connotation to many, I am following it up with information on the strange burial rites of the Austrian Imperial family.