Feldschiessen in Switzerland [469 km]

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Having bought some concert tickets months ago, my holiday starts Friday evening in Munich: Buck Roger and the Sidetrackers is one of the best current live bands in town and the only mismatch is the late evening music hours vs. my early alarm clock. With the best compromise of it, I enjoy great music with some friends and the knowledge that my first night with Hector will be a well-sleeping one.

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Saturday leads me to Switzerland. Courageously, I try to ignore the fact that I am usually not very fond of the country, especially not of the distanced allures of its inhabitants. Fortunately, this time is different: based on Svenjas wonderful travelling blog, I head for Aeschi at the Thuner See (near Bern) and stumble into a parallel world. This, for sure, has been the original picture for all Märklin facsimiles that have ever been built. Green meadows with happy cows, rough mountains with fresh snow and the cutest little villages you can imagine – all of this together show up around me. The first sentence out of my mouth when arriving at the local camp-site is: Wow, this is so beautiful! Lucky me that the camp-site’s owner is right around the corner and does not stand a chance against my overwhelming charm and compliments.

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It is only when I turn off Hectors music and and pumping Diesel engine that I realize that this idyll is a fake one: gunshots echo through the mountains and it sounds like a whole battalion is busy killing their worst groups of enemies all over and over again. The Swiss are totally at ease with it, as this is the yearly Feldschiessen and it is an accepted tradition here.

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I take the free bus to the centre of Aeschi and there they are: all men (starting at the age of about 14 years) are there, all armed with weapons and guns, accompanied by their loyal wives, gathering around the central Dorfschänke and celebrating their shots. For me as German, this appears quite strange as for all that I grew up with, it is impossible to imagine crowds of armed men and not panicking. However, I get over my natural shyness and end up with some pretty nice elderly men, posing with their weapons and with some pride in front of my camera.

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This is only the first day of this year’s holidays. When I fall asleep in Hector’s upper bed later that evening, I feel far away of all business or other duties and enjoy the sensation of new impressions and strange (but really friendly) people whose language and traditions I only understand in fragments. Later that night I wake up by rolling thunder and heavy rain, when a flash of a thought runs through my head:„Faradayscher Käfig“ – instantly, I fall back asleep.

I love travelling with Hector.

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