Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day in Ballenberg

We spent all day Saturday unpacking and making our new apartment livable. It was a grand effort as our apartment came with no lights so Luke had to drill into the concrete ceilings for all the bedrooms, living room, kitchen, etc. Plus we downgraded from a 6.5 piece apartment to a 3.5 piece apartment so we have WAY too much stuff and had to ask for an extra cave (aka storage room) to store all the things we now need to sell. It took us the entire day to make our apartment a home. So Sunday we decided to do something fun. 

We drove to the Swiss city of Ballenberg which is really a large open air museum. 

There are more than 100 century old buildings from all over Switzerland. Each building had a description and most had some sort of exhibit such as bread making, weaving, etc.
It was an awesome place to go with a preschooler. Jack loved running around outside, going in and out of the homes.

One of the houses had an exhibit of how cheese was made 100 years ago. We even got to buy some homemade cheese that was made that day from the cows outside. It was delicious!

We had lunch in the Tincino region where the houses have more of an Italian flair

Although it was a great place for kids, it was not stroller friendly. Most of the paths were rocks and steps and made pushing a stroller a pain in the butt

There were lots of animals for Jack to chase

And even a petting zoo
There was also an area just for kids with a carousel

And swings
And a slide ... with a view!
On a completely different note, I thought I'd take a second to talk about a real difficulty raising a child here in Switzerland. Here in the Swiss playgrounds, the kids can be downright nasty. I have noticed that parents here do not seem to intervene or even pay attention to their kids at the playground. Thus, there are many bullies. I have no problem giving a tongue lashing to a 4 year old bully, but the problem is that none of the kids here speak English. So reprimanding a child who has just shoved Jack is very difficult. I know a few phrases in French, but now that we are living closer to the German areas I think I need to learn some German phrases. Case in point, this little boy (shown below, running with the hat) was the playground bully. He would stand at the top of the slide and step on the kids hands who were trying to climb up, then he would shove them down the slide. I saw him do it to Jack and for Jack's sake I wanted to punish that kid so Jack knew what he did was wrong. But the little boy spoke German and his parents were no where to be found. So I just said what I needed to say in English, gave him the evil eye and he tried my best to scare him. Jack felt validated that I stood up for him, but the little bully had no idea what I said and continued to bully all the other kids. In a country that has 4 national languages (none of which are English) I guess the language barrier will always be a problem.
Anyways, back to my original post. Jack loved Ballenberg. We spent the whole day outside enjoying the beautiful landscape
And Jack was thrilled to see all the farm animals
Although we spent the whole day there, we only saw half of what there was to see. So we will be going back. I would highly recommend a visit here if you ever have a chance.
And to top off the day, we were able to enjoy chocolate from the Ballenberg chocolaterie. 


  1. Gorgeous pictures! I would love to take Daisy there. Another chapter for "Europe with Kids," right?

  2. Sorry about the bullies! We have dealt with that a little here, but at least I CAN speak to them. Levi is always so shocked at their behavior. It breaks your heart.