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(8) Swiss Heartland Untour 2014 (Day 9) Hergiswil Glass Factory

Swiss Heartland Untour - May 6 to June 4, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

We were both up at 6:10am.  Outside it was overcast and drizzling with a temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit.  We had been waiting for a clear day to go up into the mountains.  Hergiswil Glass Factory is a good rainy day destination.  It opens at 9:00am and is only an 18 minute train ride from Sachseln.  Eleanor wanted to take it easy that day.  All the walking aggravated her hands and wrists from the crutches.   So we planned to take it nice and easy that morning, and then go to the Hergiswil Glass Factory to see fine glassware being made by hand.

While Eleanor got organized, I went to the nearby Sunni Bakery.  They only had 2 apfelstrudels, which I noticed were bigger than the ones sold at Cafe zum Stein.  I continued on to Cafe zum Stein, where I purchased 2 apfelstrudels (smaller size), 2 nussgipfeln (filled with nuts) and a fitnessbrot (delicious bread topped with seeds).  Fitnessbrot soon became our favorite bread.  Total haul for the morning walk : 6 pastries and a fitnessbrot.  The pastries are not available all day.  So the time to get them was first thing in the morning.  The tough decision was how many to buy.  I quickly resorted to the overkill philosophy.  Usually I purchased more than I thought we needed.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Breakfast included yogurt, a bowl of fresh fruit, coffee and orange juice.  Naturally that was followed by a pastry.

At 9:25am we started walking to the train station.  It was raining lightly.  We arrived at the station with 7 minutes to spare.  We boarded the 9:45am train and stepped off in Hergiswil at 10:03am. 

The rain was coming down harder.  We still had a short downhill walk to the factory.

The Glass Museum charges a 7CHF ($7.91 U.S. dollars) entrance fee.  But with our Swiss Pass, it was free.  We asked for the English narration.

The Hergiswil Glass Factory is the only glass works in Switzerland where glass is manually shaped and blown into unique contemporary forms.  The exhibition “Formed by Fire” tells the story of glassmaking and of the Hergiswil Glassworks. Visitors are guided through a labyrinth of scenes by light and sound. The decorated sets of the individual rooms reflect the development of the craft in the Hergiswil Glassworks and the economic ups and downs of the company.  It only took about 15 minutes to walk through the exhibits and listen to the narration.  At the end you exit into a noisy warm balcony overlooking the workers as they routinely form glass objects.

For a fee of 20CHF ($22.60 U.S. dollars) you can blow your own glass ball.  Using a special small-scale furnace, the glass is melted on the spectators’ grandstand as in the big furnace. A glassmaker takes the liquid glass from the furnace with a pipe, forms a ball and gets it ready for blowing. Then the visitor can blow his/her own ball. You are given the choice of a plain or fluted ball.  Our choice was fluted.  Eleanor stepped up and slowly blew through the pipe to form her own glass ball.  Afterwards she announced that she would be bringing it home.  I insisted that the glass ball would surely break in the suitcase during luggage handling.  At the end of our trip Eleanor wrapped the glass ball up carefully and put it in the suitcase without me noticing.  To my surprise the glass ball made it back home in one piece.

After it has been allowed to cool for about a quarter of an hour, you can collect the glass souvenir you have created yourself and take it home with you.

While waiting for the glass ball to cool, we checked out the examples of artistic glass pieces on display next door.

After picking up Eleanor's glass ball we went into the gift shop to look around.  We found some very nice flower vases, a sugar bowl, glass earrings, one large earring to convert to a pendant and a glass pendant with a gold heart imbedded in it.  We arranged to have the vases shipped home.  The heavy sugar bowl we took with us along with the glass jewelry.

I looked for any unusual beer glasses, but didn't see any I liked.

The skies were still overcast when we left the gift shop.  At least the rain had stopped. 

We took the 12:24pm train back to Sachseln, arriving at 12:45pm.  While I took our Glass Factory souvenirs back to the chalet, Eleanor started walking to Denner.  The plan was to do some grocery shopping.  I was on my way back to Denner with the wheelchair when Eleanor appeared.  Denner was closed for lunch.  It would not open until 1:30pm. 

The decision was to have lunch at the chalet, and then go grocery shopping.  We had purchased a refrigerated pizza the other day.  It was pretty big.  So we cut it in half and popped it in the oven for 9 minutes at 225 degrees Celsius as indicated in the instructions.   It wasn't bad, although we could have taken it out a minute or two sooner.  To drink we had beer.  It was quick and easy.  By 2:30pm we were back at Denner's. 

Since the plan was to have pasta for a future meal or two, we purchased a freshly cut chunk of parmesan cheese.  Included with the groceries were several chocolate candy bars to sample.


At 3:15pm we stopped at Gasser's Hardware and bought 2 beer glasses and a cheese grater. 

When we arrived at 3:35pm our 84 year old upstairs tenant, Heidi, happened to be leaving.  We introduced ourselves.  She kept asking if she was disturbing us with noise from her apartment above us.  We told her that we were fine and were not being disturbed at all.

At 4:46pm the thermometer showed a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  I took a photo of some of the items we purchased that day. 

For dinner we had wine, strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, Emmentaller cheese and fitnessbrot.  Dessert was apfelstrudel.  

Later there was a tap on our door.  It was our landlady, Louise.  She had a change of towels for the kitchen and bathroom.  She showed us the front page of the local newspaper with a photo of the double rainbow we described to her the previous day.  We gave her a a box of Saltwater Taffy from the Jersey shore, and an 8"x10" photo I took of Sachseln on our last visit in 2004.  We also told her that we would be leaving an adjustable shower stool, 3 battery operated nightlights, a removable shower grab bar and a travel humidifier. 

Louise said that she would talk to with us within a day or two about when we could come for a raclette dinner.  Before leaving around 8:00pm she told us to leave used towels on the stairs landing in a basket under the bench.  She also reviewed where to put our bag of garbage and things to recycle.  The container for compost is next to the garden.

Eleanor wrote so much that she ran one ball point pen dry.  Shopping for more ball point pens was in our foreseeable future.  

I hit he sack at 8:30pm.  Eleanor followed at 8:50pm.

The plan for the next day was to visit Brienz, well known as the "village of woodcarving" with a school for woodcarving, music boxes and violin-making.  The most romantic part of Brienz is the Brunngasse which was once awarded the title "most beautiful street in Europe."

Total distance walked that day: Bill - 4.29 miles, Eleanor - 2.67 miles

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