Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Swiss National Day 1st August and all that Jazz

Schanz, Solothurn, 1st August

On 1st August it was the national Swiss Day, the day that our country was founded, although who knows? Three Swiss blokes met on a field somewhere in the middle of the country, shook hands and that was that. 3 Kantons (states/counties) were formed – the beginning of the following 26 Kantons which is now Switzerland today. So enough of the history lesson, just to put you all in the picture. We celebrate this day with the usual fireworks, children’s lantern processions and famous words of local politicians in the local town/village centers. A lot of money is exploded into the surroundings, called fireworks.

How did we celebrate. No big deal for us, of course we are patriots, we have to pay our taxes to the country, so you do not really have a big choice. My youngest son served his years in the Swiss army (6 weeks a year) so there we are. This year we invited friends of ours for the evening meal and about half past nine in the evening we made our way by foot to the center of the town of Solothurn where the firework display occurs. We have about thirty minutes to walk, taking our time, and arrived with fifteen minutes to spare. Being locals, we know how it works, and found ourselves a comfortable park bench with a full view of the happenings.

The firework display started on time (as most Swiss things do) and Mr. Swiss produced his iPhone and started recording the scene on photographs. Mrs. Swiss did the same and we discovered that most of the other spectators were following suite. You do not need a camera today, just take your phone with you. Actually I was contemplating taking my camera, but a Nikon D7000 is on the large size to carry around. I checked quickly on Internet the best settings for firework photos and found that it would take me about 30 minutes to find them and the bloke that gave the instructions also mentioned it is more a case of luck than judgement with firework photos. I am sure some of my colleagues here would laugh and say “no problem”, but for me it was a problem, so I settled with my iPhone. The photos shown here are not exactly perfect, but at least I have a few remembrances of the evening.

The one below seemed to be the hit of the evening, according to those that were letting them off. They organise a few thousand francs worth of fireworks to make a sort of cascade reflecting the light in the trees. The whole thing takes place on the old town fortress walls and moat.
Schanz, Solothurn, 1st August

Once again apologies for the poor photo quality but Mr. I from the iPhone company is not always so perfect. The funny thing was when the last firework petered out into a smoldering ash, it started to rain, not just rain, it poured down. Our friends had parked their car in the town so they drove off and me and Mr. Swiss started the walk home, without umbrellas, or raincoats (the day was tropical), and then suddenly a car pulled up next to us. Our friends realised our predicament and instead of driving home first they followed our route and picked us up and took us home.  That's what friends are for.

We arrived home to three cats sitting indoors asking what all the noise was about outside. They are not very partial to fireworks. 

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