The day after Sechseläuten, we retreated to the Bernese Alps and spent a night in the tiny mountain village of Mürren (elev. 1,638 m / 5,374 ft above sea level). Although the population of Mürren registers at only around 450 people, tourism is popular enough to support several hotels and resorts. Fortunately for us, we arrived between seasons, so it felt like we had the whole town to ourselves.
There are no roads leading to Mürren from the valley below. You get there by cable car and train. Below is an image of Lauterbrunnen, as viewed from the cable car that takes you to Grutschalp. And then from Grutschalp you take a two-car electric train to Mürren.
Unfortunately, we arrived too late in the day to attempt any serious hiking. And I don’t even know if any of the trails were open, due to record snowfalls this past winter. But we were able to go for a half mile or so walk to experience the spectacular views of the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch mountainsides.
Here’s an image overlooking Mürren.
As you can see in that photo, it wasn’t a particularly bright sunshiny day, but the setting sun did make an appearance. Both of these images were shot from the balcony of our room at the Hotel Alpenruh. Quite a treat!
Sechseläuten is an annual spring festival in Zurich. The festivities start around mid-day, with vendors setting up booths with traditional sausages, cheeses, candies, and various other goodies.
Starting around 3:00, there’s a parade where people dress up in traditional garb from various times in Swiss history, or as their favorite historical figures. One man I saw was dressed as Albert Einstein, complete with the recognizable crazy hair he wore in the later part of his life. Another man dressed as the reformer John Calvin, who (I didn’t know this previously) preached over 2,000 sermons in Geneva.
Around 6:00 PM is when they light the Böögg. Legend dictates that a quick burning indicates the coming of a warm mild summer. A long burning means a cold and rainy one. This year’s burning was officially recorded at 12 minutes and 07 seconds, promising a medium warm summer.
Final preparations before burning
The conflagration begins
Fire creeping up the tower
Fully engulfed in flame
Not even recognizable as a Böögg anymore
Merely a shadow of what he once was
I started playing with this app I heard about called Camera Awesome, from SmugMug. The output you see here is the result of about five minutes of clicking on filters and borders and textures, and then sliding contrast and saturation levels from one extreme to the next, until I felt the images were sufficiently butchered. It’s a fun little app, but they might have hyped up the “awesomizer” feature just a tad. These images are all from Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in Wheaton.
The top image has a “Denim” texture applied. For the image below, I kicked up the awesome level all the way to the top. It’s how I roll.
For this one, I applied the “Prehistoric” texture.
Ever since a Facebook friend used iTimeLapse to create a timelapse video of accumilating snow on his back porch, I’ve been looking for a chance to do something with this app. Every day this week, I’ve been greeted by a beautiful sunrise, during my early commute downtown. Today though … rain. Blerg.
I’ve been trying all week to get this video, but for one reason or another, it didn’t work out, until today, when it’s raining. Oh well. I still like the output, for what it’s worth, and I will definitely be looking for more opportunities to use this very cool app.
Karen and I went to see Mike Doughty in concert at Space in Evanston. He played some songs, read from his book “The Book of Drugs” (he’s a recovering heroin addict), played some more songs, talked about his early days with the band Soul Coughing, and then played some more songs. It was a great show.
Here he is reminiscing some of the fiasco that was Soul Coughing.