Welcome to the end of a long and frustrating week, my friends! I really think we need to give our minds a weekend off from thinking about the detritus of the past 5 days, and so, I’m taking you on a little trip, and when we come back, I have a treat for you!
This summer has been miserably hot and humid in most of the world, I think. My UK friends tell me that, while the temps may not be quite as high there, air-conditioning is not standard equipment in homes as it is here, so they may have it even worse than us, and it has been hot enough here! So today, to start off our weekend, we are going someplace cooler. We are going to … Switzerland!!! Buckle up …
We will be taking a cable car from Lauterbrunnen up to the most awesome restaurant, the Schilthorn Piz Gloria. While Piz Gloria claims to be the world’s first revolving restaurant—a dubious title given that the Seattle Space Needle opened in 1962 during the World’s Fair—its real claim to fame is its James Bond connection and unparalleled views.
Piz Gloria is named after the 1963 James Bond novel and subsequent film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in which a mountain-top hideout conceals Bond’s nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Today, Piz Gloria taps into its James Bond past by offering visitors a 007 Walk of Fame and interactive exhibit aptly named Bond World.The restaurant, which is truly the main draw for travelers, rotates slowly offering diners a view of 200 mountain peaks during the course of their meal. While the food of Piz Gloria has been reviewed as lackluster and overpriced—a classic pitfall of many tourist attraction restaurants—the view more than compensates for what’s on the plate.
Since we are in the neighborhood anyway, I thought we might as well pop over to Zurich to see this machine I’ve been told about. Jean Tinguely was a Swiss sculptor famous for building things that served no purpose! The one we are going to see today is called “Heureka,” Ancient Greek for “I’ve got it!” This is meant to be ironic. The sculpture, created in 1964, is an allegory of consumerism in advanced industrial societies. The machine churns and churns but with no purpose, just absurdity. Hey – I know some people like that!!!The Heureka sculpture is made from everyday objects like scrap metal and junk; it’s comprised of various tubes, wheels, iron bars, metal pipes, and electric motors assembled together to create an intricate machine when turned on — or rather, the illusion of one.
Tinguely meant there to be humor in the creation, a poetic recycling of the industrial world. He was a follower of the French Nouveau Réalisme art movement, a 1960s avant-garde style that incorporated elements of the real world and everyday life into artworks, creating a new way to perceive reality.
Part of the movement’s ideology was responding to the new consumerism in Western society. Tinguely was inspired by Dadaism, which I never did understand any better than I understand this strange machine! Okay … let’s move along …
One last stop before we leave Switzerland and head home. We are going to Ennetbürgen to … ride an elevator!!! No, I haven’t lost my bloomin’ mind … come on … this will be fun!
The Hammetschwand Lift was put into place to carry visitors over 3,700 foot above sea level to the beautiful vistas of Lake Lucerne. Created in 1905 by a popular hotel destination nearby, the elevator has survived both world wars, the elements, and a wood-to-steel conversion to remain a world-record holding attraction.
Originally the precarious elevator compartment was made of nothing more than wood and sheet metal which would be drawn up the 500-foot shaft, which was constructed of equally questionable materials. At the time, the ride took up to three minutes to complete. Today, after multiple overhauls, the elevator is made of expertly engineered metal and glass, yet somehow looks nonetheless rickety. In addition to the hair-raising heights that the glass-walled elevator reaches, the speed of the lift has also been increased and riders are now shot to the top of the shaft in less than a minute. The station at the top exits unto a bridge that leads to the mountaintop.
WHEW!!! That was some ride, wasn’t it? I think my stomach is somewhere down near the base of the mountain! But just look at that view … takes your breath away, doesn’t it?
Well, folks, time to go back home so that you guys can go spend some time with your families and do some fun weekend things! Daughter Chris is at yet another band competition for the weekend, so Goose and I are planning a wild party involving fish sticks, salad, and a game of Mario Kart! Do we know how to party, or what?
Oh … I promised you a treat, didn’t I? I have stumbled across a couple of videos that are absolutely 100% guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The first one is fascinating … I love watching glassblowers, but this one is truly amazing …
And you know you cannot get away from here on a Saturday without a cute animal video … these pandas will melt even the coldest heart … not that any of you have cold hearts, but … well just watch the video …
And on that note, I want you all to go out there and have a safe and happy weekend!