Autumn Holiday Week 02…

So what did we do to occupy our time during the second week of the three-week Autumn hols? It was all about transport!

We had planned to go to a pumpkin maze but the weather didn’t hold out… so we went to the Swiss Transport Museum, known as the Verkehrshaus in German.

We have not been there for quite a long while and met our good friends there for an afternoon of travelling through the various forms of transport. LOVED IT! We had only a few hours there but it was great. We did not manage to cover the whole museum but what we did manage to see was fantastic.

Left: Huge Pinball Machine, Right: 3D train display

There was a huge pin-ball machine on the 2nd level of the first hall – it required 10 people to play in order to get the balls up to the top end of the board. There were also a few other interesting informative and interactive displays about trains and train lines. But the one which capture the attention of all the children, big and small alike, was the big 3D display of the trains going through the Gotthard Tunnel! (By the way, you can see the huge drill bit they used to dig the tunnel out by the front of the museum building.)

Top: the Wall of Cars, Bottom: One of the first automobiles

We saw more trains and tried to wait our turn to get on a train-driving simulation but there were just too many waiting. So we went on to the hall with all the cars! This was amazing. There was a whole wall of cars to look at. People sat around voting buttons to vote for which car they want brought down from the wall. There was a whole lot of banging noise at each voting session. After which a special car lift brought down the chosen car. We saw a F1 race car and then what i considered to be a more interesting choice was picked; one of the first automobiles from Mercedes!

Time ran away from us and after a drink break with the kids, we had only a little time left so we went to see the airplanes! i loved the interactive display where you could feel like a paraglider, flying over different parts of Switzerland. We saw a whole lot of planes. There was also an actual model of a Swissair plane which you could visit.

Left: Ceiling of Planes, Right: Swissair Plane

There are a few other halls which are very interesting but we had to give those a miss this time; the boats, space travel and communications bits would have to be covered at another visit. The kids loved it and the adults can learn a lot. This is one museum which is always worth coming back to. That’s why our friends who live nearer to it have a year-long pass for the family! i recommend reserving a whole day for this museum if you are planning seeing everything.

Our next travel adventure came in the form of a Falconry in Locarno; the Italian part of Switzerland! The travel bit was getting there. It took us more than 4 hours, almost 5 hours of travelling on train and bus to get there but it was good. We like riding the trains here and the scenery was amazing. We had books, games (both non-digital and digital) and food to keep us entertained as well.

Wonderful Views from the train

The Falconry isn’t very big. It has about 10 or so cages with about 15 varieties of birds and about 25 or so birds. It is a lovely little place, right in the middle of a residential area, which greatly surprised me. But once inside the park, you don’t notice the buildings around very much. We were early for the show so we walked around the park. It didn’t take very long but it was a nice walk and we saw all the birds in their cages.

Lovely Snowy Owls and the short walk around the park…

i really liked the stage area; it is open and very well-kept. It gave me a very peaceful feeling, sitting there waiting for the show to start.

The Stage…

The show opened with a little introduction about how animals have helped man to hunt. The whole show is done in both Italian and German. They showed off falcons, eagles, vultures and owls! The show was fantastic, well-organised and it kept the audience on the edge of their seats. The birds’ natural talents was so well highlighted.

You always had to be on the lookout for where the next bird was going to fly in from. And the birds flew so close, the tip of one of their wings brushed across my face and you could feel the downdraft from them zooming by.

Top Left: The Opening, Right: Barn Owl flying at us, Bottom Left: a funny little bird which looked like a cross between a flamingo and a falcon to me… it was a clever little thing…
American Bald Eagle in flight – amazing!

There was a lot of demonstrations of how fast the falcons can fly and their hunting skills and great eyesight. The show was 45 mins but it didn’t feel all that long. You could tell that people who have been happy to sit there for longer.

Top: a Vulture swooping in near us, Bottom: See the blur on the bush next to the man, that’s the falcon chasing his prey which the man swings around.

Oh, i have to tell you; near the end of the show, they got a bird called the Karkar (i think) to stand on people’s head and my head got picked! But i don’t have a picture cos there was a bird on my head (mind you, he was a heavy bird). You will just have to take my word for it that it happened to me. i do have a picture of the bird on someone else’s head though.

Top: The Karkar on a man’s head, Bottom: The Closing

So was it worth the 9 hours roundtrip? No, not for just 2 hours of entertainment. But i had a holiday train pass and special discounted entry so it was ok. And besides, we liked the journey there.

This little guy kept screeching… the lady said he was talking…

However, if you are planning to be in the Italian part of Switzerland, a stop at the Falconry should be on your list. A fair number of people do come for the shows (our show saw about 200 people) so do go early to get a good seat. There is a small snack bar and souvenir shop. We bought a couple of cute owl keychains 🙂

Well, that’s it for now. i leave you with a cute Snowy Owl, less than a year-old and hatched at the Falconry earlier this year.

syc

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2 thoughts on “Autumn Holiday Week 02…

  1. Cool! I agree that Tessin is too far for a day trip – I can’t imagine what that was like going there and back in a day! One of these days we’re going to make a trip down there and I’ll definitely add this to my list of things to do and see.

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    1. We like to travel – long distances are ok for us… it was a fun day out 😉 but i understand that it is far for most people, plus the costs of the train there at normal costs really doesn’t quite justify, even though the show was great… i hope you do get to go soon… maybe in Spring?

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