Saturday, 8 August 2009

Swiss National Day 2009

The 1st of August is Swiss National Day. It is a public holiday, but unfortunately this year it fell on a Saturday so we were deprived of a day off work. We were woken up, with mixed feelings, to the sound of a free breakfast being held in our square for the inhabitants of Vevey (there's only such much a free croissant can make up for).

Anyway the exciting thing about Swiss National Day is you get to go around eating cheese and sausages and not feel guilty but also, and most importantly, fireworks!

We were careful to buy up a batch of fireworks in the lead-up, knowing that last year the stocks started to dry up a day or so before actual event. Also, we didn't really know what we were buying since the fireworks themselves were described by vague graphics and even vaguer German or Chinese language.

In Switzerland the fireworks are graded by dangerousness - the highest level of 3 just means you have to be 18 years old to buy them. However, what you can buy as an 18 year old seems practically unbounded. As a consequence we ended up with far more (and far more powerful) fireworks than we had imagined. We had a box full of rockets, roman candles, and things that go bang and flash.

Since our BBQ refused too cook our dinner in under 3 hours, we spent our time setting off our fireworks, with a great deal of caution, on the rocks by the lake, so the rockets and flames went harmlessly over the water. Apparently those parts of Switzerland where they do not have lakes (it's a small part) often experience injuries as a consequence.

The highlight of the night was setting off the racecar fireworks we had discovered last year, which make a lot of noise and smoke but it does not result in much actual racing. [The photos are of the official fireworks].

We stumbled home tired and with burnt fingertips, but very satisfied with our relaxed day and fun with fireworks.

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