Glass Blowing in Hergiswil

At this point in our year, some of our weekend IMG_1168plans involve figuring out how to get to the remaining cantons we have not yet visited. First we look at the weather report. Saturday was supposed to have some severe thunderstorms in many places with at least some regular showers, too.

Looking for a good indoor activity, I stumbled upon the Glasi Hergiswil in the canton of Nidwalden. Their website showed that there is an SBB Railaway Deal which includes transport, admission, and the chance to blow a glass ball (under supervision) to keep as a souvenir.

A visit to the Glassworks involves several activities. The first requires an understanding of German, or a willingness to look at things and not understand what is being said. After you enter the museum, you wait for the door to open and go in with a group of people to a dark room where certain things are illuminated and you start hearing a voice telling you the history of glass making. The small herd of people then moves from room to room following the light and learning more about the history of glass making in Hergiswil. At least we think this is what was happening. We understood some of it, but if you want specific details, you’ll have to ask someone else.

After the introduction, you spill out onto a viewing platform above the glass factory floor where about 12-15 men are blowing glass. We probably spent a good 15-20 minutes just watching them, as they have quite a rhythm going for each item they make.

Also housed on the platform is the place where visitors may blow their own glass ball. Our Railaway ticket included this little extra, so we waited in line, watching other people to see what it entailed. If so inclined, we could pay an additional 5 CHF to have a photo and a youtube video made, but we thought we would shoot our own photos. This video is of one of the girls who went just before we did.

You could choose if you wanted a ball with striations or just plain, and we chose one of each. The friendly professional did the lion’s share of the work, sticking the glass in the furnace, rolling it, scoring it, etc. and when it was your turn, you got to puff into the tube about three times. At one point he kept telling me to do something, and I could not understand it until H told me that I was supposed to hold the tube with my hands. Ah.

Then he showed it to you to see if you approved (isch guet!) and then put it aside for at least 20 minutes before you could pick it up. After we got home, I read the instructions, and it said (in English) that because these don’t cool the best way, they may break within a month or a year, or maybe not. So we’ll see if these even get packed to go to the US.

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Tomorrow: More Fun at the Glasi

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