Nestled into 163 acres of Alp beauty, Ballenberg Freilichtsmuseum immerses visitors into an ultimate Swiss experience. If you love the chalets, mountains, cows (and their bells!), flower boxes, cheese, and history of this country, this is your place.
Each living history museum I’ve been to has a slightly different take on making their history come alive. Plimoth Plantation recreates an exact replica of the community with actors playing roles of specific historical characters. Ballenberg reminded me more of Old Sturbridge Village where historic buildings have been moved from their original locations to the museum for preservation and education. Ballenberg buildings are just a few hundred years older than the Massachusetts museum (and Ballenberg is also a few dollars less expensive and quite a bit less expensive than Plimoth).
This being the height of the summer tourist season, the trains towards Interlaken are filled with tourists (many from Asian countries), but once my friend Wendy and I arrived at this gem of a place, we heard mostly Swiss German from our fellow visitors. Since we had gotten our tickets online through yet another SBB deal, we thought we would not need to stop at the counter, and that someone would collect our tickets as we entered the museum, but we saw no such entrance place as we walked past the first building.
After about 15 minutes, we noticed that people were wearing stickers with the date on them, and at first we thought they were with a tour group. But no, we saw that everyone was wearing a sticker. Even though no one had stopped us, we thought it best to return to the front desk and show our tickets. With our stickers now in place, we felt legal.
We arrived just after opening at 10:15 (at the East entrance) and spent a happy five hours wandering, watching demonstrations, eating lunch and tasting cheese, peeking in buildings, and admiring the scenery.
We watched weaving and rope-making demonstrations and wandered through the pottery shop.
The cheese-making demo helped us choose the Alp Macaroni (with potatoes and onions with a side dish of applesauce) for lunch. Many of the houses had tables set in a traditional way.
The basket weaver was my favorite guy (loved his mustache!) and the hat maker was on break, as was the wood carver and the lace maker.
No one was at the bone crushers place, and we didn’t linger too long there….
The water wheel powered the huge saw which was cutting planks and was very impressive. I’m sure the silk ribbon machine was also amazing in action.
Lovely Swiss animals.
Bells and horns
And just stunning scenery that I have not yet taken for granted.