Thursday, September 15, 2022

Zug and Baar, Switzerland (Part 2) Running with the Bulls


So, here I am cycling around Zug with dozens of modern office building left and right when I spot several pickup trucks with trailers waiting to turn into what looks to be a county fairgrounds complex. A  private security guard is directing vehicles onto the grounds. I spot two guys walking in and find they speak English. 'what's going on here", I ask. Turns out it's a cattle auction but won't be open to the public until tomorrow.  I tell the two guys I'm only here for today and ask if it's possible to accompany them inside. They agree but, warn me stay way back from the bulls. In this photos the big bulls are being weighed on a scale and measured.
So, I end up hanging out for more than a hour. Notice the office buildings in the background. 
Some of these bulls are massive and so are their cajones! They're being auctioned off for breeding. 
I talked to a veterinarian who was here to give each bull a visual inspection. I ask, "How much can one of these big bulls fetch?" "Maybe two or three thousand" he answers. (2,000 Swiss francs equals $2,085). "How long can these bulls breed?", I ask. "Maybe seven years then they start to have health issues", he answers.  I ask, "Getting all these bulls together, don't they fight?" "No", the vet answers. "Sorry to ask all these questions but, when a cow quits giving milk what happens? do they become hamburger", I ask. The vet answers, "yes". The veterinarian goes on to say most cows give milk for three years but, for Swiss cows it's up to 10 years. 
This was funny to watch. This is a weighing scale used for smaller bulls. The bulls are lead in and their weight recorded. See next photo.
This bull decided to just lay down right in front of the scale.  Four guys attempted to push, pull, yank, lift and splash with water but, he wasn't moving. You can see in the background there's a line of bulls waiting to be weighed. 
So, they ended up moving the portable scale to the side.
Saw this metal vulture outside a home.
Heading back to Baar via a bike path.
Passed this large farm and noticed the approaching storm.
The farm had this self-service display. Wondered if the milk, yogurt, eggs and other items are all produced here at the farm.
This guy seems to have found a cozy spot. 
Downtown Baar with new buildings mixed with old buildings.
Caught a ferry taking me from one side of Lake Zurich to the other. Unfortunately upon disembarking the rain came pouring down. 

Zug and Baar, Switzerland (Part1)


I'm about 30 miles from Zurich and the well-to-do communities of Baar (population 24,000) and Zug (population 30,000) are right next door to each other. Nice colorful flower display in downtown Baar. 
Saw this guy atop someone's garage.
I wonder what he's thinking? 
In this region when there's a newborn baby I've many times seen displays like this. 
This is part of the old town area of Zug. Baar and Zug are in the canton of Zug. Cantons in Switzerland are similar to states in the USA. Many media outlets rank Zug as the wealthiest town in Switzerland. Why? Taxes. Cantons in Switzerland set their own tax rates and Zug has the lowest. Thus, thousands of corporations, private-equity firms, commodity traders and asset management firms are domiciled here. I found this out first-hand more than 20 years ago when cycling around the world visiting corporate headquarters. I had several companies to visit and upon arriving at the addresses--there was no physical head office but, mail-drops. 
Zug has three fountains like this one. They date back to the mid-1500's. These were a way of showing off a town's wealth.
Standing at the fountain in the previous picture I look to the right and see the sign for Seba Bank. Hmm,  hundreds of banks around the world have branches in Switzerland, could this be a bank from Serbia? Also, lots of Russian enterprises (over 40) are based in Zug due to the low taxes.  Of course I end up walking inside to find the answer.

Wow, back in 2019 SEBA bank was awarded by the Swiss financial regulator a banking and securities dealer license--becoming one of the first "crypto banks" in the world. 

The lunchtime crowd enjoying outside dining in Zug's medieval old town.
Those three nude characters seem to be catching some rays.
What the heck? Here's another one of those newborn baby signs this one celebrating the birth of Matteo. However, upon closer inspection I see the date "2019". Come on, take it down, it's been three years. 
Another colorful fountain. Can't figure it out if it's holy figure. 
Boy holding fish. 
Last of the three 16th century fountains.
This is his backside. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Appenzell, Switzerland


I'm in the northeastern part of Switzerland in the canton of Appenzell. In the USA we have states, in Switzerland the have cantons--26 of 'em. 

The canton of Appenzell has the smallest population of all the cantons (16,000). I'm in the village of Appenzell, (population 5,500) also the capital of Appenzell--got it?

The rolling hills surrounding Appenzell are picturesque. 
The village is car-free and tourism is the big business here with its shopping streets filled with beautiful half-timbered buildings.
This is Appenzell castle in the village enter. It dates back to 1583 but it's privately-owned and tourists aren't welcome. 
Lots of stores selling nik-naks. 
Need a gnome?
About six miles out of town the road ends. In all my years of traveling I've never seen so many hikers. 
I counted more than 500 cars in overflowing parking lots
What's the lure?
You can hikes in all kinds of directions. From what I'm told there're several lakes each, about a 40 minute walk/hike. 
So many families out and about.
You can catch the gondola here and it'll whisk you up the mountain.

Lots of paragliders in the area. 
Had to stop at this colorful bakery/restaurant. 

St. Gallen, Switzerland


I'm in the northeastern part of Switzerland and St. Gallen, population 75,000, is its largest city.  
The shopping area in the old town. 
Check out the wood carving of the man.
Looks like this fountain is a bird nesting site
Backside view of St. Gall Cathedral.
Front of St. Gall Cathedral. It's 8:30 in the morning and the sun hasn't risen all the way.
Baroque interior of cathedral. 
Jeez, I entered the cathedral via a side door and caught this sign exiting the building. 
This Abbey of St. Gall, a four building complex (including the cathedral), dates back to the 9th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 
Impressive fountain. 
This funicular has been whisking locals up the steep hillside since 1893.