Solothurn, SwitzerlandFebruary 12 in Switzerland
Before leaving Switzerland and starting our journey to South America, Whit and I returned to Aarau to stay with my uncle Tom and his partner Pia. While we were in Aarau, there was an annual week-long festival taking place in Solothurn, the closest city to my mum's childhood home. The premise of this festival is to scare the winter spirits away and obviously, we had to get in on the action.
To start the celebratory week off, we awoke at 3am, adorned our white robes, white hats, and red scarves, and made our way to Solothurn to participate in Cheslette which started at 5am. Here, over one thousand people all dressed in the same attire, made as much noise as possible, banging pot lids, shaking tin cans filled with stones, and cracking large whips in the air, while parading the city streets. The cacophony is seriously alarming and if I were a winter spirit, I'd probably bugger off too. After completing the parade route, everyone settles down to eat a traditional flour soup before bar hopping and getting progressively more intoxicated. The morning ends at lunch time and most sane revelers head to bed before the evening events kick off (some people clearly didn't get this message and trooped on all day).
About three days after Cheslette, Tom, Whit, and I braved the bleak Swiss weather and returned to Solothurn to watch the carnival parade. There were about 40 themed groups marching the city. Some of the floats created for the festival were seriously impressive. Most floats had confetti guns and often some poor unexpecting bystander would get a face full of paper to improve their mood. It was clear to me and Whit that the Swiss people take their traditions very seriously and if you ever have a chance to participate in such an event you won't be disappointed!Read more