Friday, November 27, 2015

As read while peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving mash...

I'm often commenting to people that the news in Switzerland is really pretty cute.  It can actually be relaxing as an American to read the news here.  The front page isn't plastered with murders, weirdos from Florida (let's face it - Florida definitely has some of the most entertaining news stateside), and drug busts.  Sometimes there are even pictures of how much grass the halcyon SBB sheep have cleared away from the sides of the railways.

Unless you work in the Spreitenbach Zweifel potato chip factory:

WWI Hand Grenade Found in Zweifel Potato Chip Factory
Tages Anzeiger 26/11/15

I'm thinking that this is the most exciting thing to happen in Spreitenbach since the IKEA opened. Short story shorter, a box of potatoes from France was being sifted through by workers at the factory when this little surprise dropped in.  Apparently, workers who have been at the factory for decades have seen all sorts of rocks, golfballs and such come through, but never an antique weapon.  

Bet you can eat just one.

That's the most explosive thing to happen to potato chips since Olestra.  Zing.  (Last one, promise!)

You might be wondering, "How did that relic get missed?  How is it possible that it is only showing up now?"  Well, it turns out there is more WWI and II stuff lying around in Europe than you might realize.  Take the WWII mines in Germany that are decaying and sometimes explode unexpectedly for example.  Luckily for us here in the CH, we don't have as much of that with the Swiss staying out of the wars (for the most part).  And for those of us who grew up in the middle of the United States...forget it.  Most of us have never seen a hand grenade, dynamite, or a landmine unless Grandpa had some old duds stashed away in his garage next to the Christmas decorations and random jar of mercury.  Yes, my grandpa had the odd jar of mercury lying around - no grenades though (that I know of). 

But that doesn't mean that you don't come across some really interesting military things in Switzerland.  The first time I went hiking in the Teufelskeller outside of Baden was when I realized just how well fortified Switzerland is.  I hadn't been in the country but a few weeks and was wandering through the forest when I came across two large concrete structures on either side of the trail.  I later asked my neighbor what they were.  Turns out, they are military bunkers for securing cross country passages.  Couple that with the fact that Switzerland has enough bunker space to accommodate its entire population, military fortresses hidden in the sides of mountains, decoy houses and bridges along the borders that are rigged to explode if necessary, and highways that double as military runways for the airforce?  Damn, Switzerland, you're prepared. 

I happened to be wandering around Auenstein this summer and came across this notice posted on the side of the Gemeindehaus. >>>>> 

Since there aren't vast tracts of unused land in Switzerland, the military is training right outside of towns.  So, you know, if you happen to be swimming in the river and come across explosives, DON'T TOUCH THEM, they are not potatoes.