Has anyone else noticed that the German-speaking region of Switzerland seems to have an infinite number of interesting names? Now, to be fair, there are plenty of English words that German-speakers enjoy too.
My Swiss friend, Tom, especially likes “saliva,” a word he think sounds like the name of a transvestite. And he informed me that he would never eat a “pickle” because it resembles the German word for “pimple.” So there you go.
Still. I know it’s kind of gradeschoolish. But I giggle every time I pass Bubikon, explore Büttikon, or take a boat to Weggis. Admit it. If you’ve been to these places, you’ve got a photo to prove it.
And then there’s Anis im Wunderland. This Zurich-based shop offers beautiful Anisbrötli wrapped in Anissäckli or, if you prefer to buy online, you can visit www.anismodel.ch.
But. I was especially traumatized by the 10-day festival, Badenfahrt.
First off, the rock stage was right below my balcony, so I learned that not even concrete buildings are immune from trembling when Swiss German rapping is done at high decibels.
Vibrating apartments aside, it was the name of the fest that I found most awe-inspiring. Badenfahrt. If my German had been better, I would have tried to explain to my neighbor just how funny I found it that thousands of people were proudly walking around in the official festival t-shirt, which was designed to display “Baden” on the front and “Fahrt” on the back.
There are also words that are less dramatic, but make me cringe nonetheless. Like “Genf”. While it just means “Geneva”, it sounds more like the name of a disease than a city. I can just hear someone saying, “Yeah, I’ve got a bad case of Genf.”
Anyhow. I was just about to thank the German language for some entertaining years, but then I had to go and address an envelope with what is possibly the longest street name known to man:
Needless to say, I wasn’t prepared for the length of the thing and had to start over on a new envelope. As I wrote the name again, I couldn’t help but be glad to live on the relatively short-named “Badstrasse” even if auf Englisch, it might not be such a good thing.