Bern in the year 1870 - from the view of maid "Gritli
Margret Schaller alias "Gritli" takes us back to the year 1870, leading us through Bern and telling us stories from the everyday life of "Gritli", who served in a Bernese manor house. A city tour of a special kind.
Margret has researched the history of "Gritli" for two years and has been on her city tours as "Gritli" for some time now, giving us an insight into the Bern of yesteryear. She lets old walls revive before our eyes - for example the Christoffelturm with its huge figure. The tower stood where the canopy now stands, at the Loeb harrow.
"Gritli tells me, that she addresses her dominion with madam and monsieur. But she would have done well in that household, she doesn't have to curtsey all the time.
A funny and scary story she tells from Beck. The name is not mentioned here. There it "gchlepft" again yesterday. To drive the vermin out of the bakery, he threw flour dust into the air and set fire to it. The explosion could then be heard throughout the quarter.
At that time, the girls from large farming families had to earn their own living at an early age. The boys were accommodated as "Verdingbuben", "Gritli" served for "Choscht und Logis", in addition the working clothes were provided. At that time, by the way, it was washed twice a year at most.
At Christmas sometimes a guest of the lordship gave a "Grampoolschybe". It's called that because it makes a good thud when you drop it. The "Grampoolschybe" was a kind of predecessor of the "Fünfliber", simply bigger. With this you could buy 20 kilos of bread at home in the country. Speaking of money: the gentleman earned just over 1100 francs a year as a clerk in the Federal Parliament.
Gritli" goes on to say that spring is coming soon. After Pentecost, all the inhabitants of the old town dragged beds, mattresses and pillows out onto the alley to sunbathe. A boy had to watch over the family pillows.
Gritli" still tells about a funny custom: between the houses in the old town there was usually a small courtyard. They liked to keep pigs there. Young, unmarried women who wanted to know more about their fate knocked on the pigsty on New Year's night and when a sow grunted, they knew they would marry that year.
In the pharmacy one bought spices and also sugar, which came at that time still from the Caribbean and was accordingly expensive. At the town hall pharmacy there is still a very small museum with some pharmacist's utensils in the cellar.
At the very end, "Gritli" takes us into the kitchen of the butcher's guild - the only remaining kitchen in the town from that time.
Margret Schaller's guided tour takes us back to the time of 1870 in an exciting way, and Berne offers the perfect backdrop for this, as not much has changed externally and, in some cases, not much has changed inside the houses.
I can warmly recommend the guided tour through the Bern of yesteryear.
A city walk
Work and life of a maid in Bern around 1870
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