The Swiss Family Hanggi

Written by Harold McNeill on November 8th, 2011. Posted in Travelogue


“To the top of the world to the top of the wall, fly away, fly away, fly away all.”  (Modified from the verse “Two Little Dickey Birds” that accompanied a sleight of hand trick taught to us by our mother). The verse sums up the brief tour Lynn and I made to Switzerland and our visit with the Hanggi family. The next three posts describe that incredible visit.

Above Photo:  A Rose Frozen in Time, an Ice Sculpture original by Bruno Hanggi

From the moment we arrived in Interlaken to the moment of departure, we were hosted in grand style by Hanggi Family – Bruno, Nicole and their daughter, Sandra.

Our connection to the Hanggi family came through their other daughter, Claudia, a delightful young woman who worked for BC Soccer in Vancouver, during my terms as a member of the ClaudiaBCSA Board of Directors. Claudia spoke lovingly of her mom, dad and sister and told Lynn and me that if ever we touched foot in Switzerland (which she insisted we must), a visit with her parents and sister was the order of the day. Now, when Claudia told someone, even a board member, to do something, it was as good as done.  Of course, in our travels, we did as she directed and the week spent with the Hanggi family was a week we shall long remember.

Photo (2010): We caught up with Claudia (and her friend) by the Winter Olympics Skelton Track in Whistler.

At our stop in Interlauken and on first meeting Bruno, his words of greeting were: “Claudia told me to meet you, and she told me I had better show you a good time! Now, I always listen to Claudia because, if I don’t, I know I will never hear the end of it…” It is safe to say that Bruno and I were on the same page in that regard, and so began our friendship with the Swiss Family Hanggi.

Bruno is a gregarious, ‘take charge’ man with an extremely interesting background as a world-class Pastry Chef by vocation and a talented Ice Sculptor by avocation. Bruno’s career, saw him chefing his way through many of the most prestigious restaurants in Europe, South Africa and Canada where he earned a number of national and international awards that now cover the walls of his office.Bruno, Nicole and Lynn

Nicole and Sandra were equally welcoming and it was only a few minutes into our visit that Lynn and I were made to feel that we had been part of the Hanggi family for many years. It was a good thing Nicole and both daughters had strong outgoing, personalities, as that was a must in a family that exudes high energy, creativity and a zest for life. I can only imagine what it would be like to have Claudia thrown into the mix. There is little doubt she and her dad crossed ice sculpted swords on more than one occasion.

Photo: Bruno, Nicole and Lynn holding Ice Sculptured champaign glasses of the type Bruno frequently crafts for wedding parties and other events.

In retirement, Bruno has continued to cultivate his creative streak by building a freezer and storage unit in his garage. This allows him to keep pace with the high demand for sculptures. The speciality freezing unit is fascinating as it produces crystal clear ice blocks that can be sculpted into the most exotic images.

While the sculptures were fascinating, the food that flowed from Hanggai kitchen was to die for. It was easy to see why so many awards hung from the walls.

Not many months before our arrival in Interlauken, the city suffered major flood damage when a high mountain dam burst sending wall of water into the city.  As the east lake, The Brienzeree, began to overflow, the connecting canals within the low-lying city soon flooded. Sandra was the first to notice when she stepped onto the back patio and found water rapidly rising in the backyard. By the time the flood crested, the entire city was sitting under two feet of water and several months later the Hanggi’s, along with many other homeowners, were still busy sorting through the insurance claim system.

Our stay in Interlaken, which included a trip to the Top of Europe and first ever parasailing adventure, was all to brief, but shall long be remembered not only for the incredible scenery but also for the wonderful time spent with the Hanggi family. Thank you, Claudia, for carefully pointing us in that direction.

Harold and Lynn McNeill

A Smile to Melt your Heart

Sandra

Bruno Contemplates his Next Move

Bruno

More Roses Frozen in Time

Roses Frozen in Time

Area Schematic

Jungfrauhhjo

 

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.

  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    February 16, 2020 |

    […] Part I, Police solidarity and the push for amalgamation. Part II, Comparing police cultures and implementing change Part III, The past as a guide to the future Part IV The integration of police services […]

  • Harold McNeill

    February 15, 2020 |

    Testing the comments section after changes made. Updated: February 10, 2020

    Further to the update below (February 1, 2020), I note that since the government announced a “No-Fault” insurance plan for BC, Robert Mulligan is taking a slightly different tack, suggesting that no-fault will only increase the problems by taking away the right of an injured party to sue.

    I’ve copied just one sentence from Mulligan’s longer discussion, “And I think people don’t like the idea that somebody who’s, for example, was drunk and ran into you and you become a quadriplegic is going to be treated exactly the same way you would in terms of getting benefits (go to minute 00:15:26 to see his full comment)

    Statements like this appear to be simple fear-mongering. As was the case in the past, people who commit criminal offences, as well as other forms of negligence while driving, may well lose their insurance coverage and in all likelihood would be sued by ICBC to recover costs of the claim. (Link here to Mulligan’s full conversation on CFAX radio)

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    January 5, 2020 |

    […] 28. The past as a guide to the future (Part III): Over the past 60 years, many activities the police once performed as a natural part of their daily duty, eventually became incompatible with achieving their basic goals. What happened? (August 2019) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories Why I stand with science? - McNeill Life Stories

    November 11, 2019 |

    […] During the Ice Age, the Earth’s average temperature was about 12 degrees Fahrenheit colder than it is today. That was enough to keep snow from melting during the summers in northern regions. As snow fell on the snow, glaciers formed. (NASA Earth Observatory) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories How to Game an Election - McNeill Life Stories

    September 18, 2019 |

    […] The Federal Conservatives and Seymour Riding Association complied but one day later those memes will be shared by every third party social media site and by thousands of supporters where the message will be taken as a statements of the fact.  Five years from now those memes will still be circulating. (Link here to background on the SNC Lavalin matter) […]