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Posts Tagged ‘Erstfeld’

Who knew the Swiss were so jolly? The headline said they celebrated the opening of the world’s longest, deepest tunnel with alphorns and modern dance. I pictured Thorin Oakenshield joining a conga line.

Here’s what Camila Domonoske had to say at Rhode Island Public Radio/NPR.

“Swiss engineer Carl Eduard Gruner first imagined it in 1947: a massive tunnel, unprecedented in length, buried a mile and a half under Switzerland’s symbolic Gotthard mountain range.

“Nearly seven decades later, after redesigns, political disagreements and the long, slow work of drilling beneath the Gotthard massif, as it’s called, Gruner’s dream is complete.”

We pause here to remember John as Grumpy in Snow White singing, “We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig in our mine the whole day through …”

Back to Domonoske: “The Gotthard Base Tunnel — a record-setting 35.4 miles long, and farther below ground than any other tunnel — was inaugurated [June 1]. The occasion was marked with a celebration that promoted ‘Swiss values such as innovation, precision and reliability,’ as the tunnel’s website puts it.

“The $12 billion project was completed on time, The Associated Press notes.

“The most eye-catching part of Wednesday’s ceremony was an extended modern dance sequence — featuring stony-faced dancers dressed in orange construction gear and boots, dancing on and around a flatcar.

“Another sequence featured dancers in white briefs and one figure with wings and an oversize head, while yet another sequence had people covered in suits resembling a cross between a pompom and a hay bale. …

“The inauguration of the tunnel also featured alphorns, an interfaith blessing of the tunnel and a tunnel theme song. Leaders from across the EU — including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, according to the AP — were in attendance.” More here.

So, I’m looking at this picture and realizing the Swiss aren’t so jolly after all. But then again, Thorin Oakenshield was about as jolly as Grumpy. But I’m sure they would both have liked the deepest. longest tunnel.

Photo: Peter Klaunzer/AFP/Getty Images

Artists perform in Erstfeld, Switzerland, at the opening of the Gotthard rail tunnel. The show was directed by German director Volker Hesse.

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