The Zurichsee and new friends
Zurich Travel Blog› entry 4 of 5 › view all entries
Another sunny day, great!
I got ready quickly and headed down for breakfast. I met Jennifer and Andrew, also having breakfast. We chatted a bit about the city and their possible move to Amsterdam. Jennifer had the day free so, the family was going to enjoy Zurich, together.
I took the train into the Hauptbahnhof. I stopped at Sprungli to pick up a tasty lunch for later and they were out of quiches and veggies or they hadn’t restocked. I was disappointed.
I walked down Paradaplatz and then made my way to the river. I happened upon the area filled with little shops of local crafts and trinkets. The sun was blinding as I walked in the direction of the Zuichsee. The sky was the bluest of blues but, it was hard to see anything. I stopped in a few of the shops but found nothing that spoke to me.
I found a Zurich manhole cover to add to my collection, yeah!
I crossed the river a few times, wandering between the tiny streets of Niederdorf and the area between Paradeplatz and the river, both very quaint.
I stopped at the Fraumunster, one of the musts for the trip. The Fraumunster was founded in 853 AD as a Beneditine convent for female members of the aristocracy. During the 18th century the north tower was heightened and the south tower was removed. Extensive renovations took place in 1911-1912 at which time a new western vestibule was added. The painted glass windows of the choir (a five part cycle) and the rose window of the south transept are creations of Marc Chagall. The Byzantine like decoration of the columns around the Romanesaque doorways are a striking feature.
The main attraction of the Fraumünster is the set of five stained glass windows designed by Marc Chagalll in 1970. Best seen in bright morning light, the windows are 10 meters high and each has its own color theme.
The meaning behind the windows (Images from top to bottom):
1. The Prophet’s Window (red) - a. God the Creator, with connotations of prophetic vision
c. Cherub with wheel
d. Elijah mounting to Heaven in the chariot of fire
b. Disobedience brings war and suffering
c. The kingdom of peace of the Messiah to come
d. Isaiah receiving the message of peace
b. Jacob’s struggle with the angel
c. Jacob dreaming
b. The New Jerusalem descends from Heaven to Earth
e. King David, singer of psalms
5. The Christ Window (green) - a. Christ crucified and resurrected
c. Mary with the Child in the tree of Jesse, with Elizabeth to the left
d. The Lamb of God
The large, heavy bronze doors have panels showcasing many famous stories from the Bible.
From From here, I made my way to the lake front. I wanted to get information on the trips on the Zurichsee. There are short ones of 1 ½ hours going only a third of the way down the see and a longer one of 4 hours that goes to the other end of the see, to Rapperswil.
The ticket windows were all closed so, I asked the kiosk attendant. She said that I could buy a ticket on the boat.
I had about 50 minutes until my boat would leave so, I found a shady place in the park on the lake and near the marina. It was so beautiful and clear. I could easily make out the Alps, even the snow covered ones in the distance. I had a little picnic of snacks while I enjoyed the view. It was so peaceful. There were many people out and sitting in the sun. I was told that it isn’t that often that there is such a clear sunny day, this time of year.
I could see the big boat docking at the marina. It was time to board for my adventure.
On the boat, I went up to the ticket booth and asked what the difference was between the 2nd class and the first class.
I did figure out that only the first class passengers were allowed on the upper decks and most importantly the open deck area. I splurged for the first class, and considered it a value, sort of.
I immediately went to the upper deck and outside. I wanted to see what I had just bought. I was the right decision as it afforded the best view.
We disembarked and as we got further and further away, the entire skyline of Zurich developed before me. I took many pictures, looking back, as we continued our journey on the see, until I could see it no longer.
The boat made many stops as we traveled the length of the see. Sometimes it was on the left bank and sometimes it was the right. Before me was a constantly changing panorama of quaint Swiss villages with their church spires, different in each village, and the most interesting of wood trimmed houses, just as you would expect.
This was definitely a Swiss tourism commercial but, live!
The farther down the see that we sailed the closer the larger mountains of the Alps and their majestic and yet foreboding appearance became.
One village that we stopped at had a unique onion dome on its clock tower and a strange housing development that’s style elements included a arched eyebrow appearance.
All of the sail boats along the water’s edge added to the charm of the villages. How much more quaint could it get. I would soon find out!
There were many different styles of boat houses to see on the journey but, one really singled itself out. It looked more like a little boat palace. It looked be Baroque, which as many of you know, I am a great fan of.
It was such a beautiful day, and someone obviously agreed, as someone was ballooning in the distance. How wonderful would that be, ballooning in the Alps!!!
See Rapperswil blog, next.
Having spent the whole journey braving the cold and wind standing on the open deck, I decided to spend most of the return sitting and even trying to keep warm.
The villages came and went but, it seemed at a faster pace, this time. I think that I could do this all day, just exploring the Swiss lakes by boat.
The sun setting across the Alps was causing interesting color changes across the sky and the light hitting the snow changed and shadows not changed their look.
More villages came and went as we continued towards Zurich. Ferries were working to transfer people across the lake where it would take a crazy amount of time, otherwise.
Continuing on, lights were coming on as the sun was making its presence scarce. It looked like a thousand little dots along the hills.
The last light of day caused many pinks and oranges and lighter blues to fill the sky over the Alps as a backdrop for the villages and their churches and town halls, all lit up.
Now, Zurich was in sight and a sparkle of lights and spires. It was so amazing and wonderful how the tallest buildings visible from the water, at night, are the buildings that boaters would have seen many, many hundreds of years ago or even more.
Upon docking, I caught a tram and headed straight for the Kunst Haus. Bruni (Tracy’s mother) would be calling soon and I wanted to take a look around, especially since today the entrance was free.
Now, I had purchased a day pass for transport but, now had lost it!!! I risked it and took the tram with no ticket.
The Kunst Haus is a fantastic art museum, at least what I saw of it. Having previewed online what their main collection was, I focused on Picasso, Rousseau, Pissaro, Munch, .
The collection of Munch seem to be of the period before his deep depression. You can see the signature style developing but, his subject matter is not as dark. His use of color and brushstroke style are unique.
There are a pair of paintings by Segantini that are just amazing. They are pretty stark winter scenes with a supernatural element to them.
The chagall pieces are just amazing, as well. His use of color and symbolism keep you interpreting the meaning within.
They have a fantastic piece that is a sleeping lady in a red background by Matisse.
They have two huge Monets that take us very, very large wall spaces. One of them is in the "Waterlilies" series. They are classic Monet and fantastic.
The Hans Arp piece from the Dada movement is as inspiring as the Dali and Ernst are puzzling, but, great art should stir the mind.
And lastly, there are some fun and colorful Van Goghs that are quite playful, some of his best.
As I was enjoying my dose of fine art, Bruni called but, I had seemed to have missed it. I called her back and we figured out a plan. I would meet her where she was as it was only a 10 minute tram ride (with not ticket) to where she was at Sprungli on Paradeplatz.
I instantly recognized her, a little Tracy. She showed me a bit of Zurich and some of the places that I had missed. We happened upon the Christmas tree tiered stage where little children were dressed in green and red and singing carols.
Soon it was time to meet her husband, Jean Phillipe, and have dinner. We went to this special restaurant popular with locals for its typical Zurich fare. The only problem was that it was all sausages!!! Bruni was quickly calling Jean Phillipe and questioning for other options. Soon we would meet at a tram stop nearby and figure this out. I apologized as I had forgotten to mention my specialness.
We ended up eating at the Movenpick restaurant. The best thing about the meal was the wonderful company. The meal was just ok. The wine and the ice cream were fantastic. More importantly, I really enjoyed the evening of learning a bit more about them and sharing a bit about me. They are such nice people. They’ve invited me to their house for dinner, the next time I am in Zurich. I plan to take them up on the offer. I will have to return as Zurich is now encroaching on other favorite cities. It’s on my list!
After dinner, they drove me to my hotel in Oerlikon. I had brought some Christmas gifts from Tracy and Frans and they were in the hotel room. I brought them down to the car and we said our goodbyes. It had been a great day of discovery on the Zurichsee and a special time making new friends.