The Zurichsee and new friends

Zurich Travel Blog

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Fountain in front of Hauptbahnhof

Part I

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.

St. Peters Kirche

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 Chagall windows of Fraumunster
Chagall may have used the colors symbolically, with blue and green representing the earth and red and yellow representing the heavens.

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

                  b.

 Jeremiah

                   c. Cherub with wheel

                  d.  Elijah mounting to Heaven in the chariot of fire

                  e.  Elisha

 

2.

Sunny day on the Zurichsee
      The Law Window (blue) - a. Moses with the Law

        b. Disobedience brings war and suffering

      c.  The kingdom of peace of the Messiah to come

       d. Isaiah receiving the message of peace

 

3.

      The Jacob Window (blue) - a. The dream of the ladder

           b.  Jacob’s struggle with the angel

          c.  Jacob  dreaming

 

4.

Departing Zurich
      The Zion Window (yellow) - a. Theangel announcing the beginning of Eternity 

                                                       b. The New Jerusalem descends from Heaven to Earth

                   c. Chandelier

                 d.

Onion domeed churh in a village along the way.
  Bathsheba

                   e. King David, singer of psalms

 

5.      The Christ Window (green) -  a. Christ crucified and resurrected

             b.

Me and the Alps and the water - one with nature.
The life and parables of Jesus

            c.  Mary with the Child in the tree of Jesse, with Elizabeth to the left

            d.  The Lamb of God

             e.Joseph

The large, heavy bronze doors have panels showcasing many famous stories from the Bible.

Scenic village on the lake

 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.

View from the Ist class deck - really nicel.
I already knew the price, just wanted to know what extra I would get in first class. The 2nd class ticket was 23 francs and the first class ticket was 38 francs. The guy didn’t understand why question even though I tried to phrase it several different ways. He just kept saying, 15 francs…….which was obvious.

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.

Church tower on the return trip

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.

 

Part II

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.

Colorful sun setting behind the Alps
The sun was setting and cold was becoming very cold. The view, even seated in the protected area of the deck, was that of the snow capped Alps…….what could be better???

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.

The approach to Zruich at night
The buildings and their colors reflected in the water to create a view rarely seen but on a postcard.

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.

Edvard Munch - 1911
A few of the pieces even shocked me as they are a complete departure from anything of his that I have ever seen, particularly the work with the Russian Orthadox Church.

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.

March Chagall - 1945
They sang a special song in memory of Michael Jackson, I’ll be there. It was very sweet and their English was pretty good.

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.

Little children of Zurich singing Christmas carols
Thank you Zurich and thank you Bruni and Jean Phillipe.

 

 

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Fountain in front of Hauptbahnhof
Fountain in front of Hauptbahnhof
St. Peters Kirche
St. Peters Kirche
The Chagall windows of Fraumunster
The Chagall windows of Fraumunster
Sunny day on the Zurichsee
Sunny day on the Zurichsee
Departing Zurich
Departing Zurich
Onion domeed churh in a village al…
Onion domeed churh in a village a…
Me and the Alps and the water - on…
Me and the Alps and the water - o…
Scenic village on the lake
Scenic village on the lake
View from the Ist class deck - rea…
View from the Ist class deck - re…
Church tower on the return trip
Church tower on the return trip
Colorful sun setting behind the Al…
Colorful sun setting behind the A…
The approach to Zruich at night
The approach to Zruich at night
Edvard Munch - 1911
Edvard Munch - 1911
March Chagall - 1945
March Chagall - 1945
Little children of Zurich singing …
Little children of Zurich singing…
Zurich man hole cover
Zurich man hole cover
Romanesque details on Fraumunster
Romanesque details on Fraumunster
Marina on the Limmat
Marina on the Limmat
The boat that took me on my lake j…
The boat that took me on my lake …
Frescoes building
Frescoes building
Village church
Village church
Color filled last light of day
Color filled last light of day
Pin point lights of an awakening n…
Pin point lights of an awakening …
Felix Vallotton - 1917
Felix Vallotton - 1917
Edouard Vuillard - 1906
Edouard Vuillard - 1906
Henri Rousseau - 1906
Henri Rousseau - 1906
Henri Rousseau - 1886
Henri Rousseau - 1886
Pablo Picasso - 1940
Pablo Picasso - 1940
Edgar Degas - 1883-1885
Edgar Degas - 1883-1885
Pablo Picasso - 1906-1906
Pablo Picasso - 1906-1906
Camille Pissaro - 1877
Camille Pissaro - 1877
Edvard Munch - 1907
Edvard Munch - 1907
Edvard Munch - 1889
Edvard Munch - 1889
Edvard Munch - 1925-1931
Edvard Munch - 1925-1931
Edvard Munch - 1921
Edvard Munch - 1921
Giovanni Segantini - 1896/7
Giovanni Segantini - 1896/7
Giovanni Segantini - 1896/7
Giovanni Segantini - 1896/7
Auguste Rodin - 1892
Auguste Rodin - 1892
Henri Edmond Cross - 1903/5
Henri Edmond Cross - 1903/5
Henry van de Velde - 1888
Henry van de Velde - 1888
Marc Chagall - 1924
Marc Chagall - 1924
Marc Chagall - 1956/60
Marc Chagall - 1956/60
Marc Chagall - 1964/66
Marc Chagall - 1964/66
Marc Chagall - 1922
Marc Chagall - 1922
Marc Chagall - 1942/3
Marc Chagall - 1942/3
Marc Chagall - 1910
Marc Chagall - 1910
Henri Matisse - 1916
Henri Matisse - 1916
Claude Monet - 1920/6 (Water lilie…
Claude Monet - 1920/6 (Water lili…
Claude Monet - 1914/22 (Water Lili…
Claude Monet - 1914/22 (Water Lil…
Han Arp - 1916/7
Han Arp - 1916/7
Max Earnst - 1935/6
Max Earnst - 1935/6
Pablo Picasso - 1961
Pablo Picasso - 1961
Pable Picasso - 1944
Pable Picasso - 1944
Joan Miro - 1945
Joan Miro - 1945
Joan Miro - 1925
Joan Miro - 1925
CLaude Monet - 1864
CLaude Monet - 1864
Vincent Van Goch - 1890
Vincent Van Goch - 1890
Vincent Van Goch
Vincent Van Goch
Vincent Van Goch - 1889
Vincent Van Goch - 1889
Vincent van Gogh - 1889
Vincent van Gogh - 1889
Vincent Van Goch - 1888
Vincent Van Goch - 1888
Paul Gaugin - 1889
Paul Gaugin - 1889
Paul Gaugin - 1892
Paul Gaugin - 1892
Paul Cezanne - 1880/2
Paul Cezanne - 1880/2
Auguste Renoir - 1901
Auguste Renoir - 1901
A Swiss childrens choir singing c…
A Swiss children's choir singing …
Zurich
photo by: Sweetski