Zurich -- commercial and transport center (home to one of Europe's largest train stations) and a center of the Reformation. Take a Zwingli through Zurich with us (bad religious joke). We didn't get pix of the several floors of businesses, stores, and cafes at the Zurich Bahnhof, but here's a voluptuous sculpture in the main hall. What a welcome to the heart of Protestantism. Or, perhaps a salute to Dadaism, which started here during World War I at the Cafe Voltaire, just around the corner from the Grossmunster. That's where Zwingli started out as a priest but eventually convinced Zurich to break with Rome and initiated the Swiss-German Reformation.
The Grossmunster is a huge Romanesque former monastery church dating from the 1200s, now simply furnished since the organ and statues were torn out in the 1500s. It has a giant portal with medieval columns, and its twin towers are a Zurich landmark. Legend says it was founded by Charlemagne when his horse stumbled upon the graves of Zurich's patron saints In fact, a statue of him from the late 1400s that was originally on the upper facade (a copy is there now) is in the crypt. It's kind of squat and dwarf-like, but perhaps exerted Carolingian majesty when seen from far below!
Through the Middle Ages, the church vied with the Frauminster, directly across the Linmat River from it, for religious seniority. The towers from the late 1400s had large wooden steeples that were destroyed in a fire in the 1700s. They were rebuilt in a neo-Gothic style that prompted Wagner to call them giant pepper dispensers. The Grossmunster has 20th C stained glass by Swiss Artist Alberto Giacometti.
The Frauminster was founded by Charlemagne's grandson as a Benedictine convent. From the mid-1000s, the convent's abbesses held considerable economic and political authority, which lasted until the Reformation. The buildings were destroyed in 1898, but the early 20th C rebuild has walls, faint frescos, and other details from the medieval era. The church is also graced with a number of Chagall stained glass windows from 1970, each with a dominant color and each depicting a Biblical story. They are extraordinarily powerful in this large, bare space just steps away from one of the sources of the Reformation.
Before that, while wending our way through the old part of Zurich, we stopped at a church we thought was the Grossmunster. It wasn't, but we were treated to a pianist, Els Biesemens, rehearsing for her concert that evening.
Couple more memories of Zurich...it was starting to cloud over and we were starving. One cafe near the Frauminster looked promising. We sat down and waited...and waited. Some Americans in their 20s or 30s were, as usual, loud, and F-bombing. Let me just say that, for the month that we had been over here at that point, we heard very few English speakers, let alone Americans. So, we started a conversation with an older couple, nicely dressed, next to us, by commenting on how embarrassed we were about the group. He was a gallery owner and she was in fur and silk. They commiserated and also said in German that they had been waiting for their food forever. I finally went up to see what was going on--the other Americans were thankfully long gone. Turned out the cafe's kitchen had closed! Since it was getting late and considerably colder, we traipsed through Zurich's magnificent shopping district (closed, it being a Sunday) and finally found a sandwich to share in the mulit-storied train terminal!
Here is an 11 minute audio of the pianist playing what we believe is the Schubert piece - it was an quite unexpected and wonderful concert!
Hard to let go of Lucerne images. The weather was still cool, as it had been in Zurich, but we enjoyed our favorite restaurant there. Okay, it's German-Swiss, but convivial and a great bargain. Hard to beat their version of quiche and salad.
The last few images are from the lake's edge just before we did the Lucerne Transport Museum.