An American in Switzerland – Day Two

Sunday morning we got up at a somewhat decent hour and had a cozy breakfast downstairs. We got ready and while we were waiting for the next train to Zurich, we bought and ate a sampling of chocolates from the mini-mall underneath the train station (the cappuccino truffles were the bomb!). After catching our train to Zurich, where we met up with one of the guys from Heath’s training class and his wife.

We started at this church called the Grossmunster, which was rumored to have been founded by Charlemagne himself in the late 8th or early 9th century. We went down to the bottom of the church into the crypts, and there was a huge scary statue of Charlemagne in there, keeping watch with a giant sword. There’s a picture of me standing next to it. Work began on the basilica in about 1100, and was completed in the 15th century. It is famous for the humanist Ulrich Zwingli sermons from the pulpit, which started the fire of Reformation across much of northern Switzerland. Since this church was governed by them, it is remarkably plain on the inside – nearly all art had been removed and/or destroyed. Even the stained glass is new (1932), and isn’t all that pretty IMHO.

We wandered the city together for a bit after that, and I was outvoted to eat at an American-style restaurant. Heath was seriously jonesing for a hamburger, and our companions wanted to try something different (they were from the UK). We had a really relaxing lunch together, comparing differences between the UK, the US, and Switzerland. I was bemused at the thought of having a Brazilian drink (caprihainia) in an American restaurant in Switzerland. Food was decent, and the “chips” were excellent – both I and the other wife kept stealing them from our husbands.

After the meal, the other couple had to take off for the airport, as the wife was flying back home that afternoon. We said our good byes to them and started a leisurely stroll down the Limmat river, which runs into the Zurichsee (a glacial lake in the middle of the city). I couldn’t help but think of Kirsti as I gleefully purchased a cup of hot gluewienn (is that how it is spelled?) – which is hot spiced wine. We sat in a park while I sipped my wine, and Heath got a few pictures of the snow-capped mountains to the distant north of the city. We danced silently in a huge gazebo in the middle of the park (it’s a thing… don’t ask) – very romantic.

We then walked down the supposed rodeo-drive of Zurich, filled with shops by designers like Coach. Heath led me through more and more narrow streets, heading up when ever we could, finally arriving breathless on top of the Lindenhof. This used to be a Celtic settlement, then a Roman fort, then an imperial palace in the 10th century. No buildings survive – just a big open park, with several giant chessboards with bowling-pin sized pieces for public play. We saw several groups surrounding the boards. People were out with their dogs, or cameras. The view overlooking the Limmat river is excellent, and I took a short 30 second video panning across the river from one end to the other.

Also on top of the hill was an interesting unmarked church. I was curious about it because it had a five-sided star filling a circular window close to the peak of the roof. The picture will soon be uploaded to our picture file. Any clues as to which branch of Christianity might have a star like that and why?

We took our time walking back to the train station (which is HUGE and very busy in Zurich). Got a train back to Winterthur and rested for a bit at our hotel, starting a movie in the laptop. We decided on something simple – Chinese takeaway from a decent looking place underneath the train station in Winterthur, but ended up staying in the restaurant to eat (there’s no fridge in our room to store any leftovers). The wonton soup was excellent, and the wontons were filled with shrimp instead of pork. The dishes were similar to the Chinese food we get in the US, but were pretty yummy.

Came back to the hotel room, watched the rest of the movie, and crashed.

Pictures of our day in Zurich can be found here.

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