An American in Switzerland – Day Four

I’m finding that some of the best food I’ve gotten has been from street vendors. Case in point, at the moment I’m eating a deviiiine zucchini squash quiche that has a few spicy red bell peppers in it. For dessert? I have a berry custard served in a quiche shell (I believe it might be categorized as a clatoufis). Mmmmmm. Top that off with a coke (I’m really craving caffeine), and I’ve got lunch for about $15 USD (food is terribly expensive here, remember). Yesterday I got an amazing vegetarian falafel sandwich from a vendor near the train station. It was like a gyro with the spicy dill yoghurt sauce and onions (the latter of which I managed to get them to hold) and the tomatoes, only with fried falafel (chickpea) patties instead of beef. And it was served between two slices of a thick bread.

Today was museum day. For only 14 francs, I can get an all day pass to any museum in Winterthur (they have 17!), plus bus rides between them. I actually walked to each museum, attempting to see four in all, but after several tries, never found the fourth one.

I started with the Museum Oskar Reinhart am Stadtgarten, which is in the park that our hotel borders. I saw mainly Swiss artists from the 1700 and 1800’s. On the top floor, there was a small collection of Toulouse La Trec (sorry, again, no spell check on me) and this really really really bizarre collection of sketches by a guy whose name I can’t remember, but might just need some mental help. And yes, this is coming from someone who loves art.

I ate my quiche lunch, and then walked to the Museum Briner und Kern Rathaus. This was my favorite museum by far. They had a gorgeous collection of medieval and renaissance era paintings, which I loved – they were so rich and detailed! They also had a huge gorgeous ceramic tiled stove that is hard to describe unless you see it. I couldn’t take a picture of it, but I bought a post card. It was trimmed in green, with scenes in blue, yellow and green painted on the different sections. And there was a small bench built into part of it. Our hotel has a far smaller version of the same type of stove in the tavern (I’ll have to remember to take a picture of that).

Also unique to this museum was its vast collection of miniature paintings – miniatures. Most were from the 1700’s and 1800’s, but a rare few were renaissance-era. The museum coordinator (who was incredibly sweet and helpful even though she didn’t know a lick of English) loaned me a magnifying glass to look at them. There were several hundred from England, Switzerland, France, Germany and a few other countries. After a while, I only zoomed in to look at every third one or so. These miniatures were absolutely astounding in their detail – every minute hair could be seen, and had to have been painted with brushes that only had a few strands in them. Just amazing!

The next museum I went to was supposedly the biggest museum in the city, the Kunstmuseum Winterthur. While the building was impressive, I didn’t really like the collection. I tend not to enjoy super modern art (basically most art after 1950 or so), and most of this musuem’s collection was just that. However, I did get to see Monet’s famous Waterlilies painting (yay!), and one of Van Gogh’s “wheat” paintings that I’d actually seen in an exhibit in Dallas a few months ago. There was also a few Giacometti. There was one painting by an artist called Ferdinand Hodler that I just sat and stared at for a good five to ten minutes. On the postcard I have, it is called “Blick in die Unendlichkeit” which may or may not be its original name, as the rest of the postcard is also in German. It is a painting of five women with dark hair and olive skin each in the same blue ankle-length dress that clings to each of their bodies, highlighting every curve. They are set against a plain field. Each figure is full of movement, and their hands are barely touching; they are laid out in a line across the painting. I can’t really explain it, but I couldn’t stop looking at it.

After slogging through some really blah modern art, I attempted to go to the Kunsthalle Winterthur, but never found the darn thing, and gave up and went back to the hotel.

That night we went out for Italian food with the UK coworker. It was the same restaurant as the one I first ate in when I arrived, so I was slightly disappointed, as I’d wanted to try different restaurants. The boys had pizza, and I had a marrrrrrrrvelous gnocchi dish in a cream sauce with chicken, a few scant red bell pepper pieces, and it was all baked and cheesy, and toasted on top. Mmmm! It was far better than the ravioli I’d had previously. I might just go back there for lunch and have it again one day. For dessert, I had some sort of thing that was a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream, a scoop of tiramisu ice cream, and a scoop of cinnamon ice cream and a spot of fudge. It was pretty decent, and I managed to eat the whole bowl (mostly so I wouldn’t have to listen to Heath whine).

As we were walking to the restaurant, a steady snowfall had begun. By the time we left the restaurant, there was an inch or two on the ground. We had a bit of a walkabout to stretch out after dinner, threw a few snowballs. In a large cobblestone square (where they usually have an open marketplace in the summer), I wrote in huge letters “Krys was here.” Heh. Eventually headed back to the hotel for the night.

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