Sunday, 24 September 2017

September Holiday: Zurich, Day 1



Last night I returned from two weeks away, my third (!) holiday this year. If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have never believed that one day I'd be one of those people who go on holiday three times a year! Not to mention all the wonderful weekends away (some longer, some "normal" ones) that I get to spend at O.K.'s; those often feel like mini holidays, too.
 
We left O.K.'s village for Zurich on the 12th of this month. The drive there took about 3 hours - it would have been much shorter if we had not arrived at the outskirts of the city just in time for the after work rush hour.
 
Never mind, we found our quarters (an apartment close to the city centre, but in a quiet road nonetheless) and had a first quick look around before finding a place where we had dinner. It was sunny when we arrived, but rained later and during the night.
 
The next morning, Wednesday (the 13th), was still overcast and threatening with rain. Undeterred by the weather, we decided to take a train to the Uetliberg (Mount Uetli) which overlooks the city and the lake.
 
First view of Zurich on our way from the train station to the top:
 
 
These fellows line the path leading to the top. I suppose they are based on a legend: Princesses Berta and Hildegard, two sisters, lived in the 9th century in a castle on top of one of the mountains. They were so pious that not only did they spend nearly all day in prayer and contemplation, but walked all the way down the mountain into Zurich to pray there each evening in a chapel.
The way through the woods was dark and dangerous, and the sisters were always a little afraid of walking there. One night they saw a light shine between the trees. Getting closer, they found it was a white stag, carrying candles in his antlers. The white stag lead the way to a spot where the sisters found the burial site of Zurich's two patron saints, siblings Felix and Regula. The sisters prayed there until the stag lead them back home.
This happened night after night, until the princesses' father heard of it. He was angry that his daughters had been leaving the castle on their own each night, and did not believe their story of the stag until he followed them one night. The sisters prayed for a sign to show their father that they were right in returning to the same place every night for prayer, and a green rope descended from the sky.
Their father was convinced, and the Fraunm├╝nser ("Ladies' Minster") was built on the spot.
 
 
 
This viewing tower is a 1999 replacement of an older structure. It was very windy that day, and nobody was on top. At first, I didn't dare to climb up, but when O.K. said he was going to, I joined him and did not regret it - the views in all directions were great! But it really WAS windy, and I made sure to keep close to the rails and hold fast to them whenever there was a particular strong gust.
 
 
 
 
You can tell from my pictures that the sky changed rapidly with the strong winds. I could have taken photos every few seconds but limited myself to only a few. Eventually, we climbed back down and started to walk to Felsenegg through the woods.  
 
A rusty gate leading nowhere:


Looking back towards the viewing tower where we had been:
 
An abandoned restaurant:
 
 
On the other side of the road, I thought at first this was a cemetery - but then we realised these are the stone feet of tables and benches that once belonged to the abandoned restaurant:
 

At Felsensegg, we took a cable car down the mountain and a train back into town. The weather was improving; it was early afternoon now. I will show you the pictures I took then in another post.

13 comments:

  1. Wow! I would not have had the nerve to climb up high like that no matter how good the views! Which were, I must admit, gorgeous. I'm glad to head how much you're enjoying yourself these days! I'm also glad you're back to the blog.

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    1. Glad to hear, not head. Sheesh!

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    2. Thank you, Jennifer! Much as I like travelling, it is also good to be back home after a while :-)

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  2. Oh, it looks so gorgeous!
    Guess what, my sister went to Europe this summer and she absolutely fell in love with Switzerland. I can see why.
    I don't blame you one bit for hanging on while on that high tower in high winds!

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    1. Your sister has probably been showing you lots of pictures from her trip, too.
      Apart from us, there was only one young lady climbing up the tower while we were there. She didn't stay long and came back down with us, I think she only took one picture when she dared to let go of the handrail!

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  3. Meike, trips such as this are always wonderful - and I'm happy for you having a great guy to go with you and enjoy the great outdoors and scenery together. Travel as much as you can - you'll never regret it!
    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Thank you, Mary! It was a very good two weeks, and felt much longer because of the many different things we did and places we saw.

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  4. I am glad you had such a lovely vacation, and glad that you are home again and blogging again. I would have been quite uneasy up in that tower in wind! Paul and I were in a fire tower the summer before we married and I was sure we would die any second! I thought the whole thing would collapse.

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    1. Thank you, Kristi!
      It is interesting how my perception of danger has changed with getting older. Years ago, I would not have thought twice about climbing that tower. But the older I get, the more afraid I am, even when it is unreasonable. That tower was perfectly safe and has been withstanding winds much stronger than what we experienced, and yet it took O.K. climbing ahead of me to make me overcome my fear.

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  5. I've never been to Zurich. When I disposed of The Nighthawk (sigh!!) it still had the sticker on the windscreen to say that I had paid my Swiss Road Tax for my stay there about 5 years ago. I was intrigued by the possibility of a 'gate to nowhere'. The concept of 'nowhere' is something I find hard to imagine. Sounds rather exciting. I think I'd have gone through to have a look.

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    1. I was tempted to have a look, too, but the path lead along the wall and it was rather obvious that all there was behind it was an overgrown garden, once part of a restaurant for people on a day out.

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  6. That is so maddening. My comment disappeared when I tried to post it. Here goes again..

    I've never been to Zurich. However when I sold The Nighthawk (sigh!!) it still had the sticker on the windscreen to say that I'd paid my Swiss Road Tax for my visit about 5 years ago.

    The legend is fascinating.

    However what really intrigued me was the 'gate to nowhere'. The idea that a 'nowhere' should exist excites me. I would have had to go through the gate to find out what nowhere was like.

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    1. "Nowhere" is just as impossible to grasp as "infinity" and "eternity", I think.
      Your comment did come through the first time, as you can see :-)

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