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 Fraunmünser ("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.