Our Blog - Zurich, Switzerland - August 2007
Our August trip was to Switzerland, while we were based in Zurich we also took tours outside of the city to Liechtenstein and the Swiss countryside. This was the first trip for both of us to Zurich and we were both pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness of the city as well as the winding cobblestoned streets. The city overlooks Lake Zurich and in the background you can see mountains, which in August were covered by green grass.
One of the famous churches in Zurich is the "Minister of Our Lady". While it is a church dating back from the 1200's, it is perhaps most famous for its stained glass windows done by Marc Chagall in the early 1970's. While it may seem odd that a Russian born Jew would design stained glass windows for a Christian church, apparently the pastor was so impressed by Chagall's work he was able to persuade him to take on the project:
This Zurich church is from the 11th century and is said to have been founded by Charlemagne when his horse stumbled on the site. In the 3rd century St. Felix was martyred nearby by the Romans.
St. Peter's Church may be known as Zurich's oldest parish church, (from the 13th century), it is best known as having the largest clock face in Europe. That includes Big Ben in London.
Shortly before our trip to Zurich we took a walking tour in Paris in the Montmarte area. During the walking tour we learned about the water fountains that were placed in the city in the 1800's to provide fresh drinking water. While in Zurich we saw an exact replica of these fountains and felt compelled to take a picture.
The weather during our trip to Zurich was perfect, sunny and very comfortable every day. This picture gives you a good idea of how the city sits right on the water and the number of people on the water.
We spent quite a bit of time outside the city of Zurich, one of the towns we visited along the lake was Rapperswil. It is a relatively small town that had a nice town square with a castle that loomed over the town. The picture you see here leads from the town center to the area near the castle.
One of the interesting aspects of Rapperswil was the architecture, here you can see an old wooden house which is what we think of when we think of Swiss houses.
This is another old house in Rapperswil, one interesting item we noticed in a few Swiss towns was the prevalence of drawings and paintings on the side of houses and buildings. This house provides a good example of that.
During our 8 hour tour outside of Zurich, we saw many examples of stunning scenery, This picture from the bus was just one of many examples where we saw green valleys surrounded by beautiful mountains. At one point during the trip, they stopped and pointed out mountains that were in 4 countries: Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and Liechtenstein.
On our 8 hour tour we took a short 1 hour detour into Liechtenstein. The picture here is of the residence of the current prince of Liechtenstein, it is perched on a sheer cliff above the small town of Valduz.
On our long tour through the Swiss countryside we stopped at the house where the original Heidi had been filmed. It was an authentic Swiss house from that time period and Tom took the opportunity to play with the local pets.
Another scenic view of the Swiss country with the cliffs near Lake Zurich.
Departing from the town of Rapperswill we took a picture showing the castle that overlooks the town. Below the castle you can see a small vineyard to the left as well as the house we had shown previously.