Thursday, October 15, 2009


Hello speed readers! (or the not-another-flaming-email-from-watson club) Day two in Swiss, Manfred and I went to Zurich and went up and down and in an out, saw churches and shops and houses and the lake and the river and the roman fort (look over this precipitous wall, John). It was great if tiring. Lots of the houses have their date or the date of a major redevelopment above the door and many were from the 1500s.
Manfred picked up that a guy who lived in a street centuries ago has nearly the same name as a guy Manfred knows who lives just a few doors down hill. This is not proof, but it is entirely possible that they are related. It will be a while before that is possible in Australia!
Zürich was a centre of the Reformation so several churches changed allegiances. Another RC church declared its independence from Rome in the late 1800s. It had a lovely "prayed in" feel. Both here and in Nürnberg the reformers did not trash the pictured and statues, which is interesting.
Manfred had a Latin lesson (yes, it's true. M is not satisfied with a love of five languages and their literature) and after I found that the museum was shut, I bought a book and read it until he arrived. We got home late but the chef delayed the evening meal with a good grace.
On day three we all took a train to the shore of Lake Zürich, walked across it (on a bridge, actually), and on to Einsiedeln, a Benedictine monastery with 90 monks. We climbed 600m and walked somewhere between 15 and 20km. It's good to know it's still possible, and not an aberration. The baroque church of the monastery is weighed down with its stucco and frescos. Unbelievable.
The train journey home was a little delayed but we found out the next day that the entire Swiss rail network ground to a halt with power failure about and a hour later. Whew.
With great difficulty, yesterday I pulled myself away from Manfred and Luciana's wonderful hospitality and travelled to Erlangen, beyond Nürnberg. The last section was on a high speed train but the conductor was slow making his rounds so I did not have to pay an excess.
Petra borrowed a car from her dad so she could drive us around (she normally uses a bike) and we drove into the countryside to have our evening meal at a small schloss or castle. It was a good time. She has an LCD TV and cable so I spent an hour watching CNN and then a German language program on the beginning of the 3rd Reich. There were some wartime images I had not seen, so that was good.
Petra is an intensive care nurse and is on arvo/evening duty for the next three days which is a pity. Still, this morning she drove me into Nürnberg and we went to an old cememtery. Very interesting! We found a 16th c pilgrim's grave, and that of Albrecht Dürer. Next year the world cup ends in Nürnberg, and the advertising is based on some of his images - a hare (covered in turf) and Adam and Eve. Eve actually looks like Steve with long hair. Make of that what you will.
I paid for a walking tour of N and at the end found that there is a concert in the form of a mass tonight at 7:30. It is to be recorded so presumably the standard will be exemplary. It is part of N's organ festival, and is free, unlike the 30€ for tomorrow night's Coronation of George II (Handel and others).
Bamberg is quite close to Erlangen so I may go there tomorrow. I'm thinking of leaving here early Sunday for Heidelberg before taking an overnight to Paris for Monday's flight. We'll see.
God bless youse all.

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