This weekend, hot off our trip to Sedrun, we went off to Zurich for an overnight trip. There was an international horse show jumping competition happening there and I was NOT going to miss it. E came along with me for some quality time and Mark took H to the Dinosaur Museum. It’s like the tale of two vacations!
And in that spirit, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times.
My experience with Zurich was a bit different than Mark’s. I found Zurich to be a smidgen on the crazy and stuck-up side. To be fair, I was surrounded by horse people and horse people are a bit different than your average people. They can be some of the kindest, warmest, and most caring people you will ever meet, but they can also be crazy. And E and I met with some of the crazy. A herd of teenage girls tried to take our seats and then moved behind us so they could subtly kick our seats (proving that teenagers everywhere are self-centered and vengeful). Then an upper-middle aged and impeccably dressed woman sat next to us. Every time E moved she gasped and mumbled things to us in French. Then she continued to stare and tisk at him like he was going to slam down his water and riot through the section at any moment. I moved him and rolled my eyes at her.
The horse show was fantastic. Wonderful and beautiful jumpers along with some amazing human entertainment performances. The whole show, including the intermission entertainment, had a French/Parisian theme. So, E got to see the can-can dancers from the Moulin Rouge, mimes with horses, fashion, and a cavalry brass band (think drums, trumpets, French horns, and tubas on horseback).
We had a wonderful time together. It was also a great time for some uninterrupted conversation about books, school, and life in general. I believe the experts call it “bonding time.”
Mark and H, in contrast, found Zurich delightful! When the train that was going to take them to the dinosaur museum was having issues the people at the Info booth gave them a very detailed work-around. The people at the dinosaur museum were a lot of fun and H got his Dad to buy him a stuffed dinosaur. And THEN they went to the grocery store to pick up some snacks and breakfast for the morning and when Tyrannosaurus Rex Fluffy Carlson (H has a gift with names) leaped onto the counter the cashier laughed delightedly and gave H a piece of candy and some stickers. So for H, Zurich is the best city ever.
Aside from the snooty woman and awful teenagers at the show, I did like Zurich. It’s the largest city in Switzerland and the hub of almost all transportation into and out of the country. The train station is HUGE. Mark got lost for a moment in the maze that is the underground level. Zurich has been settled for 2000 years. It was born at about the same time as Jesus! It was first called Turicum in 15BC by the Romans; however, there are signs that people have been living there on and off for more than 6,400 years. We’re talking Neolithic, Bronze Age, and pre-Roman Celtic people walking around there.
The city is full of bankers and people with money who need bankers. The several kilometer line of high-end stores (Cartier, Hermes, Armani, and Louis Vuitton to name a few) testify to that. The architecture is very interesting. Zurich was accidentally bombed in WWII. The residents had to pull down the older buildings that were damaged and destroyed; making room for a bigger mix of architectural themes. There are 15th – 17th century buildings, a load of 18th – 19th century buildings that look very French, and some 1950s – 1980s Mod architecture all along the same street!
Every town in Switzerland has a load of fountains. Typically the statues and art that top those fountains date from the original construction and are meticulously preserved. Here, however, there are some with wonderful abstract sculptures on top of original city fountains and some fountains that are brilliantly modern.
A wonderful steel fountain. It reminds me of a mountain in springtime.
The fountains aren’t the only way the city is blending ancient with modern. Surprisingly, it’s all through the churches, too.
And here’s where Mark says I’m going to hell. There is a sign that clearly states “don’t take pictures inside.” But I couldn’t help myself. The gift shop was closed and I needed to have pictures of the windows. The quality isn’t good, because I had my phone half out of my pocket in an effort to be sneaky. (And I did put money in the donations box, so I don’t think I’ll be going to hell.)
See what I mean about the blending of modern and ancient? And it’s present in the Grossmunster, too.
I did buy a postcard here. I’m taking of picture of it and then posting it because, really, the organ is not to be believed.
I am surprised by how much traveling inspires me to create. I watch Project Runway and I used to shrug when they would send their designers off to Rome or Paris or somewhere to inspire them. Now I get it. When you are in a new place you actually look and see things. I lived in DC, which is arguably a very visually stimulating place to live. But I’d lived there for 14 years and I’d stopped seeing what was beautiful there. Now I’m always seeing shapes and designs and bits of things that I can see putting into quilts, bags, and textile art.
I love wandering around new cities. I am constantly inspired by what I am seeing. I am sort of regretting not having my sewing machine right now, but I’m sketching a lot so I don’t lose the ideas. Let’s just say that my accessories show in 2016 is going to be amazing.