Today was a welcome and really enjoyable rest day, and exploring the city of Zurich was an unexpected treat for me. We bought a tourist card allowing travel by trolley bus or train throughout the day, hopping on and off when we reached our destination, or getting off and heading back in the other direction when we went wrong. Despite having had the good sense to bring Andy on this trip with me that still proved necessary on a couple of occasions.
The city has lake, river, mountain scenery and historic town to explore. I enjoyed the Grossmunster church, with magnificent abstract stained glass windows designed recently by Sigmar Polke. One series of windows had patterns produced by thin slices of agate stone which were back lit in sunlight and produced beautiful kaleidoscopic effects. So, my first souvenir purchase of the trip – two postcards of my favourite windows!
We also visited the old town, the Fraumunster church with windows by Marc Chagall, and the Kunsthaus, one of the main art galleries in Switzerland. We spent a long time admiring Monet Waterlillies, three from the series in a room of much greater tranquillity than hung in the National Gallery in London. It could be the relative number of people visiting or it could be a reflection of my current calm state of mind. Or it could be both.
As the day got warmer and the sun came out we decided to take a train up to the main Zurich viewpoint, the Uetilberg Mountain. This gave great views and proved to be a popular local Sunday afternoon activity. Zurich types seem to go in for dog walks involving taking the train up the hill, carrying the dog and the dog’s stick and then having a very short walk on the mountain paths. Today we did actually see a very pampered dog (wearing a pink dog coat, and with pink ribbons in its hair) which was being followed on its walk by a chap pushing a pink pooch-chair for when the poor thing got tired. Sometimes I despair of humankind, hope it doesn’t show too often.
Track of the day: Paul Simon, Rene and Georgette Magritte and their dog after the war, because this came into my head the instant we stood before a Magritte painting in the art gallery today!