In July we joined Big Art (Arthur's Father), and Marji (Arthur's wicked stepmother) for a delightful trip to Switzerland with all of their children, spouses, and grandchildren. We based ourselves in Meiringen, a delightful village south of Luzern. Over the next days and weeks I will share my journal, photographs, and other goodies from our trip.
We decide to go to Luzern. I'm not particularly interested in going to a reformed church (although I might be persuaded). So we leave Meiringen relatively early to catch the trainbut it is a bus that takes us over the pass (last night's rain has caused damage to the track) to Gieswil, where we catch the Zentralbahn.
The city is buzzing with some kind of festival (Blue Balls which phrase meant something entirely different in High School) The train station is new with the old entrance as a sort of gate in the plaza that fronts the station. Next door is the stunning KKL building, but more about that later.
We take the "Chapel Bridge", major parts of which were destroyed by a fire in 1993. The program for the paintings is the life of St. Mauritius, and a great number of these were destroyed in the fire, although a couple of charred examples are left to give us an idea of the loss. The newer parts of the bridge are covered with graffiti, which is very sad. We're here on a Sunday, so nothing is open; restaurants yes, shops, no. We go into St. Peter's Church but it is unremarkable, and since the shops in the Old Town are closed we hoof it over to Hofkirche. Oh, and I forgot to charge my camera, so there will be only a couple of pictures from today.
Arthur loves the ordinary stuff of life, so on the way over to the church we look at fabric, furniture, soap, whatever, all in store windows. Most of all we look at shoes; my little Imelda.
The Hofkirche is a remarkable late medieval building with a baroque nave that pokes its way through the simple steepled towers. Inside is beautiful. The choir serves only for the divine office, and the gate that separates it from the nave serves as a reredos for the high altar, with a fine crucifix hanging above it. All of the predellae were wood set into the stone floor, and a new "old" baroque free-standing altar sits in front of the chancel screen. Lots of relics.
Outside there is a quadrangle with the church sitting in the midst of it. There are loggia that run along all the sides, only parting at the entrance to the quadrangle. Bodies are buried under the pavement with the back wall used for family or individual monuments. Lisa (my sister-in-law) will need to know that there are many Von Moos there. We spend a great deal of time in the Friedhof, it's very calming and peaceful, thus living up to its name.
From there we walk back to the lake (noticing along the way a provider of ecclesiastical arts and vestments). The merchants in booths along side the lake are attracting our attention along with their linen hats, pointed shoes, but we purchase nothing.
Finally there is lunch (salad with tuna, Arthur: Alpenmacaron with a very nice Apfelwein. After lunch we look for the city walls and only find them after we wend our way back to the river. They are off in the near distance with wonderful medieval towers. I begin to better understand Dürer's landscapes looking at the topography and walls of Luzern.
There is another covered bridge right below the old water works, the Sheuerbrüke. It also has paintings, and these are a fascinating study of "death" visiting life in various guises and at various times. The last painting in the series is a "Resurrection".
We walk along the opposite bank of the river to the Jesuitenkirche, which is a magnificent baroque room. Mass is just ending with a hymn, so we receive the benediction from the celebrant and then sit down to listen to the postlude. Someone walks by who is a dead ringer for our friend Erna Dennert.
The side chapels are interesting, with many relics, and there is a wonderful faux marbre pulpitpink! We bless ourselves with holy water and move on.
At the KKL (Kultur und Kongresszentrum Luzern) we go to the Kunsthalle for whatever they have to show (19th century and contemporary landscapes, some Korean video work, and some drawings and paintings by a local painter, Toller. The drawings are quite wonderful, delicate with a complex edge, and the permanent collection has some good Pechstein and Metzer. I buy a couple of books and then we descend to the café.
There are some fruit tarts at the café, cherries with strawberries, with a nice espresso. It's perfect. We wander around a bit moe and then take an early train home. Musing, if you will, on the museum (KKL), however, I think that Americans cheat themselves by only going to the major museums and exhibitions, thereby missing painters that are worthy of both time and attention. Perhaps this is a subset of my reading Günter Grass' memoir, where we meet him more as an artist than an author. Where are his works? Which museum? And what others have we missed?
Walking home in Meiringen, we run into Tim and Sawyer, who ask us to share some dessert with them. It gives us a chance to visit with the both of them, a rare occurance. Later Robert and family and Art and Marji drop by for dinner. We visit briefly and then go home.
Arthur makes a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with scrambled eggs. Perfect!
I write, and then read. I finish Unpeeling the Onion, and am struck with a sense of sadness and loss. I enjoyed his retake on the era. I have to begin Mailer's Executioner's Song. It won't be happy.
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