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.
Arthur has labored long and hard to understand the train connections between Meiringen and Einsiedeln. So we don't drive, but train to Luzern, then to Arth-Goldau, and from their to Biberbrugg and Einsiedeln. After getting to Luzern, and changing trains we realize that we have left our hats on the first traingone! The town is charming, and we find a lebkuchen museum that we will have to save for later. As you come up to the monastery you are normally greeted by St. Mary's well (the water heals, and doesn't taste bad on a hot day) and a gentle rise of baroque steps. However on this day, the well is surrounded by scaffolding, canvas, and lighting for a Welttheater feature various cultural events and groups. And then there a lot of tourist shops selling religious items. That will have to wait until later as well.
Einsiedeln is the seat of a huge baroque Benedictine monastery, decorated by the brothers, Asam. We come in at the end of a mass in the Octagon at the Shrine of the Black Madonna. No cameras are allowed in the building, so we must drink it all in. We stand, waiting for the mass to end, which brings with it a heightened sense of anticipation. They end the mass with Freuen wir uns all in ein (http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/lbw/lbw037.mid) and I hum along. I miss the German hymn settings at home, and it is a joy to hear it sung here with such reverence.
I've always wanted to experience a German baroque building, and this is such a fine example. The pulpit is especially fascinating with all of the evangelists perched on the canopy suspended above. Plaques explain the baroque program in each chapel and side altar, and all the angels, putti, and other creatures are glazed, but with bisque clothing. I am anxious to get a book, and hope there is a DVD, or a CDROM with photographs. I ask at the Kloster door, and the monk refers me to the buchladung outside the church.
We walk slowly through, taking our time filling our memory with such wondrous sights. Finally we go to the shop to pick up a couple of things. There is no digital collection of the interior, however.
We wander about town a bit, looking in at a glass maker, and a little later at the lebkucken museum where we do buy a gift for Franziska. Arthur stops in at a shop and purchases some meat, cheese, and bread, and we're off to the train.
In Luzern, we walk over the modern street bridge, and then up the lake a bit to return to the ecclesiastical arts shop we saw a couple of days before. There is no luck in finding an alb these are quite cheesy. There is an antique shop run by a part-time San Franciscan, where we purchase some linens.
Since I didn't have a fully powered camera the last time we were here, we return to the Hofkirche so that I can take some, and then wander over to the Löwendenkmal, and The Panorama, which depicts Napoleon's retreat through Switzerland. The walls and towers of Luzern are very engaging, with a surprise at Christuskirche and its modern décor. Also of note were the drainage systems in the towers that dotted the walls. There were also cows and an electronic fence, all in the center of Luzern
We drop down to Müllerplatz and have something to eat (a very thin vichyssoise and a caprese, while Arthur had a very good Rösti.
I want to take pictures in the Spreuerbrücke, so we walk slowly across over to Franziskanerkirche with its very unusual Taufstein. At this point we are walked and churched out, so we make our way back to the train station, check on our hats (still lost), buy a CD of German music for the car, and some dark chocolate and almonds, and catch the train home.
We come back to the usual Wednesday night Meiringen Street Festival, and there we meet up with the Hoffman's and Carolyn's family. There are sausages and raclette (heated under a broiler, and then scraped onto bread; really very good!).
At home, there is the usual writing, reading, and with
eyes closing every paragraph or so, it's off to bed.