From Zurich, our Viking tour to the Alps took us to Brienz, Switzerland. We had time to walk around town and appreciate the beautiful blue-green waters of Lake Brienz.
The bus took us to Grindelwald next where we boarded a cogwheel train to travel further up into the mountains to Kleine Scheidegg. We couldn't see much because of the snow storm, but it was still very pretty. I would love to return to Switzerland someday.
May was a good time for capturing flower images even in the snow. Enjoy!
Finally finishing the images from our Viking River Cruise last May! Of course, it makes me want to go back. My son Brandon was my traveling companion for this epic voyage. (Keep in mind that anytime I get to travel with camera in hand is epic to me!) Zurich is a beautiful modern city on the shores of Lake Zurich with Roman roots. The lofty Alpine Range can be seen on the far edge of the lake.
The Grossmunster (great minister) is a Romanesque style church on the banks of the Limmat River and is considered Zurich's most recognizable landmark. This church was commissioned by Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor from 800-814. Charlemagne is credited with uniting most of Europe during the Middle Ages. Legend has it that Charlemagne's horse fell to it's knees over the tombs of Saints Felix and Regula, the patron saints of Zurich, and the king ordered the constuction of the church on that very site. Archeologists have recently found remains of a Roman burial ground under the present day Grossmunster adding merit to the legend.
In 1523, the monastery of Grossmunster was stripped of all things Catholic and became the center for religious Reformation led by Huldrych Zwingli and his predecessor Heinrich Bullinger. The wooden steeples of the twin towers were destroyed by fire and replaced with the metal steeples in 1787. More modern updates include the beautiful stained glass by artist Augusto Giacometti and two sculptured bronze doors created by Otto Munich added in the early 1900's.
Unfortunately, we did not have time to tour the Grossmunster on our guided city walk, but I did get an image of one of the bronze entry doors depicting scenes from the Old Testament. Part of the interior tour includes the opportunity to climb to the top of one of the towers for a birds' eye view of Zurich. (Add to the 'To Do List' for next visit!) Today, the cloister houses a Reformation museum and buildings adjacent to the Grossmunster host the University of Zurich's School of Theology.
Modern Zurich is truly colorful as Brandon and I found on our ventures around town. Our hotel was in the "techno" part of downtown Zurich which means plenty of young adults living the dream were everywhere!
Just a couple more images from our guided city tour. I stepped inside a Lutheran Church preparing for a special celebration with performers in Swiss attire. The church is very different from the ornate Catholic churches of Europe, but is absolutely beautiful in it's simplicity.
Zurich is home to Europe's largest church clock face on the tower of St. Peter's Church. The diameter of this clock is almost 8.7 meters (approx. 28.5 ft). The church was the oldest Catholic parish in Zurich, but was converted to a Protestant church in the Reformation of the 1500's. Remains of the original foundation dating back to the 9th century have been found near the present structure.
The 79 foot tower was added to the church in the early 13th century with the mechanical clockworks installed in the latter part of the 13th century. Up until 1911, the tower was a part of the city's fire defense serving as an observation tower. The tower has 5 bells that were installed in 1880 with the largest of the bells weighing over 6 tons.
Brandon and I toured this 1000 year old castle as part of our Viking River Cruise down the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. Medieval history comes alive as your take in the architecture, the furnishings and art work of the castle. This imperial castle was conquered by Louie the XIV in the Nine Year's War. Eventually the castle was purchased and restore in Gothic style by a Berlin businessman. Besides the castle tour, you can purchase tickets for a medieval banquet and falconry demonstrations on special days and times.
The views of Cochem from the castle were beautiful even on a cloudy spring day. There is a 4'x8' mosaic on one tower depicting St. Christopher that you can see from town. We learned about 'knight life' on our tour.
The interior of the castle was full of painted wood ceilings, suits of armor, works of art and beautiful carved wooden furniture pieces. The knights had special chairs with small seats and tall "backs" that served as the front of the chair, so a knight could straddle the seat and lean on the chair "back" while wearing the armor. There were suits of armor of various sizes and the metal etchings in the breast plates were often very intricate.
Here are some black and white images of the decor from inside and outside the Palace of Versailles. I am always on the look out for the extraordinary in ordinary things even in the golden Palace.
Brandon and I highly recommend a tour of the Palace. If you feel the need to bring a selfie stick, be kind to your fellow tourists and photographers. I do regret not doing some research before the tour about the artwork in the Palace beforehand. There was so much to take in, I'm sure I missed some masterpieces.