Friday, 30 August 2013


Our flight departed for Zurich last night at 6:20 p.m. (just after midnight in Switzerland). No matter how frequently we travel, I experience an intense brain/body conflict when time zones are skipped. With an almost eight-hour flight ahead, my practical brain reasoned, "Move your watch forward; pretend it is midnight. Grab your blanket and pillow. Don your sleep mask and ear plugs. Now sleep. We will reset your body clock." My body, however, cried, "Hey, what's going on here? Put down that blanket. It's dinner time and I'm hungry. There is food.....and wine.....and a movie! Come on. Celebrate! The night is young. What are you - an old lady? Have some fun!"
At 8:00 this morning, Air Canada touched down at Flughafen Zurich-Kloten ( say that when you have been up most of the night!) and now my brain screamed, "We are in Switzerland. Hurry! Let's go! So much to see! So much to explore! Let's get moving here!" My body, on the other hand groaned in response, "Ah man, I'm draggin'. Total fatigue here. Need bed. Need pillow. It's just the middle of the night in Toronto. Aaaach! Jet lag!"
The French refer to it as "les effects du decalage"; the Japanese, "jisaboke" and the medical world, "circadian desyncronization". Whatever! No matter how fancy the term, it is what it is - pure and simple jet lag. There is an old saying that, "the spirit cannot move faster than a camel". That would be me. So succumbing to our disoriented internal clocks, Jim and I crashed for about three hours.
Zurich is the epicentre of Swiss banks and famous Swiss financial security. What a great place to just spend a couple of days shaking off our jet lag, we thought. Have we ever been pleasantly surprised. Zurich may hold great importance in the financial world, but it feels like a small, gracious city, not the coldly efficient financial hub we envisioned. Cobblestoned streets, narrow lanes, tiny squares reminiscent of Italian piazzas, and leafy green promenades along the waterfronts of both the Limmat River and Lake Zurich welcome you. Small wonder it has a reputation as Europe's most livable city.
After a coffee enjoyed at a little cafe along the river, we headed for Fraumunster, the abbey church famous for its 30-foot stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. I was excited to see these. In 1967, Chagall presented an exhibit in Zurich. At the time, he was offered a commission by the city to create the windows for Fraumunster. Much to Zurich' s astonishment, he accepted. The completed work is nothing short of stunning. In rich colours and shard-like cubism he created five magnificent windows - The Prophets (in reds), Jacob (in his favourite colour, blue), Christ (greens), Zion (brilliant yellows) and The Law (blue). To sit in the choir of this otherwise monochromatic church and gaze at these widows backlit by sunshine is an experience I will not soon forget. To say that the vibrant windows assault the senses is an understatement.
For the remainder of the afternoon, to stretch our cramped airline legs, we hiked a few miles along the glorious leafy promenade bordering Lake Zurich.
Tonight we are off to a "guild" for a truly Swiss meal (?) and are eagerly looking forward to truly discovering more of glorious Zurich tomorrow.
I have attached photos. Because, this computer genius (much laughter accompanied by Chris and Matt shaking their embarrassed heads!) has not figured our how to label her pictures with the blog program, I will list what they are before.
1. Chagall Windows. Not taken by me personally. No cameras are allowed. I have just downloaded this picture from the Internet. The centre three windows are flanked on separate walls by the outside two.
2,3,4. Along the Limmat River
5,6. Lake Zurich Pormenade
7. Small squares such as this one abound. So reminiscent of Italian piazzas.
8. Tiny back lanes just waiting to be explored. Tomorrow!!
9. Swiss efficient tram service. Mayor Ford, you desperately need to visit.

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