Thursday, July 14th ~ Zürich, Switzerland
With very little sleep last night, we were up and ready for breakfast before 7:00. The hotel had been given high marks for the quality of the food offered and it did not disappoint. Rick Steves, in his book on Switzerland, had suggested a walking tour through Zürich which looked easy to follow and hit several of the highlights that we wanted to check out.
But first we wanted to visit the Swiss National Museum which did not open until 10:00. That gave us a couple of hours to relax, get caught up on emails, check out Yahoo news, Facebook and play a few rounds of “Words With Friends” – you know, all the important stuff!!!
One of the nice perks of getting the Swiss Rail Pass is the 460 Museums to which you are now allowed free admission. Just present your rail pass along with your passports and you will be handed a complimentary ticket. That saved us $8 per person here.
The museum itself started out a little dry for me. I enjoy learning history, but had a hard time jumping in with very little advance research having been done. I did know that Switzerland had remained neutral during both of the World Wars, that was about it. I did not spend much time in this section. Perhaps being overly tired, feeling some jet-lag, as well as underwhelmed by the displays, I did not give it the time and concentration it deserved. I’m certainly hoping to improve in this area as our trip continues…
But don’t get me wrong, this was just the start of what turned out to be a wonderful museum, filled with a lot of fabulous displays. We ended up spending almost two hours there. Even my dear hubby, who sometimes finds museums dry, enjoyed himself.
The Swiss are known for several things including clocks, chocolate, banking, swiss cheese, fabric, being neutral but fierce protectors (think about the guards at the Vatican), pharmaceutical (chemical) manufacturing and packaging to name a few.
I was so pleasantly surprised that in one section we were allowed up close to wood panels and intricate furnishings that one would normally be held back behind roped fences from being able to touch. The workmanship was exquisite to examine closely.
Even the building that housed the museum was a work of art. Through a couple of upstairs windows, I tried to take a few pictures to capture how intricate it was.
Another item I found of great interest was the original metal hardware on the doors. The locks and hinges were both massive. The wood inlay masterfully done.
Wow, our day was just getting started with much to still see, a lot of walking to do, great food to taste, churches to visit, see the swans on Lake Zürich, admire the colorful architecture, ride on the tram, and a LOT of pictures to take…
But this post is already getting long, so will sign off for now and continue shortly with a report from the rest of our day.
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GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful to have had the opportunity to visit a museum that allowed a more “hands on” approach to displaying some of their collection. Much of it was still carefully protected behind glass of course, but the wooden displays, some of the church artifacts were there for all to “experience” much closer than I was used to. I sure hope that the public appreciates this opportunity and will respect and care for the items on open display.