Europe 2012- Day 11, Paris to Zurich to St. Gallen to Busingen

We got up at 4:30am to make it to the metro by 5:30. Apparently no one knew that the trains started running at that time- but came from another area so we had to wait 30 minutes for the first train. The second half of our group made it on time to the train at the Gare de Lyon and were frantically waiting and calling our designated international cell phone holder to see where we were. By a series of very fortunate events- and by us jogging and sprinting at times, we made it to the train station on time! I clocked in at 6:07am and our train left at 6:15 on the dot. That was a close one! We had a very uneventful long train ride and made it to Zürich a little before noon. The above picture and the first one below are from the train station in Zürich, the second one below is from walking out in town- it was so nice to explore there! I loved the feel, I want to go back and spend more time:


We walked by the river and through town- I love the feel of it here. Did I say that before? I just feel very at home in Zürich. It has this fresh European upscale river town feel:

We got to the Grossmünster, Zwingli’s church. It is beautiful- I was surprised at the stained glass windows though- I later learned they were added by Swiss artist Augusto Giacometti 1932. 🙂

It is a Romanesque-style Protestant church – the main structure was commenced around 1100 and inaugurated around 1220. It is built on what legends say was a church that Charlemagne commissioned. “Recent archaeological evidence confirms the presence of a Roman burial ground at the site. Huldrych Zwingli initiated the Swiss-German Reformation in Switzerland from his pastoral office at the Grossmünster, starting in 1520. The reforms initiated by Zwingli and continued by his successor, Heinrich Bullinger, account for the plain interior of the church. The iconoclastic reformers removed the organ and religious statuary in 1524. These changes, accompanied by abandonment of Lent, replacement of the Mass, disavowal of celibacy, eating meat on fast days, replacement of the lectionary with a seven-year New Testament cycle, a ban on church music, and other significant reforms make this church one of the most important sites in the history of the reformation and the birthplace of the Swiss-German reformation.”

Front door:

We went down to the crypt where they still have an original statue of Charlemagne from the 15th century. I thought the statue looked like it belonged in the 1986 movie ‘The Labyrinth”:

I went up the tower to see the view, and what a view it was!!!:

The following is a video from the top of the tower in Zürich. The view was absolutely gorgeous the Alps in the background, the water, and the ferris wheel! I have to apologize for my insane camera skills though, I don’t know what my problem was:

The church in the background of the picture I’m in is (I think) the one they meant when they told us this story: During (a war) that the men of the town were fighting the women were all inside the church for safety. The men were losing badly and would have been defeated and killed had it not been for some quick thinking on the ladies’ part. They dressed up in the full armor/uniform of the day and marched onto the battlefield. The opposing army, thinking that these were backups for the men of Zürich hightailed it out of there. The women save the day! 🙂


We broke up into a couple of groups again. Some to go back to Busingen and sleep, others to stay in Zürich and shop (very tempting), and the rest to go to St. Gallen’s, another hour or so away by train. My dad and I joined the pro-adventure team and we grabbed a quick lunch and headed out again:


St. Gallen!

Literally street art- this is the Bleicheli Stadtlounge financial red district. They held a contest to make the boring gray district more exciting and Pipilotti Rist and the Carlos Martinez architecture firm won and created a red carpet effect that attracts tourists in the urban area:

St. Gallen is a town that hails from the Middle Ages circa 612. Today it is a large urban city that represents the center of Eastern Switzerland. It’s known as the gate to the Alps and is a center of trade. 

The Abbey of St. Gall has existed since 719. A wall was built around the monastery and the buildings around it to protect the abbey in about 954.  It was an amazing structure, and is now on a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The residents knew what they were doing when they built that protective wall!

The cathedral is the most important example of Baroque monuments in Switzerland:

The plan of St. Gall is the only surviving major architectural drawing from the High Middle Ages. It was never actually built but remains the ideal plan for a monastery- it was named the plan of St. Gall because they keep the original and have a print of it in the library which was very special for me to see:

Beautiful buildings next to St. Gall as we walked around the back to get to the library:

We visited the Abbey library of Saint Gall, our main goal of the trip. It made it on as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Abbey. The renowned library contains books which date back to the 9th century. The library is done in the Rococo style and was designed by Peter Thumb (1681–1767).

Click here for access to the virtual library for the manuscripts — Codices Electronici Sangallenses

Dad got a shot of me entering the building with the library. It is also a boy’s school and as we were standing waiting for some of our group to put items in the provided lockers a basketball flew through the open window in the hallway. Larry, one of the members of our group caught it and threw it back to the boys!:

The Abbey Library of St. Gall is an unbelievalble room, and I loved every minute. The floors were properly creaky, the open windows provided a pleasant breeze, the smell of the books was gorgeous, the illuminations on the pages were preposterously good, and they even had a resident Egyptian mummy and her sarcophagus! There was also a reproduction large scale (taller than me) globe that was painstakingly hand-painted. One of my favorite parts of the trip:

They made us give up all of our belongings and store them in lockers. That means bags, camera, sunglasses, everything- and put on booties over our shoes! I felt like I was in a infection control area of a hospital putting them on. But it was so worth it- Doesn’t it look just like the library in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast?!? (*Shhhh* Maybe even better??!!) I had my own Belle moment walking into this library- standing and staring in one spot for entirely too long to be socially acceptable. I could swear I hear music too…


We were able to visit the white washed walls of the crypt where they had examples of the architecture and more books, and then it was time to go. As we walked back we passed a street vendor with some of the most beautiful flowers:

More awesome architecture:

Our train ride to Zürich was long and a good time for a nap after our day’s early start. Our train ride from Zürich back to Schaffhausen should have only taken about 45 minutes, but somehow we ended up with a train that went through town and up there a different way:

This resulted in us getting back to Busingen around 7:30/8pm and the rest of our group had been kind enough to save us leftovers. That was some of the best lasagna and fruit salsa ever. I didn’t even get a picture I was too busy chowing down- and getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Tell me why no windows in Europe have screens again?

Another full fun day, and ready for the next! 🙂

Thanks to the following sites for making me sound smarter:


2 responses to “Europe 2012- Day 11, Paris to Zurich to St. Gallen to Busingen

  1. what a long wonderful day you did have. wonderful memories.

  2. Pingback: 2012 Manifesto End of Year Wrap up! | thegreentreeischirping

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