Confederatio Helvetica
 

Confederatio Helvetica

Some coincidences are just plain odd. The same day I arrived in Vienna, my old buddy Gustav Ålund phoned up. Turns out he is living is Switzerland now and just wanted to know what was up in Stockholm. We immediately planned that I would come over to Zug[a] [wikipedia][b], where he lives, and visit.

So I booked a train ticket to Zürich and went there. The trip there took nine hours, of which I slept five. On the way back I took the night train - which was slightly rougher. Believing that the chairs were similar to the chairs in airplanes I chose 2nd class, seat. Turns out they are a bit smaller and a bit less comfortable. Not enough to keep me awake, but next time I'll either fly or get a bed.

  Arrival in Zug

On the evening of the 17th I arrived in Zug at the Zug central station.

2005-12-18 13:20

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

Probably the biggest cigar I've ever seen, held up by Gustav.

Swiss people, too, can visit exotic places - even virtually. This poster is an ad for a panoramic, digital-projected movie about the northern part of Sweden, Norway and Finland where the Sami people live.

2005-12-18 13:48

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-18 23:38

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

Swiss soda. Despite the cannabis leaves on the front, this drink (CICE[c]) has such low concentration of THC that getting high on it is a complete impossibility and you run a higher risk of drowning than bad trips due to the immense amounts of liquid you must drink. It wouldn't surprise me if people have tried, though.

  Zugerberg

The first day we went up to a restaurant near the top of the Zugerberg, a mountain (or, by Swiss measurements, a slight irregularity in the ground), that is right next to the town Zug.

2005-12-18 15:57

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

Gustav and Annette, my hosts while there.

The sunset as seen from the restaurant looking at Mount Pilatus (more about this mountain below) is just amazing.

2005-12-18 16:19

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-18 16:20

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

  Luzern

South of Zug is the town of Luzern[d], or Lucerne, depending on the language used. It is also the site of Trafigura[e]'s Swiss office where Swiss buddy Ålund works.

The Luzern Chapel bridge[f], destroyed in fire 1993 (after standing for 660 years) and rebuilt shortly thereafter. A popular spot for tourists to take pictures of themselves is at the north end of the bridge, where one can fit oneself, the bridge, the tower at the middle of the bridge, and Mount Pilatus on one picture.

2005-12-19 08:45

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-19 14:43

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

More pictures from Luzern.

Children's choir

2005-12-19 14:06

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

Decorated building

2005-12-19 14:37

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

Pearls

2005-12-19 14:39

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

More pearls

2005-12-19 14:39

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

Luzern Hauptbahnhof

2005-12-19 16:46

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

  Mount Pilatus

Near Lucerne is Mount Pilatus[g], named after the Roman governor on whose watch Christ was executed, and whose restless ghost is said to have wandered until it finally found peace in a small lake on the mountain. The ghost is also said to rise from the lake during storms. The mountain is also the home of friendly dragons with healing powers, from which the dragon-logo of the Pilatusbahnen[h]. So to summarize: If you find yourself in a thunderstorm on Mount Pilatus - don't worry about the dragons flying around, but try to stay out of the way of the ghost of a Roman governor trying to wash his hands clean of the blood of Christ.

At the top of Pilatus you can walk through a tunnel drilled through one of the peaks.

Going up the foothills.

2005-12-19 09:47

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

View from the top (north)

2005-12-19 10:13

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

View down toward Luzern

2005-12-19 10:17

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

View from the tunnel drilled through one of the peaks.

2005-12-19 10:25

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

Steep hillside above the treeline.

2005-12-19 11:56

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

  Zürich

2005-12-20 10:27

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

Bahnhofstrasse is the major street going from the central train station right through Zürich. The shops lining the street is of the kind where you - provided you actually buy something - will end up spending very much money for very little amount of solid matter. Perfume, gold, expensive clothes - it is all here. Like the equivalent street in Los Angeles, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, this is the most expensive land in Zürich.

While the main street is packed with glass storefronts and a trendy appearance, there are small side streets where one can find the traditional old European architecture with tightly packed buildings and cobblestone streets.

2005-12-20 10:31

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-20 11:51

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

The Grossmünster Church sits on a hill above the surrounding buildings. Apparently this is a major tourist attraction - I wasn't the only one with a camera there.

The interior of the church is in a spartan Calvinist style with none of the almost overwhelming amount of decorations one can see in a catholic church. The church had a set of three stained glass windows at the back, though. To the right (but not visible in the picture) is the entrance to the silent meditation room, and a sign informs visitors that they should "listen to the silence" while being in this part of the church.

Across the water from the Grossmünster is the Fraumünster Church. The vertical stained glass windows are made by Marc Chagall.

2005-12-20 12:10

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-20 12:13

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-20 12:16

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-20 12:19

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

  Zug

View of the old town of Zug from the water.

2005-12-20 14:09

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-20 14:09

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

Seen on a house near the water:

2005-12-20 14:18

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

Gott bewahre dieses Haus
vor Wasser Not und
Feuer
vor Ämter-Planung
und der Steuer

God save this house
from water, poverty and
fire
from government planning
and the taxes

Walking up toward the old town from the water one sees a lot of small, gemütliche houses, with small shops and side streets with some Christmas decorations.

2005-12-20 15:01

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-20 15:02

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-20 15:02

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

This gate is at the north-east corner of the old city wall and was a comparatively late addition to the town. On the wall of the gate arch is a condensed history of the last 1000 years of the town, marking important years.

Immediately inside of the gate is the old town house with its mural. The whole old town is approximately two hundred by one hundred meters in size. The middle picture is taken from the west north-south going street and the last one is taken from the east street, facing the gate above. You get to this street by turning left after going through the old town gate.

2005-12-20 15:03

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-20 15:05

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

2005-12-20 15:10

Luzern, Pilatusberg, Zug, Zürich

[a]

http://www.stadtzug.ch/

[b]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zug

[c]

http://www.cice.ch/

[d]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucerne

[e]

http://www.trafigura.com/

[f]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapellbr%C3%BCcke

[g]

http://www.pilatus.ch/

[h]

http://www.pilatus.ch/