I had high expectations of Switzerland. It has exceeded my expectations for rejuvenating experiences in every way. Calvin and Zwingli’s churches were inspirational and impressive. The landscapes of buildings and mountains, lakes and rivers, towns and villages, vineyards and rolling hills were all very lush and tranquil. Many thanks to my host family for generously facilitating many memorable events.
The plan for this sabbatical month of July is touring beautiful and historic European cities using a Eurail Global Pass. You may know that from talking with me or from reading my last post on Italy. Well that plan is going well, so far. Observing the beautiful landscapes, visiting church history sites plus strolling through urban centres has been both invigorating and devotional. Here is some detail about my sabbatical experiences in Switzerland from July 8-16.
Swiss Landscape Sites: Geneva, Zurich, Luzern, Stein am Rhine, Saint Gallon, Fraunfeld, etc.
Landscapes I saw included:
- The Alps. I arrived by train from Milan through Chiasso to Zürich during a sunny afternoon. The Swiss rail system is the perfect way to see the stunning landscapes of the Swiss Alps. They have dramatically steep mountains slashing into broad blue lakes. The Alps are very different mountains ranges than our Canadian Rockies, which appear broadly wide, but less sharply vertical.
- Mount Säntis (2500m) ascent by cable car. This was my first mountain ascent and is pictured above from a photos that day. I also pet two cows at the bottom of the hill. They had loud cowbells.
- Rhinefalls: Europe’s biggest waterfall and flows at 600m3/second.
- Scenic driving tours through many Swiss Cantons including Appenzell, Shaffhausen, Thurgau, Zurich, Luzern, Saint Gallen. Each of the 25 Canton’s has distinctive architectural features in their homes and fascinating histories, like the peaceful separation of Catholics and Protestant citizens in Appenzell.
- Day trip to Luzern. We walked the city, took nice photos, had a peaceful lakeside lunch with a view of the mountains, the KKL building’s impressive roof, the covered bridge and the lovely old hotels. Luzern is such a charming town. I also enjoyed seeing the two Catholic churches, the glacier museum and the Lion monument (Löwendenkmal) to the fallen soldier’s of the Swiss Guard.
- One day, we took a day trip into the forest to help build a roof over a brookside cabin’s fireplace and then enjoyed long, relaxing lunch of fine Swiss hospitality in the sunshine. The joy of eating together after this forest building project will remain as a special memory.
Geneva and Zurich have beautiful landscapes too, but my first focus in those cities was to explore the church history sites of Calvin and Zwingli.
Swiss Church History Sites: John Calvin in Geneva.
One day, I made a 4hr train trip to the lovely lakeside city of Geneva to see Church History sites of the Reformation including John Calvin’s church called Geneva Cathedral (St-Pierre), Geneva, the Reformation Monument, The Reformation Museum and Auditoire de Calvin, Geneva. All 4 are within 5 minutes walk. 3 of them are in buildings that are nearly touching each other. The Reformation Museum was very educational and had many engaging displays. As a city, Geneva has nice waterfront walkways and a tall and narrow fountain. French was commonly spoken, which is nice for a Canadian to hear. I travelled, by train, through Lausanne. This is where the World Evangelization Conference was held. Check out more on what Sacred Destinations reports about Geneva and Church history.
Swiss Church History Sites: Ulrich Zwingli in Zürich.
In Zürich, I saw church history sites of the Reformation including Yülrich Zwingli’s church called Grossmünster, plus Fraumünster and St. Peterskirche. The city has many nice walking areas including the University, Neirdorf and the River walk into Bellevue.
What comes after Switzerland?
After Switzerland, I plan to see Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Kracow, Berlin (Wittenburg), Brügges and Amsterdam before returning on August 2nd to Toronto. Many of the Church history sites that I plan to visit in each place are described and photographed in the website www.sacred-destinations.com. They organize entries by destination city and country. For example, I want to see Wittenburg and the Bible Museum.
May God bless you all with faith, hope and love in Christ.
See you in August.
- Zurich and Zwingli: The people’s priest in Zurich and his contribution to the Reformation. (atwistedcrownofthorns.com)
- Why John Calvin refused to model government after the kingdom of God or of Israel (matthewtuininga.wordpress.com)
- The Story of the Heidelberg Catechism for Kids (reformedreader.wordpress.com)
- Zwingli’s Daily Schedule (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Zurich and Zwingli: The people’s priest in Zurich and his contribution to the Reformation. (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- The Reformation Week Conference in Germany and Switzerland. (atwistedcrownofthorns.com)
- Switzerland 101: What You Need to Know About The Country of Switzerland, Along with a Recipe for Mailaenderli for Lagniappe (trifter.com)
- Sabbatical Impressions from Italy: Hearing the Pope in Rome and other fun stuff. (adamrumball.com)