Landschlacht, Switzerland, 24 April 2018
For quite some time in this, what has become my travel blog, I have written about my adventures and discoveries retracing the paths and the life story of Swiss reformer Huldrych Zwengli (between accounts of travels in London, Italy and Serbia).
Above: Huldrych Zwingli (1484 – 1531)
Using Marcel and Yvonne Steiner´s Zwingli Wege: Zu Fuss von Wildhuas nach Kappel am Albis – Ein Wander- und Lesebuch as a guide to what routes I should follow to retrace Zwengli´s steps, I have, of this date of writing already completed the itinerary they suggest.
I have already written about my walks from Wildhaus (where Zwingli was born) to Strichboden, Arvenbüel, Weesen (where he went to school), Glarus (his first posting as a priest), Einsiedeln (his second post) to Wadenswil on the Lake of Zürich.
(See Canada Slim and…. the Privileged Place, the Monks of the Dark Forest, the Battle for Switzerland´s Soul, the Thundering Hollows, the Road to Reformation of this blog.)
I also included descriptions of former visits to Basel and Vienna (where Zwingli did his University studies).
(See Canada Slim and….the Vienna Waltz and the Basel Butterfly Effect of this blog.)
What remains to be told, and I hope you will enjoy the telling of the walks that follow as much as I enjoyed the walks, are the accounts of my walk along the shores of the Zürichsee from Wädenswil to Zürich (where Zwingli did his third and final posting as a priest and church reformer) and from Zürich to Kappel am Albis (where Zwingli was killed in battle).
I will also include, in a future post, a visit to Geneva, home to the International Red Cross Museum and the International Museum of the Reformation, both crucial to an understanding of the life and times of Zwingli and the effects he, and those who followed his example, had on both Switzerland and the world.
To those gentle readers new to my blog seeking to understand both why I did these walks and why I feel it important to write about these walks and the life of Zwingli….
I walk because I believe that walking remains the superior way to discover a place.
I write about where I travel, including not just what is but also what was, to extend (I hope) the horizons of my readers and cause them to appreciate what a rich, diverse and wonderful world we share and the hard lessons learnt and still being learnt that have led and continue to lead us towards a better tomorrow.
Lofty goals for a humble blogger, eh?
Wädenswil to Kilchberg, 27 November 2017
The basin in which Lake Zürich is found was formed 12,000 years ago by the Linth glacier.
(It was a Tuesday.)
The rugged Romans, the adventurous Alemanni and the hearty Hapsburgs all valued this picturesque, fruitful legacy of ice equally and fought to keep the independently minded Swiss from rightfully claiming it as their own.
Today it is one of the world´s most privileged, coveted and envied residential areas.
There is a walking path system that encircles the Lake.
The 124-kilometre Lake Zürich Trail (Zürichsee Rundweg / Swiss Trail 84) is divided into 10 sections, but only on Section 3 (Horgen – Richterswil) does the Trail leave glimpsing the Lake from above and afar and actually skirt the lakeshore itself.
It is certainly possible that Zwingli may have followed the shoreline himself as he made his way from Einsiedeln to Zürich, but there is little to remind the wanderer of the Reformation until the City of Zürich itself.
That being said, there is much of interest to see and do for the informed visitor, for though the Steiners´ 20-kilometre itinerary from Wädenswil to Zürich is not intensely Zwingli/Reformation-connected, the region offers plenty of enjoyment and surprising contrasts.
After three train rides from Landschlacht (via Romanshorn and Zürich), I began to walk from Wädenswil harbour beside the SBB Station heading north to Zürich.
Wädenswil is the kind of place that doesn´t immediately spring to mind when one thinks “excitement“.
Rather the harbour inspired within the jukebox of my mind the song “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay“.
But a little research picked up some interesting tidbits about the town´s tumultuous past.
The new Wädenswil chateau, once the seat of the powerful Wädenswil Council, was razed by the French on 24 March 1804 as part of the Bockenkrieg (Bocken War), a farmer/peasant revolt against the French occupation of the Swiss Confederation (1803 – 1815).
The ruins of the old Wädenswil Castle give scant reminder of the powerful Knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem who once resided here.
The house Abendstern (evening star) is the main setting of Der Gehülfe (The Assistant) of Swiss writer Robert Walser.
(For more on Robert Walser, please see Canada Slim and the Last Walk of Robert Walser of this blog.)
(An excellent book though I have yet to find it in a English translation.)
Hoffnungsweg 7 (Hope Way) was the birthplace of Swiss poet Karl Stamm (1890 – 1919).
Above: Karl Stamm (2nd from left), on his right, the future painter Eduard Gubler
The 7th of nine children, Karl lost both his favourite brother and his mother during his childhood.
These deaths marked his psychology and his later creative work.
After attending a teachers´ seminary in Küsnacht, Karl taught primary school in the village of Lipperschwandi (1910 – 1914) and Zürich (1914, 1919).
During the First World War, Karl served on active duty on the Swiss border against possible German or Austrian invasion.
He, like millions worldwide, died of influenza (the Spanish flu), in Zürich in 1919.
(For more on the 1919 influenza pandemic, please see Downtime: Pandemic of my other blog Building Everest.)
The poetry he produced in his short lifetime was powerful and patriotic.
Sadly he is mostly forgotten by the Swiss he so passionately defended in lyrics and is an unknown to the world beyond the Swiss borders he so fervently guarded with his life.
I continue to hug the shoreline of Lake Zürich.
It is a very pleasant springlike day as I embrace the beauty of the Lake close and personable.
Being midweek I meet few people along the pathways and the ducks bobbing about seem relaxed and undisturbed by the lone hiker strolling by.
I skirt old factories and new developments that seem relentlessly determined to connect themselves to the urban sprawl that is Zürich, the New York City of Switzerland.
Happily the Zürich building craze has yet to reach the Au Peninsula, five kilometres “up” the Lake from Wädenswil.
On the west side of the Peninsula is a chateau with a romantic park along the Lake.
Further back there are vineyards, beech woods and a pond of undisturbed reeds.
Au was one of numerous sites of prehistoric pile dwellings found around the Zürichsee.
The half-square kilometre large Peninsula is first mentioned in 1316 and was once owned by the Knights Hospitalier.
It was sold by the Knights in 1550 and was later acquired by the Swiss military officer Hans Rudolf Wertmüller (1614 – 1677) who a century later built the villa-style Au Chateau as a country home.
Above: Hans Rudolf Wertmüller (1614 – 1677)
The German poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (1724 – 1803) spent eight months in this region in 1750 and would nine years later immortalize Au in his “Ode to the Lake of Zürich“.
Above: Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (1724 – 1803)
Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825 – 1898), Swiss poet and historical novelist, would revive the memory of both Au and Wertmüller in his novel Der Schuß von der Kanzel (The Shot from the Pulpit) in 1878.
Above: Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825 – 1898)
(More about Meyer later….)
Au would again receive frequent praise from another famous resident, the German social worker/Communist/writer Luise “Mentona” Moser (1874 – 1971).
Above: Mentona Moser (1874 – 1971)
Mentona was born in Badenwiler to the Baroness Fanny Louise von Sulzer-Wart of Winterthur and Swiss watchmaker/industrialist Heinrich Moser of Schaffhausen.
When Fanny and Heinrich married in 1870, the union created scandal as she was 23 and he was 65, despite both of them being from the upper echelons of society.
Heinrich had five children by his first wife who died 20 years before he married Fanny.
The children of Heinrich´s first wife did not accept Fanny, and when Heinrich died four days after Mentona was born, Fanny was accused of killing him, as his death made her one of the wealthiest women in Europe.
Though two autopsies showed no foul play in Heinrich´s death, suspicion continued.
Fanny had a mental breakdown and was one of the five women included in Sigmund Freud´s Studies on Hysteria, which launched his career.
Above: Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939)
In 1887, Fanny bought Au Chateau and entertained lavishly, putting the care of her children in the hands of a nursemaid.
The relationship between Fanny and Mentona was strained as Mentona felt that her mother preferred her older sister also named Fanny.
Mentona lived in an imaginary world in which her father became the object of near hero worship.
As was typical for people in her class, Mentona was taught both English and French by governesses.
During 1888 and 1889, Mentona, with her family, travelled to various spa towns across Europe and wintered on the Adriatic coast, while the Chateau was being renovated and her mother was being treated by Freud.
Mentona found the frivolous lifestyle tedious and became convinced that her mother´s problems were caused by her lack of social service.
She studied zoology in Zürich and Wimbledon.
While in England she was struck by the conditions of the poor of Southwark and became involved with social work.
She spent time in workhouses and later worked in a cottage hospital as a nurse, but found the work overtaxing.
In 1903, Mentona decided to return to Switzerland.
That same year, Mentona´s sister Fanny married Jaroslav Hoppe.
Feeling her presence at Au was barely tolerated, Mentona moved into a student apartment in Zürich and began giving lectures on public welfare.
She began publishing such works as Contributions to the Charity and Social Assistance in their Practical Application.
She founded an association for the blind and the first social welface office to assist patients with tuberculosis.
By 1904, Mentona had moved into an apartment with Dr. Clara Willdenow and her friend Pauline Bindschedler at Kreuzstrasse 44.
Mentona and Clara became lovers.
Mentona submitted plans to the city council for labour settlements in Zürich.
In 1907, she developed plans for a School for Social Work.
She also developed playgrounds, working with Zürich´s construction manager, Dr. Hermann Balsiger.
Mentona joined the Socialist Party and travelled to party meetings in other countries to study worker cooperatives.
At a party meeting in Davos, Mentona began developing a relationship with Hermann, which eventually led to her breakup with Clara.
In January 1909, Mentona and Hermann married and had their first child, a daughter named Amrey, on Christmas Eve that year.
Two years later, she gave birth to their son Edouard.
Though initially enamored of her grandchildren, Mentona´s mother quickly lost interest.
As part of Fanny´s estate was lost in a relationship with a much younger man and convinced she was now a pauper, Fanny cut off all financial support to her daughter.
The austerity of World War I and the need to take Edouard for spinal treatments in various spas began to distance Mentona and Hermann from one another.
Hermann became a judge while Mentona moved farther left towards Communism.
They divorced in 1917.
To earn income, Mentona took a job at Pro Juventute, managing maternal and infant care for the next five years.
In 1921 she co-founded the Communist Party of Switzerland and began speaking and writing about Communist activities.
She became an advocate for women´s suffrage and opened a clinic for contraception in Zürich.
Concerned by increasing conflict with fellow Swiss Communists and her political radicalism putting her Pro Juventute position at risk, Mentona left Zürich for Berlin in 1924.
She is buried in Berlin and is recognized today as one of the founders of social work in Switzerland.
Her homeland and her years in Au were fondly recalled in her autobiography, Ich habe gelebt (I have lived).
At the foot of the Peninsula, in a converted barn on the perimeter of a vineyard cultivated by the Zürich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), is the Weinbaumuseum am Zürichsee.
This winemaking museum contains a valuable collection of all the varied items needed for wine production.
A showpiece of the collection is a 13-meter long / 120-year old wine press.
I wander about the Peninsula wondering if I will meet Adolf Hitler.
For somewhere on the half-island, German actor Bruno Ganz (b. 1941) has his summer home here (as well as residences in Venice and Berlin).
Bruno, who has acted in both English and German languages, has achieved fame through his roles in Wings of Desire, The Boys from Brazil, Ripley´s Game, Faust, The Reader and Downfall (as the Führer).
Bruno´s Hitlerian rants have swept the Internet as memes.
Bruno remained invisible and distant to me during my Au visit and I lacked the courage to ask the locals where his retreat could be found.
Besides, the point of a retreat is to be away from others.
I stroll away from Au and later have lunch at the Restaurant Imperial just south of the town of Horgen.
Horgen (population: 20,000) is one of the largest towns on the shores of Lake Zürich and is memorable for a number of reasons for both the tourist and the amateur historian.
The Bergbaumuseum (coal mining museum), in the former coal storage depot, informs visitors about the centuries old history of coal mining in Horgen-Käpfnach.
Films, panels and numerous exhibits give the visitor an understanding of the formation and mining of coal.
A ride on the old railway into the depths of the mine is an adventure for adults and children alike.
Following Horgen´s 1000-year jubilee in 1952, great efforts were made to create a town museum.
In 1957 a museum was set up in the Sust (harbour warehouse).
The Wohn- und Porzellanmuseum (home and porcelain museum) has on display more than 120 sculptured statuettes and more than 300 examples of Zürich porcelain from the 18th century.
There are also paintings and miniatures from the 15th to the 19th centuries as well as graphics, drawings and landscapes from the 16th to the 18th centuries.
The remaining rooms in the house display furniture from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
The Protestant Reformed Church, built from 1780 to 1782 by Johann Jakob Haltiner, has an unusual oval nave (main axis) and is the major landmark of the town as the church´s elegant tower is 70.5 meters high and can be seen far and wide.
Horgen has a history of celebrities.
Adele Duttweiler (1892 – 1990), the wife of, the Swiss supermarket chain Migros and the Alliance of Independents (LdU) political party founder, Gottlieb Duttweiler, was born in Horgen.
Above: Adele Duttweiler (1892 – 1990)
As was Ernst Sieber (b. 1927), pastor and founder of Sozialwerke Pfauer Sieber, an organization for disadvantaged people to help alleviate the hardships around addiction, disease, violence and homelessness.
Above: Ernst Sieber
Luigi Taveri (1929 – 2018), three-time Grand Prix motorcycle racing world Champion, was also born in Horgen.
Above: Luigi Taveri (1929 – 2018)
Steve Lee, lead singer of the Swiss hard rock band Gotthard, was also born here in 1963.
He died in 2010 on Interstate 15 ten miles south of Mesquite, Nevada, when a semi struck a parked motorcycle that slammed into Lee.
Above: Steve Lee (1963 – 2010)
Swiss by birth in Horgen, the son of Dutch parents and longtime Swedish resident, Hoyte van Hoytema (b. 1971) is famous for directing the films Her, Interstellar, Dunkirk, the James Bond film Spectre and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Above: Hoyte van Hoytema (far right)
It surprised me that both the Steiners´ itinerary and the Lake Zürich Trail abandon the shoreline and head upwards towards the hills that range the Sihl River.
But the shoreside walk from Horgen to Zürich quickly proved the wisdom of this breakaway decision, for much of the Lake beyond Horgen is obscured by residential and industrial real estate, and the hiker becomes a pedestrian tramping beside busy streets and racous railways.
Despite the headache-inducing traffic noises and concrete under my feet, I persevere.
I walk through unremarkable Oberrieden….
And come to the birthplace of a man I am not sure I like:
Urs Ernest Schwarzenbach, a UK-based Swiss financier whose estimated net worth at 1.0 million pounds.
The son of a print shop owner, Urs was born in Thalwil in 1948 and raised in Küsnacht.
Schwarzenbach set up Interexchange, the largest foreign exchange dealership in Switzerland.
Through its success, he has bought:
- Well over 300 million pounds of property in the UK: Culham Court and Fawley Court near Henley-on-Thames, a 10,000-acre sporting estate in Scotland and the largest country estate on the Isle of Wight
- 123,000 acres (500 square km) of farmland in New South Wales, Australia
- Part of the Layadi Palace in Marrakech, Morocco
- 17 million pounds of assets in the aviation field
- The five-star Grand Hotel Dolder in Zürich, which cost him CHF 440 million
Above: The Grand Hotel Dolder
But can he be trusted?
In 2013/14 Schwarzenbach was investigated by the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) for alleged VAT (value-added tax) fraud totalling CHF 10 million and art trafficking.
Under Swiss law, owners of artworks do not have to pay import charges until works of art are formally brought into the country, i.e. they come out of storage and are officially transferred.
On Tuesday 16 April 2013, Schwarzenbach´s Hotel Dolder and nearby Galerie Gmurzynska were raided by Swiss customs officials, on the suspicion that artworks (valuing CHF 75 million) were imported without paying duty.
The Swiss authorities seized a large number of documents during their raid.
In October 2016 the Swiss Customs Directorate finalised the case that Schwarzenbach had exported artefacts (value: CHF 130 million) and smuggled them back into Switzerland.
Schwarzenbach eventually admitted the charge but still objects to paying a fine of CHF 4 million.
Urs now lives at Culham Court and sponsored the rowing gallery of the River and Rowing Museum in Henley, which is named after him.
His wife, Francesca Schwarzenbach-Mulhall is a former Miss Australia from Sydney.
They have two children and four grandchildren.
Their daughter is married and lives in St. Moritz and London.
There is something unsettling about that kind of wealth.
Zwingli´s God has been replaced by Money….
If Thalwil is the Temple of Money then, up the Lake towards Zürich, Rüschlikon is the Temple of Science.
For it is in Rüschlikon that IBM has had its European research laboratory since 1956.
IBM Research Zürich lab is staffed by a multicultural and interdisciplinary team of a few hundred permanent research staff members, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, representing about 45 nationalities.
The Zürich lab is world-renowned for its scientific achievements:
- Nobel Prizes in Physics (1986, 1987)
- The invention of the scanning tunneling microscope
- The discovery of high-temperature superconductivity
- Trellis Modulation, which revolutionized data transmission over telephone lines
- Token Ring, a standard for local area networks (LANs)
- The Secure Electronic Transaction (SET), used for highly secure payments
- The Java Card Open Platform (JCOP), a smart card operating system
- SuperMUC, a super computer that is cooled using hot water
- DOME, a super computer that is developing an IT Roadmap for the Square Kilometer Array
The lab focuses on future chip technologies: nanotechnology, fibre optics,supercomputing, data storage, security and privacy, risk and compliance, business optimization and transformation, server systems…
The lab is involved in many joint projects with universities throughout Europe, in research programs established by the European Union and the Swiss government and in cooperation agreements with research institutes of industrial partners.
Research projects are organized into three scientific and technical departments:
- Science & Technology
- Cloud and Computing Infrastructure
- Cognitive Computing and Industry Solutions
The God of Zwingli has been replaced by Science….
And what lies onwards up the Lake?
The traveller, ever Zürich-bound, comes across Kilchberg….
(To be continued….)
Sources: Wikipedia / Marcel and Yvonne Steiner, Zwingli-Wege