Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Zurich, The Last City!

We've finally arrived to Zurich, the last stop on the Media, Reformation, and Modernity Tour.

For our final Sunday service, we attended the Grossmunster. This is the church that Zwingli taught at during his life, and where his legacy as a major figure of the Reformation was left.

Zurich was a heavy last dose of the Swiss culture. We found a Movenpick store and dove into its delicious Swiss delights. Movenpick is a Swiss high quality ice cream, costing twice as much as the normal gelato, but tasting very different, tasting very good.

Our time in Zurich right now is the last time we will have to venture out to different places in Europe, and we didn't waste it. One group of us went to Zermatt to go skiing and snowboarding down the Alps!

The next day everyone had windburned faces, but it was certainly worth it! Switzerland's Matterhorn provided us with beautiful sky and a marvelous view, and the slopes were perfect for our runs. It was a great day!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Swiss Trains

We've been riding trains nonstop throughout our time in Europe. Almost every country is tied together through the vast web of train tracks, and that means you can travel from any country in Europe to any country in Europe. This connection has been a distinct part of the European culture for decades now.

Some of the best trains we've bee on have been ICE trains, or InterCity Express trains. This means that they are specialized for city to city travels and for trips longer than a simply across town. These trains are designed to look aesthetically pleasing and to be comfortable for hours of traveling.

Trains in Switzerland have to navigate huge heights and drops because of the Alps. The tracks are laid with care and the trains have to travel at varying speeds to account for danger of avalanches or landslides.

Working out train schedules seems daunting at first, but because of the amount of trains running, it is actually simple to find the right trains at the right time. We haven't had a problem working through that system at all.

Trains aren't only for traveling though, they also supply commerce. Cargo trains like this carry goods between cities so that companies can trade with ease.

In addition to looking out windows to take in the sights, it can also be a good idea to take a nap on these trains when traveling long distances. Sam here figured that out quickly, but finding a comfortable position might be harder than he thought!


We've made it from Lucerne to Basel, one of the richest cities in Switzerland and where both the Baslermunster and The Bank Of International Settlements are located.

The Baslermunster is one of the highlights of our trip, and is even featured in our T-shirt. It was originally a Catholic Cathedral, but is now a Protestant church, under the Swiss Reformed Church.

Stephen gave a presentation on Carl Jung to us, a major figurehead of modern psychology who studied under Freud. He attended the Baslermunster as a child, and was influenced greatly by his childhood growing up here.

We also visited The Bank Of International Settlements, which is only a few hundred meters away from the Baslermunster. These two locations are focal points of our entire trip, as the connection between Church, which during the reformation influenced the world through religion, and the Bank, which currently influences the world through economics. This city represents the transition from a Church ruled world to an Economics ruled world.

The next stop in Basel was to the Basel Paper Museum. Paper was essential to the Reformation, which was fueled by the printing press's ability to spread information. The Reformation required printing, and printing requires paper.

We got to actually make paper the way they did 500 years ago and see the whole process. Paper starts out as a watery mush of rags and sheets that is mixed by the pounding of these lengths of wood. The mix is then sifted by a frame like the one Juliana is holding. The wet mush on the frame is then dried into a piece of parchment.

We saw a demonstration of letterface making for the original printing press. He had a pot of liquid metal and poured it into a special mold to make a letter. A printer would then put a full collection of these letters into an organization container.

This water wheel powers the entire paper making process. It moves a series of gears that connects to the pounding woof and the mixing buckets. Printing presses became popular mostly in places with rivers for this very reason.

After our guided tour of the museum, many of us got the chance to use traditional calligraphy pens to write letters and notes. This was the first time many of us had actually used traditional pens in this manner.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


We've ventured into Lucerne now, where there is one of the most impressive museums in Swizerland, the Verkershaus Museum. It is a communications and transportation museum, presenting the historical evolution of both.

There were several interactive exhibits, such as this balancing mechanism. We got to experiment with the affects of weight and movement on parts of vehicles.

Here in Lucerne is a famous sculpture, entitled The Lion Of Lucerne. It was created in the early 1800s as a memorial for the lives lost in an attack from revolutionaries against the Swiss Guard in 1792. This inspiring sculpture portrays a lion impaled by a spear, dying over a shield. The beauty of this lion is regarded highly by many, such as Mark Twain who visited Lucerne and called it "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world."

Friday, June 18, 2010


We are now in Lugano, a lakeside city in the Italian part of Switzerland. The city is filled with many sights to see and places to go. This castle here is right next to the Bellinzona Youth Hostel, where we are sleeping!

Here we are at the Monte Tamaro, the location of the Santa Maria degli Angeli. This church has been designed by the famous Mario Botta, who in addition to designing churches also has designed the Martin Bodmer Foundation Library and the Bank of International Settlements building. All three of these buildings are a part of our trip and correspond to our theme: Media, Reformation, and Modernity.

Coming down from the Monte Tamaro was as exciting as being there thanks to this rail luge!

The group went hiking up through the mountainous trails near Sonogno. We even had a picnic on the other side of this bridge.

Julie and Jordan had a blast hiking up and into a waterfall. Do you see that waterfall behind the girls? We got drenched trying to get to where the water came thundering down.

Gelaterias such as this in Lugano are home to some of the best gelato we've had the whole trip. We made a point of visiting one every single day we were here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Palm Express

From St. Moritz, we took the Palm Express to Lugano. This Express is a bus ride from one end of Switzerland, through Italy, and into the southern, Italian part of Switzerland.

What we saw coming up and down mountainous terrain was as beautiful as the Glacier Express, and we even got to step into Italy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Glacier Express

We rode The Glacier Express to get from Zermatt to St. Moritz, but that wasn't the only reason we took this particular train. We really chose it for the experience riding it comes with.

The Glacier Express is the world's slowest express train, traveling through the Swiss Alps in
trains designed to let you see the mountains and wild life as you go. The ride is 7.5 hours long, and serves a 3 course meal over the trip. This was quite the experience.

Throughout the ride we saw
many many sights and were
amazed by God's creations.