A day full of culture

Art, literature, music – what more could we ask for?




The weather wasn’t so clear when we set out this morning, with real Alpine skies overhead.  We were in for a changeable day’s weather it seemed.




From time to time, patches of sunshine broke through, though the clouds were never far away.  We were driving south east, towards Vaduz, and over the border into Liechtenstein, where our friends had recommended a visit to the Kunsthaus: the art gallery.




Travelling fast on the motorway, the traffic wasn’t so bad and we hoped we were right in thinking it was brightening up rather.




Though much of the journey was within tunnels and each time we entered one, we could never guess what the weather was going to be like when we came out the other end, several kilometres beyond.




We left that motorway behind, turned left and travelled towards the border.




Not that there was much to see.  Liechtenstein is more of an extension to Switzerland than a different country, from a visitor’s point of view, at least.




We parked the car for free and headed along the modern, pedestrianised main street, finding the Kunsthaus right there in front of us.  As we bought our entrance tickets, the desk clerk felt the need to warn us not to expect paintings in here, for this was a gallery of modern, conceptual art.  Did we really look that conservative (with a small c!) ?  We reassured him that it was fine, we’d be ok…




There was a small permanent exhibition, including a couple of Warhol prints, a small Liechtenstein work (of course!) and one or two works in neon by an artist I didn’t recognise.  But the main exhibition currently was Gary Kuehn’s “Between Sex and Geometry”.  To begin with, it took some understanding.  Reading the background to such abstract concepts auf Deutsch was a challenge, but gradually, we got to grips with what the artist was exploring and really enjoyed the chance to challenge our own preconceptions by chatting further with a couple of the museum staff.  We left inspired to find out more about the artist and his work, though we were ready for a stiff drink!




First, though, we thought we’d walk the length of the main street, as far as the parliament buildings here.  The sun was shining now and it was really warm: such a pleasure to be out and enjoying the fine morning.




The new entrance to the parliament wasn’t exactly a fine example of exciting architecture, I thought, though it sat alongside the older building and perhaps needed to conform.  The royal Family live in the castle/palace up there on the hill, looking down on their realm from above.




I seem to have taken the photograph of the old parliament building at a most peculiar angle.  My apologies!




We returned to the car to find several busloads of Korean visitors still there in the car park, all taking the same photograph – sometimes, it’s interesting seeing places through the eyes of others, isn’t it?




So that was it for Liechtenstein – the border on the road southwards into Switzerland was even less of an event than the other one: a couple of flagpoles and a small stone marker.




Our destination for lunchtime was Maienfeld, a pretty old town with unmissable connections with Johanna Spyri’s character, Heidi.  Though we had no intention of making a pilgrimage, when we’d identified the town as a possible destination this morning, I’d downloaded a copy of the book to my Kindle and was curious to see what was what.




But first, some lunch: a platter of Bunderfleisch and Alpkäse, washed down with a beer, of course.




We made our way through the town following the signs to “Heididorf”, admiring the sunflower heads floating in the water trough as we went.  Maienfeld is a wine growing town, too, and we passed several vineyards on the way – I think those are a relatively recent development, since I couldn’t remember Heidi and Peter snacking on the odd bunch of grapes in the story!




It looks as though it could be a good harvest this year.




Soon, we were in open fields and leaving our car in a well filled car park, we didn’t have far to walk to a wooden bench in the pasture, overlooking the mountains.




Here we were in Heidi’s flower meadow and though there were, of course, other people here, it was quiet and sunny.  What better thing to do than to get out the Kindle and read?




It’s an easy read and in an hour or so, I was already almost half way through.  We could have stayed longer but we were invited to a performance in Glarus, a few miles down the road and we didn’t want to be late!




So leaving Heidi’s meadow over there under the wooded mountain, we joined the motorway again and headed for Glarus.  We left the blue skies behind on one side of the mountain, though, for coming out of the tunnel, the first spots of rain appeared.  By the time we reached Glarus itself, it was torrential and set in for the rest of the day.  Just as well we managed to park right outside the concert venue, then!




So, a day of art, music and literature, though whether Heidi counts in the last group is open for discussion, I think.  Maybe that box was ticked by the readings of Dumas and Tolstoy which were interspersed with the Raff piano duets, then?  No matter, we’d enjoyed every bit of our day again, and saying a last goodbye to our friends for this time round, we returned to Rapperswil tired but happy.

Maybe I’ll manage to stay awake long enough to finish Heidi?!


The cows have come home