Yesterday was spent with our Swiss friends Bruno and Gertrud at Konstanz. We spent time looking at some of the historic landmarks in Konstanz and hearing the associated stories. Our first stop was at the fountain on Markstatte which had interesting bronze models surrounding it like a rabbit with huge ears, an eight legged horse and a many headed peacock. Bruno did not know the interpretation of the symbols. The main part of the fountain is obviously earlier than these symbolic objects.
Our next visit was to the Munster which is mainly gothic with some very impressive wood carved doors and also wood and stone inside. We were looking for a grave of John Hus who had transgressed by being a threat to the church and been burnt alive for his efforts in 1415. It was supposed to be here in the church but Gertrud thinks that maybe it was another location as we couldn't find it. Here, in the Munster, there was a lot written up about the town's history which Bruno was able to interpret for us. This is where knowing a local is so beneficial as we cannot read the notices.
Konstanz is most well known
for a four year long council to vote for a Pope was held in the 15th century attended by 72,000 people and 3000 prostitutes which accounts for the statue at the harbour where the volumptuous woman is holding two naked men in her hands. One represents secular society and the other catholic. It is ironic that all those prostitutes were available to the clerical attendees. It is also ironic that it took 4 years to vote for a Pope. It would seem that the attendees were in no hurry to return to their home vocations! Near the statue is the Congress Council Hall where the council was heard and the Pope elected. It was in this building (a previous storage building) that we had lunch.
We had a long and relaxed lunch where we caught up with each others news before walking to Kreuzlingen (Swiss) about 2kms away over the border with Germany to get our train to Langwiesen where my neice lives. Our train arrived more quickly than we anticipated and it was a very quick fond farewell before we were on the train. It was great to catch up with old friends again. Each time we visit
we wonder if our paths will cross again as we never plan to come back but do so anyway.
That was yesterday. Today we heard that our son Brendan and his family have arrived in Dubai after the 17 hour journey from Auckland. We will meet up with them tomorrow after a short break between the two flights.
In the meantime we caught up with domestic necessities in the morning. This afternoon we went to the Rhein Falls while Marc visited an aunt in Zurich with Sophia. It was fairly chaotic at the Falls with many busloads of tourists visiting the site. These mainly seemed to be Indian. We did the walking circuit over the falls, down river, over another bridge and back again which takes about an hour. Once we cleared the main sights we had a nice quiet walk on a track alongside the river. The Falls are certainly impressive and like a wide Huka Falls where the water thunders over a relatively short drop and rocky cascades. The site is dominated by a castle, a railway bridge, a walking bridge and many viewing platforms. Of course there are the usual souvenir shops and restaurants. These are the largest falls in Europe and well worth a visit.
Back at the house, our neice and husband made the most of the opportunity to go out for a meal while we babysat for the evening.
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