Münzplatz fountain

A pretty fountain in Münzplatz.

I found this fountain particularly cheerful, in early spring when many of the city’s trees and gardens were still brown. There is a florist on the corner of this plaza, and it may be that shop which tends to the pretty flowers and bonsai-like bush in the planter at center of this fountain. Three more photos in the gallery, starting here.

A pretty fountain in Müntzplatz, Zürich.


A nationwide rescue service.

Shortly after I arrived in Switzerland, and began to hike in the Alps, some of the colleagues introduced me to Rega, a non-profit organization that runs a nationwide rescue service. I’ve seen their helicopters fly overhead our Zürich flat, heading for the nearby hospital; zipping over the peaks of Alps as I hiked through the high country; and lifting off from the ski slopes of Zermatt with an injured skier.

photo credit: rega.ch

Anywhere, any time, you can call 1414 and they will show up, with skilled personnel and equipment for remote extraction and medical treatment. They do an astonishing 17,000 rescue missions every year, in this tiny country about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire. By donating a small sum to become a patron, I am now eligible for free rescue whenever, wherever I may need it. Hopefully I’ll never need it — instead, my donation goes to help support this service and to help others who may need it. Well worth the contribution! Watch their short video to learn more.


Zürich’s emergency water supply.

I’d seen a few of these contemporary-looking fountains around town, and included this photo in a collection of otherwise nondescript fountains last week. It turns out, however, that these fountains have an interesting story as well as a functional design.

One of Zürich’s ‘Notwasser’ fountains, serving as emergency water supply. This one has a doggy bowl too.

I learned from a post on zurich1200fountains (which also has a prettier picture) that these fountains were built specifically as an emergency water supply for Zürich, with a separate water source – indeed, one that does not depend on electric power. These Notwasserbrunnen originated as the result of a competition in 1973, according to this page. From what I discern through Google Translate, “A special internal construction allows a tap to be connected and thus to enable the population to draw water with buckets in an emergency.”

“Eighty of these special drinking fountains have been installed in the city
area. The city of Zurich’s emergency water supply is based on an independent emergency water network that, with spring water from the Sihl and Lorzetal, and is fed by city sources. In addition to the emergency water wells, there are around 300 more wells with separate spring water network. This works with a natural slope and is therefore also independent of the power supply.” [Google translation of this page, with some editing; I welcome corrections from my German-speaking friends!]

Frozen fountain

A dragon that breathes ice instead of fire.

Today I’m going to cite another blogger’s post – because it is so cool. As I noted early in this series, most of Zürich’s fountains run throughout the winter, their continuous stream of water preventing them from freezing. (That, and it rarely got below freezing this winter.) I recently discovered zurich1200fountains.com, in which a 2012 blogger cataloged 170 fountains before tiring. In one post, the blog shows the Escher fountain in a cold snap; the photo below is from that post.

Boy fountains

Several fountains feature boys.

Several Zürich fountains include a statue of a little boy, or perhaps in some cases, an angelic child. Here are two of my favorites; more photos (and all full-res) in the gallery begin here.

A fountain in the corner of the main all at Hauptbahnhof, Zürich.
A playful fountain in the wall at the intersection of Weinbergstrasse and Soneggstrasse.

PS. I’m not the only one to have blogged about Zürich fountains; here’s a 2012 blogger that cataloged 170 of them before tiring: zurich1200fountains.com

Hedwig fountain

A memorial to the brave women of Zurich.

This fountain stands prominently at the center of the Lindenhof hill park overlooking the Limmat river and the Altstadt (old town) of Zürich.

The Hedwig Fountain “was built in 1912. The helmeted statue of a woman beside the fountain was made by Gustav Siber. It was built to honor the Zürich women who defended the city by duping the army of Duke Albert I of Germany during the siege of Zürich in 1292. They dressed in full battle gear in order to trick the Habsburg army into thinking that the city was well protected while their men were busy campaigning at Winterthur.” [Wikipedia]

Hedwig fountain in the Lindenhof hill park overlooking the Altstadt (old town) of Zürich.

As always, full-res photos are available in the gallery (here).

Hedwig fountain in the Lindenhof hill park overlooking the Altstadt (old town) of Zürich.


A 4-peak tour of Flumserberg.

It has been one month since my last ‘real’ hike – on Pilatus – but it has taken that long for my health to return more or less normal after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms a few days afterward. (Fortunately, I tested negative then, and again 10 days later in an antibody test.) So with today’s beautiful weather enticing me outside, I decided to make a quick trip over to Flumserberg – where Andy and I skied in January – to hike where I could really see some views. Read on, and check out the gallery for photos and video.

David on Gross Güslen peak; Walensee is behind.
Continue reading “Flumserberg”

Wine fountain

A traditional wine-grape picker.

I’ve always enjoyed seeing this fountain, anchoring the square in front of the Hotel zum Storchen and, this time of year, surrounded by the tables of a café operated out of the hotel. Indeed, when I was last passing by, I saw a waiter from the café pause to fill a water jug from the fountain and carry it to one of the guest tables.

The heart of the fountain is the figure of a wine-grape picker, wearing traditional wooden basket.

I was long unclear about the nature of this person – who is he? what is he doing? why is he celebrated on a fountain in a prominent square in Zürich?

Again with a tip from Jean Rosston ’77, I believe this statue depicts a man who picks wine grapes; he is wearing a traditional wooden basket on his back, and the ‘arbor’ around the fountain includes sculpted grape leaves. I’ve since learned the square is called Weinplatz, lending credence to this explanation.

A view of the fountain in early April, before the warm weather brings out the café tables.

The fountain is mentioned in another webpage – without explanation of the fountain, but some historical tidbits about the hotel.

Three martyrs

The patron saints of Zürich.

This fountain, on the side of a government building in downtown Zürich, likely depicts the story of “Felix and Regula, together with their servant Exuperantius, [who] are the patron saints of Zürich” [Wikipedia]. (Kudos again to Jean Rosston ’77 for the tip that led me to this interpretation.)

In this story, told in more detail on Wikipedia, they were members of a Roman legion that escaped when their legion was to be executed, later caught in Zürich, tried and executed in the year 286. “After decapitation, they miraculously stood to their feet, picked up their own heads, walked forty paces uphill, and prayed before lying down in death. They were buried on the spot where they lay down, on the hilltop which would become the site of the Grossmünster.”

Siblings Felix and Regula, with their servant Exuperantius.

This story “largely contributed to the massive conversion of the inhabitants of these regions to Christianity and had such an impact on Zurich that these three saints still appear on the seal of Zurich today.” [Wikipedia]

A fountain with a depiction of the three martyrs of Zürich.