An elegant sufficiency

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Basel Münster

High above the river, in a site well suited for overseeing all the comings and goings, is the Minster, or Münster. Walking towards it through the small streets and alleys, we found it hard to imagine that we were in the city. The blue skies and sunshine made it a pleasure to linger in the tree covered courtyard and do a bit of people watching!

Unbelievably, we had driven this route on Sunday afternoon, when we were being challenged by the one-way system of the old town - and yes, we drove through streets which we really shouldn't have done!

Inside the minster, the solid architecture is plain and simple. Here and there is a tomb or memorial - one of the tombs is that of Erasmus, and though there are three lovely stained glass windows, my eyes fell on the wonderful chairs which had such a great assortment of patterns carved into the backs.

Yes, we spotted some pairs but not many, and what a distraction peering at them would prove during a boring sermon!

Outside, into the cloister, where we enjoyed walking around looking through the openings for different views and glimpses through other windows. The many memorials on the walls were fascinating too.

In the corner of the smaller cloister, we came across this great bronze market stall.

There were some pretty realistic fruit, veg and flowers there and the cool, dark, shiny surfaces were so pleasing to the eye and to the touch.

Only on wandering over to the other side, to see another, similar stall, did we note the more sinister side of the artist's concept, for here the stall was empty and a human skull was there on top of a silent drum. The surface of the table was imprinted with a lengthy poem, the language too dense and difficult for me to understand, sadly.

So, out onto the Pfalz, where instead of the usual figures there are elephants carved into the stone. Well, we think they are elephants as imagined by someone who has never actually seen an elephant!

Then, as we headed back into town in search of tea, we spotted this on the church notice board.

It seemed to sum up everything we love about Switzerland, this somewhat conventional country of tradition and good sense, which nevertheless embraces the modern technology with style and functionality. "Mit Pfiff", as they say!



  • Those chairs are wonderful aren't they Gill? I would have been going around like mad taking photos of each one. But it's really seeing them all together like that makes them so striking!

    By Blogger Digitalgran, at 9:26 pm  

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