Helen in Europe travel blog

between Zurich and Chur on the train

Chur museum painting

Chur streets with mountains in the distance

niki de saint phalle sculpture outside at Forum Würth Chur

‘I am a very well-known artist’ was the confident self-introduction to the host of the accommodation of my last port of call in Switzerland, Chur (pronounced ‘kierd’ with a guttural c/k sound at the start and a soft ‘d’ sound a the end. No wonder the Swiss don’t have a clue what non-German speakers are saying when we ask for directions to ‘Cherr’. In terms of accommodation, Switzerland for me has been a mix of 5W hosts, offers from multiple 5W hosts from the one city, cancellations from 5W hosts, some hasty last minute bookings due to a cancellation with two hosts, a small hotel room and two very different Airbnbs. Piroska, was indeed a very self-confident and determined artist, as evidenced by all the projects she explained she was involved in, over the next hour. One of them included a Heidi project, involving hand embellished books about the concept of Heidi as an adult, travelling overseas rather than remaining in the hills of Switzerland, as per the cliché of the Swiss. And after she let me loose for the rest of the day, she spent the time inserting pieces of Swiss magazines and other Swiss ephemera into her books which then are put into little suitcases. The Airbnb itself was very stylish and although advertised as a ‘private room’ all I had to share was the kitchen, which was a pleasure in itself. During my afternoon I went in search of lunch and galleries. There wasn't much of either as it seemed that Sunday was the day things closed in Chur and most of the streets were eerily quiet. Fortunately the Bündner Kunstmuseum was open and provided a pretty amazing viewing of early 20th century art including quite a few Edvard Munch works, which is pretty rare to see. There were landscapes of the Swiss region by big name Expressionist artists (Kirchner etc) and my time in Switzerland made me appreciate them all the more. And yes, there more from that Giocametti family. My second art museum visit required a bit of a walk, to Forum Würth. This single space was showing an exhibition of plans and maquettes by Christo and Jean-Claude and there was a sculpture park outside with significant works by Niki de Saint Phalle, Tinguely and other Swiss big names. It was great to see a company investing in art as Würth, who manufacture assembly items do. With no supermarkets open it was back to the station to their convenience store to prepare for my big day of sitting down on trains tomorrow.

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