Here lies James Joyce, Irish author who spent time in Zürich and is laid to rest here with his wife Nora and son George. People who know me well know that I like to stroll through cemeteries, and when I found out that this author was buried here, and it was in walking distance of our apartment, well, we had to go. By walk, I mean hike up up up the hill about 2 km. Google maps says it takes 28 minutes to walk there and 18 to walk home. That’s probably about right.
It seemed to me that the Friedhof Fluntern (remember that we live in the Fluntern neighborhood?) was almost a cross between a sculpture park and botanical garden with some graves thrown in for good measure. There were at least three gardeners working hard to keep it beautiful. I spoke to one gardener and asked in my very best German if she could point me the way to Johanna Spyri’s grave. She looked a little confused at me, and I said that she was the author of Heidi. I told her that I had read somewhere that she was buried here. The gardener continued to look bewildered, and I told her that I had looked on the map at the entrance, but didn’t see her name there. She replied in what I think might have been dialect, but I understood the message. “If the name is not on the list, that person is not here.” I thanked her and moved along.
Taking one last look at the map, we did not see her name, but we did notice one Nobel Prize winner in chemistry – Leopold Ruzicka – a former professor at the ETH. Back into the cemetery we went and found him.
Since this was our main adventure for the day, and we weren’t ready to go home, we headed into the woods. The cemetery is next to the zoo, which looked to be doing a good business today, but we kept walking past it. The zoo is at the top of the hill and we walked down through the trees and found a farm. A few bikers and some other hikers were also enjoying the lovely day (mid 60s and partly cloudy). No one was working on the parcourse, though.
Three hours and one ice cream bar ($4.00 from the little kiosk) later, we climbed our 73 stairs to our cozy flat.