Zug

Zug means train. It is also one of Switzerland’s 26 cantons. It is also the capital city of the canton of Zug.

From Lonely Planet we learned that the canton of Zug is a Swiss Tax Haven with the lowest tax rates in the country as well as many companies including Johnson & Johnson. It is the wealthiest canton in Switzerland, which is saying something.

What piqued our interest was the art museum which is supposed to have the largest collection of Viennese Secession Art outside of Austria. It’s only about 30 minutes from Zürich, so it made for a perfect day trip. It would also add canton #9 to our list. Only 17 to go.

Our plan of action was to hit the art museum first, then see the rest of the cute medieval town on the lake (which could describe so much of this country). A little wandering, and we found it after passing the town castle.

Castle, complete with moat. It houses a town history museum.

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Zug Kunsthaus (Art House)

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In my best German I told the cashier we would like two tickets. (Zwei, bitte.) She smiled and asked me something I couldn’t understand. Upon my confusion, she asked me what language I spoke, and we carried on in English. Apparently the collection of Viennese Secessionist art is so large that they cannot show it all, so they loan it out, show it occasionally, and mostly show special exhibits and sell coffee. She was helpful, though, in giving us a map of the city which showed places with public art.

We were a little disappointed, but undeterred, so we headed out having remembered the other things we had read in the Lonely Planet.

This led us to the clock tower (this town has many towers from its original town wall). If you happen to know that the little gift shop at the base of the tower will give you a key (in exchange for a piece of id or your first-born child) so you can climb the stairs, see the inner workings of the clock, and get a view of the city and lake.

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From inside you see a little exhibit of the firefighters.

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Some views from the very top windows.

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Some extremely small jail cells for petty thieves.

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Some medieval stonework. This would never pass muster now.

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A close-up of the tower shows the clock, astrological timepiece, and 8 cantonal flags. Zürich is on the left. Lucerne is the blue and white one third from the left, and Zug is the blue and white one on the far right.

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Near the lake is an aviary with birds which are way outside their element, including these three shivering kookaburras.

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One of the art exhibits we also wanted to see was the Zug Train Station. James Turrell made one of his first permanent public light installations here. As the sun starts to set, lights inside and out slowly change colors. We know of Turrell’s work from Pomona College where he went to school and installed one of his Sky-spaces. I stood outside and took still photos, but you can see the lights change at this youtube video.

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