When I had last looked for the grave of Johanna Spyri, in our first week in Zürich way back in August last year, I discovered that I was in the wrong cemetery. Instead, we visited James Joyce’s final resting place in the Friedhof Fluntern.
It helps to be armed with correct information, and several sources mentioned that Frau Spyri was in Friedhof Sihlfeld across the river.
This large cemetery has a map at the entrance with a list of the most recent burials, but no helpful information about its famous inhabitants. I thought I might just wander in the older section and run into Spyri’s grave, and then I could resort to asking someone if needed. I saw beautiful gravestones, flowers, statues and such.
Of course you know I would need help. In more ways than one.
It’s very helpful to know how to pronounce the name of the person you seek. In the cemetery office I asked the woman for the grave of Johanna (Yo-hanna) SPY-REE. She went to her computer to look it up, then asked me how to spell the last name. I said, “Sie war die Autorin von Heidi.” Big smile, “Ah. Johanna SPEE-REE.” Got it.
The office does have a map with a list of famous people (some more locally famous, I suppose), and within minutes I found what I was looking for.
Now let’s see if we make it to eastern Switzerland to see the Alps where Heidi tended goats.