What I Will Miss, Part One: Bells!

For the last nine Fridays left of this sabbatical, IMG_0823I will post about nine things that I will miss about living in Switzerland. These are in no particular order.

Some people hate the omnipresent church bells, ringing day and night, every quarter hour, and then more on special occasions. Even though we live close to Kirche Fluntern, my conscious self rarely hears the bells anymore. Except at certain times. The bells peal out longer at 7:00, 11:00 and 19:00 every day (except weekends which are slightly different times), and I am generally attuned to noticing those particular times.


One church in downtown Zürich (perhaps the Grossmunster, I’m not sure) rings at 12:10 on weekdays.

I have looked online for answers as to why the bells perform specially at those times, but have not come up with an answer. I suspect it is tradition from centuries back with waking up, and maybe dinner, but I don’t know about the 11:00 bells. That’s too early for the noon meal. I don’t think it rings then for taking a cigarette break because we see those raucherpausen throughout the day.

My very favorite bell time is on Saturday nights at 19:00. Kirche Fluntern starts up and soon we hear bells pealing from all over, and there is glorious cacophony for about 14 minutes. When the weather is warm, we open the windows to enjoy.

Now that the cows and sheep are back outside, we can hear their bells once again. I don’t really think the large bells on the cows are particularly good for them (being so heavy and loud), but some cows have smaller bells, and the random ringing in the fields warms my heart.


I made this youtube video of some of the bells, and it ends with the Saturday night “concert.”

* * * * * *

What I Will NOT miss: all the smoking.


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