Sights in Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich is another major city in Switzerland and has a wealth of museums, churches, parks, and historic sites to explore.

  • Fraumunster (Church of Our Lady)—a beautiful church known for its delicate spire added in 1732 with a Romanesque choir, 1970 stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall, and painted window by Augusto Giacometti; Stadthausquai
  • Graphische Sammlung (Graphics Collection)—the large collection of the Federal Institute of Technology that has a library of woodcuts, etchings, and engravings by Durer, Rembrandt, Goya, and Picasso; Ramistr. 101
  • Kunsthaus—a renowned fine-arts gallery of European art that spans from the Middle Ages to modern times with Old Masters, Alberto Giacometti stick figures, Monet and Van Gogh masterpieces, Rodin sculptures, and 19th and 20th century art; Heimplatz 1
  • Schweizerisches Landesmuseum—an eclectic museum with a permanent collection that provides an overview of Swiss history with objects such as carved painted sleds, domestic and religious artifacts, and an archaeology section; Museumstrasse 2
  • Zoo Zurich—a zoo with over 380 species in natural enclosures such as elephants, lemurs, chameleons, camels, yaks, and penguins; Zurichbergstrasse 221
  • Botanical Garden and Museum—a botanical garden with 8000 plant species including flowers, trees, and mosses as well as 25,000 plants displayed in rotating exhibitions; Zollikerstrasse 107
  • Sukkulenten-Sammlung—a plant collection that consists of one of the largest succulent collections in the world with 4,500 species from more than 78 families, seven greenhouses, and a rockery; Mythenquai 88
  • Focus Terra—an interactive university museum which allows visitors to learn about the earth’s treasures, volcanic eruptions, origins of gems, fossils, and earthquakes; Sonneggstrasse 5
  • Grossmunster—a twin-towered cathedral that sits directly across the river from Fraumunster with an interior featuring stained-glass work by Augusto Giacometti and great views of the city from the southern tower; Grossmunsterplatz
  • Beyer Museum—a small museum located within a watch shop that provides an overview of the history of timekeeping; Bahnhofstrasse 31
  • Haus Konstruktiv (Museum of Constructivist Art)—a museum located within a former electrical substation that provides an overview of the history of constructivist art with a highlight being the Rockefeller Dining Room, a 1963 salon designed by Fritz Glarner, and a collection featuring minimalist art, concept art, and neo geo work; Selnaustr. 25
  • Helmhaus—a museum that has rotating exhibitions of modern and experimental art by Zurich-based artists; Limmataquai 31
  • Kunsthalle (Center of Contemporary Art)—a modern art venue located on one of the top floors of a former brewery with exhibitions of innovative and cutting-edge artwork; Limmastr. 270
  • Migros Museum Fur Gegenwartskunst (Migros Museum of Contemporary Art)—a lofty museum funded by the Migros department store chain, Switzerland’s largest such chain, with exhibitions from the large Migros collection including pieces by Andy Warhol; Limmastr. 270
  • Zoological Museum—a museum featuring some 1,500 stuffed animals including dinosaur skeletons, giant mammoths, and sloths with interactive exhibits that provide visitors with the chance to listen to whale songs and see insects close-up; Karl-Schmid Strasse 4
  • Museum Rietberg—a museum located in three villas in a leafy park with an emerald glass entrance featuring Switzerland’s only collection of African, Asian, and ancient American art including pieces such as a shaman eagle mask, Persian wall hangings, and Chinese cloisonné enameling; Gablerstrasse 15
  • Ethnographic Museum—a museum run by the University of Zurich that has temporary exhibitions on non-European cultures; Pelikanstrasse 40
  • FIFA World Football Museum—a newer museum opened in 2017 that takes soccer enthusiasts through the history of FIFA and the World Cup with hands-on displays, the original World Cup trophy, and a pinball machine; Seestrasse 27
  • Archaeological Collection—a museum run by the University of Zurich that has a large collection of original pieces and plaster casts that allow visitors to learn about neo-Babylonian kings, ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans; Ramistrasse 73
  • Museum fur Gestaltung—a museum dedicated to graphic and applied arts with works by classic photographers and advertising for old furniture designs; Pfingsteweidstrasse 96
  • Schweizer Finanz Museum—a museum that opened in 2017 that provides insights into the economy, stock exchange, and financial security of Switzerland; Pfingsteweidstrasse 110
  • James Joyce Foundation—a museum with Europe’s largest James Joyce collection as Zurich was where Joyce spent most of World War One; Augstinergasse 9

Sights in Valletta, Malta

Valletta is the capital of Malta and is a city with a rich cultural and military history. It is very religious with several churches and a basilica.

  • Barrakka Ta’ Fuq (Upper Barrakka Gardens)—a lookout point with a troupe of cats, greenery, and views of Grand Harbour and the Three Cities across the water; Castile Square
  • John’s Co-Cathedral—an impressive church designed by the architect Gerolamo Cassar between 1573 and 1578 with an interior renovated in the 17th century in a Maltese Baroque style with a painting of John the Baptist by Caravaggio, a long low nave with walls and pillars encrusted with rich ornamentation, marble floors, and a vault with paintings by Mattia Preti that depict events from the life of St. John the Baptist; Triq ir-Repubblika
  • Grand Master’s Palace—the former residence of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St. John and until 2015 the seat of Malta’s parliament is now home to a collection of over 5,000 suits of 16th to 18th century armor and weaponry including crossbows, muskets, swords, and pistols and the State Apartments with five rooms usually opened to the public; Pjazza San Gorg
  • National Museum of Archaeology—a museum housed within the Auberge de Provence that features exhibits that include artifacts such as stone tools dating back to 5200 BC, Phoenician amulets, and a temple model from Ta’Hagrat as well as model prehistoric figurines that were found within the area, pottery from the Bronze Age, animal figurines, and jewelry; Triq-ir-Repubblika
  • Fort St. Elmo and National War Museum—this fort named after the patron saint of mariners was built in 1552 in only four months to guard the harbors on either side of the Sceberras Peninsula and was restored and reopened in 2015 with the addition of the National War Museum which covers Malta’s wartime history from 1565’s Great Siege when Turkish forces attacked the country to World War II with audiovisual displays and artifacts such as a biplane and the George Cross awarded to the country in 1942
  • City Gate—this city gate designed by Renzo Piano resembles the dimensions of the original 1633 entrance to the city giving visitors the feeling of crossing a real bridge with a frame designed to look like knights’ sabers
  • Parliament Building—this building completed by Renzo Piano in 2014 includes two massive stone volumes that are supported by stilts and photovoltaic panels on the roof which generate much of the energy required to ventilate the building and inside is the northern block which contains the parliament chamber and the southern block containing the offices of the members of parliament
  • Lascaris War Rooms—a mechanically ventilated underground tunnel complex that lies 40 meters below the Upper Barrakka Gardens that housed Great Britain’s secret command in Malta during WWII and remained in use until 1977 with a restoration completed in 2009 with the rooms laid out in their original configuration staffed by wax figures; Lascaris Ditch
  • Church of St. Paul’s Shipwreck—a church honoring St. Paul who was shipwrecked in Malta in 60 AD and brought Christianity to the country with a 19th century façade and a 16th century interior with treasures such as a gilded statue of St. Paul carved in Rome in the 1650s, a golden reliquary containing bones from his wrist, and part of the column on which he was killed in Rome; Triq San Pawl
  • Carmelite Basilica—a basilica originally built in 1570 and expanded in the mid-19th century that was rebuilt between 1958-1981 after being damaged in World War II with a 42-meter-high dome and an interior with an early 17th century painting of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and red marble columns; Triq I-Arcisqof
  • Valletta Contemporary—a modern art gallery with a rotating roster of exhibitions and installations from local and international artists; 15-17 Triq il-Levant
  • MUZA—the current incarnation of Malta’s Museum of Fine Arts located in the Auberge d’Italie, a 16th-century building that was once home to Italian members of the Knights of St. John, with historic maps and paintings; Auberge d’Italie
  • Casa Rocca Piccola—a 16th century palazzo that is the family home of the 9th Marquis de Piro who currently lives there and allows visitors to see parts of his luxurious home and the family’s WWII air-raid shelters; 74 Triq ir-Repubblika
  • Malta Postal Museum—a small museum with a permanent exhibition that tells the story of the postal system of the Knights of St. John; 135 Triq-I-Arcisqof
  • Malta Contemporary Art—a space dedicated to photography, painting, mixed media, and other art exhibitions; Triq Felix
  • James’ Cavalier—a 16th century fortification transformed into an arts center with galleries, theater, and a cinema; Castille Place
  • Sacra Infermeria—located in the former 16th century hospital run by the Order of St. John, this museum has an exhibition about medieval medicine; Triq-it-Tramuntana
  • Prospettiva—an installation designed by a Maltese architect to celebrate Valletta’s distinction as the 2018 European City of Culture that merges the city’s five gates into a two-dimensional structure disassembled into planes; Glormu Cassar Avenue
  • Siege Bell Memorial—a memorial erected in 1992 that commemorates those who lost their lives during the war convoys between 1940 and 1943; St. Christopher Bastion
  • Toy Museum—a doll-sized museum with a large private collection of model toys such as tin cars from 1950s Japan, tin toys from 1912 Germany, Matchbox cars, farmyard animals, train sets, and dolls; 222 Triq-ir-Repubblika
  • Triton Fountain—a grand fountain sculpted by Maltese sculptor Vincent Apap in 1959 restored and reopened early in 2018
  • National Library—a library with a classical façade erected by the Knights of St. John with book-lined shelves and occasional temporary exhibitions
  • Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial—a monument to the 2,298 members of the Commonwealth Air Force who died in World War II with no known graves
  • War Memorial—a monument to the 600 Maltese and almost one million British servicemen who died in World War I

Your life can change in the blink of an eye…

This was first published on Blogcritics:

Lauren Scruggs’s Still LoLo is quite an inspirational and moving memoir. In the aftermath of a terrible life-altering accident, Lauren and her family managed to maintain their faith in God and know that he is still there looking after the family. Lauren’s story is sad at times but also radiates positivity when you see how supportive her family is of her and her actions.

The memoir emphasizes the fact that even when confronted with great disability, there is still a chance to have strong ability. Lauren was badly injured in an accident where she was walking off a plane and walked into the still spinning propeller. She fractured part of her skull, had major damage to her left eye, and had her left hand severed. It was a horrific accident that changed her life forever.

Before the accident she had been a vibrant, energetic, and passionate journalist who had created her own lifestyle magazine with a friend from college, LoLo Magazine. Her parents had divorced when she was only four which certainly impacted her and her identical twin sister, Brittany. They remarried when the sisters were eleven, which was the answer to their fervent prayers, and any hard feelings their parents held towards one another seemed to have been resolved. The sisters had attended the same college although Lauren had been indecisive about what she wanted to do with her life and had spent one spring interning in the fashion industry, which helped to grow her passion for style and beauty.

After the accident when she was lucid enough to realize what had happened to her, she went through a very dark period where she struggled to deal with the pain of losing her eye and hand and having the left side of her face scarred. Her parents, sister, and friends were tremendously helpful to her during her recovery, and with time she learned that she would still be able to do many of the activities she had been involved in before the accident.

This book proved to be a beautifully written story of faith, hope, and love–and shows that even in the darkest of times there is still a light at the end of the tunnel. Though the accident changed the Scruggs family, it also brought them closer together as they encouraged and supported Lauren through every step of her journey to recovery.