Switzerland: The path of William Tell The footprints are discovered by the Swiss hero in the historical heart of the country, with a journey to the shores of Lake Lucerne and Bauen one of the small towns of the region.
The flag is displayed with pride in every corner of Switzerland. Flies over the poles in the courtyard of the houses, the windows of apartments, in the stern vessels plying the lakes, atop mountains, in the city squares, on the streets of towns. Not to mention the T-shirts, purses, bicycle helmets. For the tourist are the inevitable touches of red in all Swiss post and every photo memory.
At a certain time of year, when the sky gives its best blue and green mountains in their best flourish more flags than ever throughout the Confederation to celebrate Swiss National Day with festivities that extend beyond the date.
The Rütli oath:
The commemoration is a pact between peasant mountain communities of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwald, three existing counties, located on the Rütli meadow on the shores of Lake Lucerne, the most typical of all Swiss lakes Switzerland. In this pact, with time and the addition of cities and other regions later born Switzerland.
Rütli Meadow, which the French and Italians became Grütli, is now the symbol of the nation’s founding: located on the territory of the canton of Uri, near the village of Seelisberg. Probably not much changed his appearance since the meeting of the three Confederate: Walter Fürst, Arnold Mechtal and Werner Stauffacher, and his men, except for detail that there, in a clearing among the trees, a flag flies 365 days year.
Rütli Meadow is a place of must see for every citizen on a weekend trip, or during “school careers,” as it is called locally educational trips that are organized in schools.
The best way to get there is by boat from one of the many ports of Lake Lucerne, the nearest are the Brunnen and Altdorf, the head of the canton of Uri. Rütli Port is a majestic carved wooden shelter where lack either the flag. There is only one way to start climbing up the side of mountains to the prairie that is well above the lake level.
Before finding the clearing among the forest that forms the meadow, we pass through the three sources, in fact three streams of water that flow through the rocks and symbolize the first three cantons of the Confederation. The Prairie summarizes some the image of Switzerland, without ostentation or great monuments, here are only the flag, the cows and the farm. And a magnificent landscape, a dream, Switzerland embracing in one view and that is certainly the best symbol that the country can offer to glorify its origins.
A small museum recalls the covenant of Rütli, with reproductions of documents and texts in various languages. In a typical chalet, a restaurant offering traditional Swiss dishes, accompanied on weekends by musicians who play the regional sound.
In the mountains, above the trees that enclose the Rütli, Seelisberg village is about 350 meters above the prairie. From its main street overlooking a panorama view looks like a plane flight. To get there, take a cable car to the port of Seelisberg: just between this port and the Rütli will pass by a monolith that rises from the lake and paid tribute to Schiller and William Tell, a neighbor omnipresent in the region.
Before embarking on his tracks, it’s worth a coffee or stop for a while in a port on Lake Lucerne, not far from Rütli. It is the people of Bauen, a sort of tropical resort, protected by a microclimate that allows the growth of palm trees and exotic plants at the foot of the mountain, including several bowers.
In Altdorf and the region, William Tell is everywhere. According to legend, he lived in these places and many places recall their exploits. The story does not mention William Tell during the Rütli pact, but it was his struggle against the Habsburg envoy, Gessler, the episode that made him more famous than the “three Swiss” of the pact.
The familiar sight with his crossbow against an apple placed on the head of his own son is the highlight, but the story really begins when Tell refused to salute the Tyrolean hat of Gessler, placed on top of a mast in the square Altdorf. Instead of the cap, now the town square has a statue of William Tell, very famous throughout Switzerland: no need to add that it is one of the most photographed monuments in the country, although not the oldest statue of the legendary known hero.
That honor belongs to a set of features naive, painted in bright colors, which dates from 1786 and was originally in Altdorf, but is now in the neighboring town of Bürglen, where William and his family lived.
Bürglen medieval tower houses the Museum of Tell, whose rooms have a valuable collection of representations of the character and his deeds, seeking to reveal something more about the person and myth.
Certainly, legends have a historical background, as always in Europe, but the figure of Tell, born in a very symbolic moment of Swiss history, contemporary to the very creation of the country, has a significant importance. Schiller’s work and subsequent opera by Rossini helped a lot in their international dissemination.
Do not leave without having a look Bürglen to Tell’s Chapel, built in 1582, assuming the site of the house where he lived the character until the day of his death when he tried to save a child from a river water rushing. This is not, however, the only Chapel of Tell. There is more to the lake, in another key spot in the series, where he, taken prisoner by Gessler and his soldiers, allegedly jumped from the boat to land on a large rock that moves upon the waters and is known as Tellsplatte. Today the little chapel, whose frescoes recall the episode, is one of the ports where boats stop for pilgrims descend from this legend.