From the Sublime to the Ridiculous: Monasteries and Mardi Gras, 2

On my last full day in Switzerland, Ash Wednesday, Susanne and I drove up the valley from her home to the ski village of Engelberg which, like Einsiedeln, is also dominated by its abbey. S teaches in the Pfarrschule [parish school], in this case, secondary, attached to the monastery. It’s a co-educational school for day and boarding pupils.


There was no evidence on Ash Wednesday of the Fasnacht celebrations which must have been taking place earlier in the week. We were able to drive right up to the school and park in the snow-cleared car park.

Engelberg Car Park

The Snow-Cleared Car Park

Before the service Susanne showed me around the monastery buildings and afterwards we visited her classroom and kitchens. She teaches home economics and her rooms are in a separate building from the main school.

Staff Room

The staff dining room where we were to have had our birthday lunch

School corridor

Inside the Kloster at Engelberg

Domestic Science Room

The Domestic Science Department

School Library

The Library serves both the school and the village

According to Karl Baedeker (1928) Mosbrugger was also responsible for the Engelberg parish church built in 1730-35. The Kloster here is also a Benedictine foundation (1120). Baedeker says (but he’s not referring to the library above!) :

“The valuable library (MSS, antiquities) is shown to male visitors only (apply to the porter). The school connected with the abbey has about 200 pupils.”

The Muirhead Guide (1923) says that “Women visitors are not admitted to the abbey buildings”.

How things have changed nowadays from 90 years ago.

When we emerged from the school the sun had come out and everything looked so beautiful!


Engelberg Kloster


However, the sunny day and blue skies only seemed to apply in Engelberg as we spent the afternoon under very dull skies in Lucerne.

Lucerne Steamship

A Lake Steamer at Lucerne under heavy skies

Kapellbrücke Luzern

The Kappellbrücke, Lucerne

Lucerne and the lake

Lucerne and Lake Lucerne

Hotel Montana

However, an afternoon tea and dessert at The Art Deco Hotel Montana was enough to thoroughly raise the spirits!



2 comments on “From the Sublime to the Ridiculous: Monasteries and Mardi Gras, 2

  1. Nilly says:

    Another memory revived – the trip on the steamer! Thank you!

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