Off to India (via Switzerland) on a photo safari for Bengal Tigers and the Taj Mahal
We began our trip by flying to Zurich. It was an easy trip but so tired, landing at 8 am. (Why didn’t I take my sleep meds??) Our goal was to visit another great country…I have barely a nodding acquaintance with Europe…and help break up a loooong trip and reset our clocks before India and 110 degree days.
After landing in Switzerland, we jumped on an easy non-stop one-hour train to Lucerne, a tourist mecca.
Lucerne is beautiful. Much of the old city remains and newer buildings still echo the quaint “chalet” feel. Hills are gently rolling and bright green. The city’s sits on the Ruess River, flowing from Lake Lucerne, as it begins it’s way to the Rhine. Coming into town we saw a serious crew course and several two- mans working they course and a stack of about 50 shells waiting for their turn. Athletic young men are all over town in shirts sporting rowing logos.
Church bells were everywhere. The sound of the old. They seem to ring at all hours…no set time, like on the hour. We heard the famous Church of St. Leodegar from Seebrücke (Lake) Bridge.
We arrived under gray skies. Even the train station was beautiful.
A gentle mist added to the old-world-Europe ambiance and we could see our hotel just across the river.
The Reuss River is sparkling clear…locals say it s clean enough to drink.
…As we saw at the old public water source outside our hotel.
We arrived at our Hotel des Alpes at 11 am but couldn’t check in until two.
Oops! Everything had gone so well, we were ahead of schedule. And because our hotel was so close to the train station, we bag-dragged and were there in no time. (Using on-line booking, we made sure our room was in the old town area–and we we loved our location . A plus was a complimentary European breakfast buffet where we ate on an outside balcony overlooking the river. It was cool so we didn’t notice there was no AC- more important was the private bath that some old hotels don’t offer).
They kept our bags and we stared our city tour early, tired and grubby (I think I slept about 2 hours on the plane since yesterday.) Our first stop was the old wooden Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke) in front of the hotel.
Built in the 13th century, the covered bridge slices across the Ruess at an angle to connect the medieval fortifications.
The bridge was decorated with paintings in the 17-century. These depict patron saints and the development of the town.
It is anchored by the octagonal 111 ft. stone water tower (Wasserturm) built in 1300. This is the most photographed monument in Switzerland, so we kust had to capture a Kodak moment.
The river has flotillas of swans –said to be descendants of a gift to the city from Louis XIV.
Down the riverwalk is the twin-spired Baroque-style Jesuit Church from the 1600’s. This view was taken at sunset.
Next we came to the Spreüerbrücke (Mill) Bridge as seen from Needle dam.
The old covered bridges in town show off some fantastic old wood engineering.
Much of old town is traffic free…
There are many upscale shops, bakeries, pharmacies, chocolatiers, and souvenir hangouts.
Along with many old fountains—also with water “clean enough for drinking.”
Before heading back to our hotel to check in, we walked a few blocks to see the Lion Monument, The Dying Lion of Lucerne.
This is one of the world’s most famous monuments, so we stopped for another photo. Carved into a rock wall, it memorializes the death do Swiss mercenaries at the Tuileries in 1792. Mark Twain called this the “saddest piece of rock in the world.” It is beautiful and moving.
It was beside the Glacial Garden…rocks and glacial debris we saw all over Iceland so we didn’t stop.
After check in we toured more of old town, heading down the river to several additional covered bridges and up to the Museggmauer Museeg Wall. This was part of the rampart wall built in the 1380’s. This view shows part if the wall and guard towers above the Mill Bridge.
We climbed up two of the three towers (Wachtturm) and walked along the top of the wall, overlooking the city.
Exhausted, we headed to Market Square, the pedestrian shopping area, where we bought great hot sandwiches—and a hunk of real Swiss chocolate– and brought them back to the hotel so we could eat quickly and immediately hit the rack. Two tired puppies!
Tomorrow, we’ve planned a Lake Luc
erne boat tour that will take us to Mount Pilatus in the Swiss Alps.