Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tales for the TRIP - Day 10 - Lucerne, Switzerland

Mom and I enjoyed sleeping in until about 7:00 and then hurried downstairs to get breakfast before the 9am deadline. They had finished serving breakfast and were cleaning up when we got down there, but directed us to a second restaurant in the hotel that was still serving. It was such a pleasure to have the day ahead of us with only the group dinner scheduled for us.

After breakfast we walked several blocks through the cool morning to the shopping area Simone had pointed out the day before. Their agreement with a shop named Bucherer's included a free spoon - and once again the use of their clean and free restrooms for the day! We enjoyed browsing through their shop that included jewelry and watches, Cuckoo clocks, and Swiss army knives. I ended up getting a small pocket knife for each of my sons and having their names engraved on them.

Our next stop was to find our way to the city wall - I was determined to learn more about it and hopefully see the town from atop the wall. We had pulled out our map and were searching for a path to the wall when a very friendly local stopped and asked if she could help. She told us exactly how to get to the wall, where we could actually get into the tower and walk along the wall, where there were benches along the way, and recommended that we take a bottle of water with us. In fact, everyone we met in Lucerne was incredibly friendly and helpful.

We meandered through the shopping district and up the hillside to the city wall, climbed up into the tower and walked along the ledge they are in the process of adding. It ran along 3/4 of the wall, which dates back to the 14th century. The views from the wall were stunning - and we were so sorry we didn't have a really good camera. Here's what we were able to capture with the little disposable-

OK, so imagine a view about a million times more beautiful than this - it just seems impossible to really capture how beautiful it was!

We walked back along the base of the wall, beside a pasture featuring a shaggy-haired cow. It was interesting to see that one side of the wall was 'city' and the other was 'country' even after 700 years!

We meandered back through the shopping district and found the most adorable fondue restaurant for lunch. We were able to share a meal again - this time bratwurst, swiss cheese fondue, and then a chocolate fondue. Again - one meal, two people, and lots of leftovers. Even left some of the chocolate fondue, if you can believe that! Actually, I have to admit, the Melting Pot's fondue is much better, but still, this was good.

Even on our own, we had spent a good 4-5 hours walking - but didn't feel nearly as exhausted as we had in Rome. Being able to take it at our own pace and rest when we needed to made a huge difference. We went back to the hotel and relaxed before the scheduled dinner with our group - interested to find out of their tour had been what we expected.

The dinner that evening was in the rooftop restaurant with a nice view of the city and they served grilled fish - which is not generally my favorite. But it was delicious...probably the best fish I'd ever had. We enjoyed hearing about their tour and the previous evening's yodeling - which actually did sound like they'd had fun and some of the members of the group got to try their hand at alpine-horn-blowing. Still we were glad we had been able to go our own way and don't believe we missed a thing. The train-ride up the mountain that they took turned out a little more as we had thought - when they arrived at the 'top' they had to climb a number of tall stairs if they wanted to reach the area with an actual view. Even the young men in the group (age 20 and very fit) said they could barely catch their breath due to the altitude - definitely would not have been a good plan for Mom and me!

We got to sit with some folks at dinner we hadn't had a chance to really meet, including one of the 'Mom and son' couples. The son, Mike, played in his high school band and was looking forward to being in the band at Pitt this fall. Talking about band really made me miss my kids though!

We finished off the evening by spending some time at the lounge on the roof - a different section of it was open this evening, so we had a view of the lake and the rest of the city as well as a view of the mountain that the group had visited that day. We also met some ladies about Mom's age who were traveling from Australia for six weeks through Europe. The night before we had met another two couples who were traveling from Australia and finished their tour with a two week stay in Lucerne!

Tomorrow - Paris!

No comments:

Post a Comment