Lucerne Travel Blog› entry 1 of 5 › view all entries
Well its been a while since my last blog, and I know you all are dying to learn about my most recent travels to Switzerland. Well here it is.
I decided that I would stick with my plan of visiting a single country at a time. Obviously this makes seeing all the countries I want to more difficult, but in my experience I have learned that you can't fully embrace all a country has to offer unless you devote all your time and energy towards it. I can't say that I have been disappointed yet.
If you didn't know, I was gone for about 13 days. I spent 11 full days in Switzerland and I found it just enough time to see and do most everything I had in mind. Over the next couple of weeks I'll bring you stories and photos from multiple cities. First up: Lucerne... if you speak English or French. Luzern if you German. And Lucerna if you speak Italian.
If you thought the national language of Switzerland is Swiss, then you are wrong.
In the middle of Switzerland sits the capital, Bern. Thats right, for those of you who thought either Geneva or Zurich was the capital of Switzerland, you are dead wrong.
But enough about that, lets talk about Lucerne (pronounced Lu-Cern for those of you like me who cannot pronounciate properly). I flew into Zurich and immediately caught the train to Lucerne. Public transportation in foreign countries always makes me a bit nervous at first. The idea that they'll be speaking in a language I can't understand and the possibility of me totally missing my stops is enough set this worry wart into overdrive. Luckly, on most of the major routes the anouncements were also conducted in English. Even still, I soon found out how well-established mass transit is in Switzerland. The maps are easy to comprehend.
I arrived in Lucerne having not slept for over 24 hours. I was tired, but the weather was perfect and I wasn't about to waste the day. I hiked by foot to my hostel to drop off my bags. Word to the wise, make sure you check out the location of your hostel before booking. As part of the hosteling international organization, I tend to default and pick those hostels because of my discount and they tend to be the nicest available. Well, most of the HI hostels are far away from the city center, which makes getting between the city and the hostel a royal pain. But thats what feet are made for.
I dropped off my bags, changed my clothes, then headed out with my camera to take in some of the sites Lucerne has to offer. First stop: Lowendenkmal. This is a lion statue erected in 1792 in honor of all the brave soldiers who died defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution.
The lion is carved into the side of a rock wall. The thing that struck me the most is the emotion and expression on the lion's face. I felt it was amazingly done. You truely get the since of a brave and noble lion who has been slain, and the anguish on its face is clearly displayed.
Pleased with my first stop, I headed through the city taking in the architecture.
My next stop was Museggmauer (or the "city wall"). This impressive wall (with towers) is open to the public.
Within the Zuitturm tower, a clock was constructed. It was interesting to see the clock from the inside. Along the wall you could get a nice vantage of the city.
After Museggmauer, I headed to the old parts of Lucerne. This was definately one of my favorite parts of Lucerne. The buildings were beautiful, and the paintings were something distinct and drastically different than anything you'd find in the US.
After walking through old town, I hit the waterfront. Once again, thankful for the beautiful weather. Along the water front are plenty of restaurants, though I wouldn't consider them cheap.
One of the cool sights of Lucerne are all the bridges. Two in particular provide quite the experience. The first is Spreuerbrucke. This wooden bridge has paintings that hang from the roof. I couldn't read anything that was written on the paintings, but they were definately erie. I do know that the theme of the paintings is "The Dance of Death." Fittingly, they all include a figure with a skeleton head which must represent Death.
The second bridge worth noting is Kapellbrucke. This bridge is noticible by the tower attached to it. It is one of Switzerland's famous sights. It too has the paintings like Spreuerbrucke and looks quite nice at night.
I enjoyed Lucerne quite a lot. Its a big city, but not too big. And it feels Swiss. I can't define what "Swiss" feels like. But as you later see Geneva and Zurich, Lucerne definately stands out as something neither German nor French (even though the language there is German).
After taking in the sights of Lucerne, I headed back to the hostel to get some well needed rest. The next day I would visit Mount Pilatus.