Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 5 › view all entries
Lowendenkmal

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.

Schirmerturm
In fact, there is no Swiss language. The languages spoken in Switzerland are German, French, Italian, Romansch, and English. That is one of the first interesting aspects of Switzerland. Since its surrounded by so many distinct cultures, Switzerland acts as a cultural melting pot. As you get closer to Germany, the areas of Switzerland get progressively German. As you move towards France, the areas get more and more French. And on the boarders near Italy, things start getting Italian. In fact, its possible to get on a train in a German speaking city, and get off in a French speaking city. Almost as if you were going from one country to the next. Now, keep in mind, the German, French, and Italian is of a Swiss variety. Close enough to the original languages, but still a bit different.

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.

Clock in Zeitturm
But if you think about it, it makes since that Bern is the capital. It sits in the middle of the country and supports a combination of German and French culture. In fact, Bern is such a mix that people there will mix German and French into the same conversation. I wasn't there to witness this freaky phenomenon, but I can only imagine what that might be like.

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.

Old Town
Buses and trains announce all their stops. And stations are well marked. After the first train and bus ride I found myself aclimated.

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.

Waterfront
Typically, statues can be rather boring, but I was overwhelmed by this one.

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.

Spreuerbrucke Exterior
Certain towers you can climb up to reach the top of the wall. Then you can walk atop the wall and get some spended views of the city. This was the first castle-like structure I have been able to see in person in my life. It was definately a cool experience.

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.

Spreuerbrucke - "The Dance of Death"

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.

Kapellbrucke
But then again, none of the restaurants were.

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.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Lowendenkmal
Lowendenkmal
Schirmerturm
Schirmerturm
Clock in Zeitturm
Clock in Zeitturm
Old Town
Old Town
Waterfront
Waterfront
Spreuerbrucke Exterior
Spreuerbrucke Exterior
Spreuerbrucke - The Dance of Deat…
Spreuerbrucke - "The Dance of Dea…
Kapellbrucke
Kapellbrucke
Spreuerbrucke Interior
Spreuerbrucke Interior
Old Town
Old Town
Old Town
Old Town
Lowendenkmal (up close)
Lowendenkmal (up close)
Jesuitenkirche
Jesuitenkirche
Old Swiss House
Old Swiss House
Museggmauer (City Wall) Entrance
Museggmauer (City Wall) Entrance
Mannliturm
Mannliturm
View of Lucerne
View of Lucerne
Mannliturm
Mannliturm
Hofkirche
Hofkirche
Museggmauer Map
Museggmauer Map
Kappellbrucke (Chapel Bridge)
Kappellbrucke (Chapel Bridge)
Kappellbrucke Flowers
Kappellbrucke Flowers
Lucerne
photo by: Chokk