A grand-looking hotel (Lucerne; Switzerland)
A must-have experience for any visitor to Switzerland is a rail journey through the majestic Swiss countryside, so first up on the agenda was a trip to Lucerne, a lakeside city with a mountainous backdrop, showcasing the perfect blend of where urban meets rural in a sufficiently compact realm. Barely an hour's train ride out of Zurich, Lucerne is the real essence of a Swiss resort town, where the urban buzz of the country's two major financial hubs (Zurich and Geneva) give way to old-town charm of an easy-going nature, with features a-plenty to earn its status as a tourist magnet. Similarly, the purchase of a museum card is a wise move for a day-tripper, as the list of museums which it allows entry to validates the cost, providing you make for at least 2 or three of them.
View across the river (Lucerne; Switzerland)
The Rosengarten art collection seems to focus heavily on works of Pablo Picasso and Swiss artist Paul Klee, and contains 3 floors worth of art for public viewing. The main art museum though, the KKL, is located right next door to the city's main station, and its modern-looking exterior presents a curious contrast to the majority of the buildings in Lucerne's Old Town, which are colourful, classical, stately and detailed, making an Old Town walk something of a joy to behold. Getting there by means of crossing the Chapel Bridge is an experience in itself, and the wooden, covered bridge has been tainted by a fire in 1993, which sadly blackened a few of the impressive friezes contained immediately below the roof section of the bridge's outer shell. The church of St. Leodegar is perhaps the city's most prominent church, and a great photo opportunity to boot, though there are 3 or 4 impressive churches worth checking out for their architectural worth.
The city's backdrop (Lucerne; Switzerland)
Heading north from the church, you'll reach another artistic spot known as the sleeping lion (lowendenkmal) which is a stone-carved monument of a somnolent lion, flanked by a body of water to a majestic overall effect. Immediately next door, you'll find the Glacier garden, born out of a chance discovery of a stone formation, documented by placards telling of the symbolism behind the rocks. Elsewhere within the Glacier garden, you'll come across an ornate-looking mirror maze, modelled on Spain's Alhambra palace, and a fun place in which to lose onesself, albeit temporarily. In terms of museum attractions though, it might well be wise to save the largest and greatest until last, but one thing is for certain, calling in at Lucerne's Swiss transport museum is a wise move, as this is about as insightful a museum dedicated to transport as you would find anywhere, and the number of state-of-the-art features and attractions contained therein qualify its status as the city's priciest yet easily most comprehensive museum of its kind.
The sleeping lion (Lucerne; Switzerland)
If that fails to hit the spot, then why not try one of the museum's latest attractions, which is the chocolate world section, dedicated to one of Switzerland's most-loved creations. German composer Richard Wagner paid numerous trips to Lucerne during his lifetime, and the legacy he has left is the Wagner museum, but then again, a city as well-composed as Lucerne is hardly likely to fail to attract visitors upon whom a lasting impression is left, in the same way as the mountainous backdrop of the city proper is an image still etched upon this visitor's mind...