“The whole town is like a scene in a periodic movie and the people roaming around this city including us –were out of place!” – Me
We visited Lucerne, an hour train ride from Zurich, a city in north-central and German speaking portion of Switzerland. It is a beautiful small city, a car free zone and small enough to be explored by foot. They have mountain railways that take you high up to one of the surrounding pre-alpine summit close enough for you to experience the mountain snow. Sad to say, it was gloomy that day so that part of the experience was not advisable. Nevertheless we are not disheartened as we opted for a more relaxing tour instead – a train ride around the city…cho! choo!
Our route will start and end at Hotel Schweizerhof – I know right! You cannot pronounce the name, it has a lot of consonants but it just spelled out elegance. This is where Richard Wagner wrote the 3rd act of “Tristan & Isolde”, not only counts emperors and queens among its past guests but Mark Twain and Count Leo Tolstoy have also stayed here. Prominent figures from around the world still visit this nostalgic luxury hotel with its magnificent lakeside location. The hotel reminded of the movie ‘Somewhere in Time’ then again the whole town is like a scene in a periodic movie and the people roaming around this city including us –were out of place!
The hour train ride around town gave us an overview of where we really want to go. Lucerne was indeed a small but remarkably preserved old town. The streets, passages, and squares are like a maze that you can get lost, plus the low rise buildings seem similar. We started walking around and explore and here’s where we end up.
We had lunch at Restaurant Bodu a restaurant famous for exquisite French Cuisine. On a Sunday morning many people ate here and leisurely spend the day away chatting and munching especially the old folks. I had a glimpse of my future and made me realized hey why not! I still want to go out and eat in a good restaurant and catch up with my friends when I’m old and grey. I want to be like these old folks and be not confined in their own bed and succumbed to their arthritis –this is the part where travelling makes you realized other culture’s perspective and it was good. Anyway back to the food… I forgotten what I ordered but I can’t forget the taste it was one of the best and tasty meal I ever had plus the European, old town ambiance made it perfect!
One of the city’s famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge originally built in 1333, said to be the oldest wood bridge of Europe, its amusing to walk over it as you can see about 100 pictures of 12th century city life and Swiss history. Much of it had to be replaced after a fire on August 18, 1993, allegedly caused by a discarded cigarette.
The Lion Monument (German: Löwendenkmal) a sculpture designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen to commemorate the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris, France. The sculpture depicts a dying lion and was carved out of a rock face. Above the lion reads the Latin inscription HELVETIORUM FIDEI AC VIRTUTI, which translated into English means “To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss“. Below the lion are the Greek numbers DCCLX and CCCL which indicate that 760 soldiers died and 350 survived. From an artistic perspective, the Lion Monument is truly a beautiful piece of work that conveys such sadness and sorrow. Interesting to note, if you look closely, you’ll notice that the surrounding outline of the lion resembles the shape of a pig. Apparently, the sculptor had a falling out with someone associated with the contracting of the memorial that he created the pig shape out of spite. The American writer Mark Twain (1835–1910) praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”
The Church of St. Leodegar (German: St. Leodegar im Hof or Hofkirche St. Leodegar) for me is a typical old church with a few flight of steps before reaching the front door and when you looked behind you was the view of the town to greet you. This is the most important church and a landmark in the city. It was built in parts from 1633 to 1639 on the foundation of the Roman basilica which had burnt in 1633. This church was one of the few built north of the Alps during the 30 years war and one of the largest and art history rich churches of the German late renaissance period. In 1874 the parish church of St. Leodegar was founded and with that the church became simultaneously a monastery church and parish church, as it is today.
Lucerne is a beautiful small city in the heartland of Switzerland, across the lake from Altdorf, where legend has it William Tell shot an apple off of his son’s head. I thanked God I had this opportunity to have a walk around Lucerne and explore this picture perfect town.