Well we have Kaylee for only a couple of more days. So we have some day trips planned while Julie is at work, and we hope to be home early enough to have dinner together. Tomorrow we are going to Bern. She wants to see the Einstein Museum, and a couple of other things. Thursday, we are going to finish the hike from Utliberg to Addliswil. Then on Friday we take her back to the airport for the 2nd semester at UW/Madison. Today we visited Luzern.
Luzern is another one of the Swiss cities I had heard of before, but really didn’t know anything about it. The only thing I knew about the city before hand was from a Brad Thor book called “The Lions of Lucerne”. I knew there was a big mountain nearby, there is a covered bridge, and there is a Lion Monument that was built to memorialize a group of Swiss Guards that gave up their lives during the French Revolution. Honestly, I still do not know much more than that, but it is a beautiful city.
We decided to begin our day going to the top of Mt Pilatus. The travel guides talked about the Golden Ticket. This was a round trip where you take a gondola up the mountain, and a cog wheel train down. We decided to flip it. The only problem was that none of the web sites proclaimed the train is only open from late May to mid November. 🙁 We did of course finally find this out, but not until we got off the train, and were stuck in the town for another 30 minutes waiting on a train out of there. 🙂
Oh well, we recovered and got up to the top about lunch time. We took in the breath taking views for a while, and then went to the hotel restaurant for lunch. Oh yeah, there is a hotel at the very top of the mountain. I think Julie and I will have to figure out a way to stay there for a night or two before we go home. I took a lot of video from Pilatus, so over the next couple of days keep your eyes out here or on facebook.
After coming down the mountain we took a walk through Luzern. I am sure my Southern Indiana friends will appreciate the covered bridges. Kaylee thinks I am a little obsessed, but they are really cool. The longest one the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) actually crosses the river diagonally. In about the middle of the bridge is a tower. This tower has been a prison, a post office, a treasury, and an armory. According to one of the websites I found the prison part was actually below the water line. I am sure that was a REALLY uncomfortable place to be housed. In the early 1600’s a painter was commissioned for 158 paintings these told the history of Christendom, as well as ancient Switzerland. Unfortunately, there was a fire in 1993 that destroyed 110 of the original paintings. The bridge was almost completely destroyed. For the Swiss, this was like Notre Dame burning in Paris.
In addition to the bridges we hiked up the hill and followed the museggmauer. This is a remnant of the wall that once must have circled the city for protection. Finally we went back down into town, and took a break for pastry and coffee! I am learning this is a daily ritual with my daughter. She says she can’t find pastry in Madison, like they have over here. 🙂
The last thing we visited was the Lions of Luzern Monument. This monument commemorates the approximately 1000 Swiss Guards that gave their lives up for King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. The Swiss Guard held in place to try and protect the King and the Castle, but were over run by the revolutionaries. This monument is a very powerful reminder of selfless sacrifice. Unfortunately, like a lot of Luzern the monument is being refurbished. We could still see the carving, we just couldn’t get in to the actual park around the monument!
This ends our day in Luzern. I will write more tomorrow evening about our trip to Bern! Enjoy the pictures.