We left Munich at 7:30 a.m. Mom and I knew that we had to prepare for the long train ride by buying sandwiches, yogurt and coffee.
We had to transfer trains in Stuttgart and Zurich. In Stuttgart, mom and I ended up running to get to the next train a couple of tracks over and we were out of breath! Thankfully, we made it, but I hate being in those situations with tight schedules. We finally arrived in Lucerne at 1:50 p.m.
I hadn't been back to Switzerland since living there for 6 months from 2005-2006. I really loved living in the country and missed seeing the gorgeous alps, cows, and the friendly people.
While Lucerne is a beautiful city, it's also very touristy and expensive. My mom noticed the prices being super high right away, especially compared to Germany. We stayed one evening there, basically as a stopover before we headed up into the alps, which is a lengthy trip.
Hotel prices in Lucerne are also pricey, so we opted for a basic and small room at the Ibis budget Luzern City. This is the neighborhood the hotel was in, behind the train station and in a more residential district.
On our way to find the hotel, a kind old woman saw that we looked lost and asked where we were going. She asked me in Italian, so I responded back in a little Italian as well and then we exchanged a few German words too. Oh how I missed the Swiss and their ability to learn multiple languages!
Once settled in at the hotel, we explored the city! Like a lot of cities on our trip, I had been to Lucerne once before with friends. I went around Halloween time and it was a fun time of year to be there. This time, it was much colder and windy!
Here's mom at Chapel Bridge/Kapellbrücke.
The bridge is the oldest covered one in Europe still surviving. It did undergo restoration.
I found some interesting information about the tower on Wikipedia: "The tower predated the bridge by about 30 years. Throughout the centuries, the tower was variably used as a prison, torture chamber, and later a municipal archive. Today, the tower is closed to the public, although it houses a local artillery association as well as a tourist gift shop."
I was excited to show my mom the Jesuit church, since it's so gorgeous on the inside and she is a practicing Catholic.
I even snuck this photo of her putting the holy water on her forehead.
See, I told you the interior was beautiful!
The river was treacherous in some parts.
We shopped a bit and then made our way to the Lion Monument, which is another thing that Lucerne is well-known for.
Another nice Wikipedia summary of what the monument is all about: "a sculpture designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen and hewn in 1820–21 by Lukas Ahorn. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris, France. Mark Twain praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world."
I got a little silly at a statue of a lion nearby.
We opted to eat our dinner at a grocery store again vs. a restaurant. I was happy to find a Coop inside a mall, so we went there. I loved Coop when I lived in Lugano. I bought an aloe vera watermelon and peach drink, a spinach strudel, and my favorite, Birchermuesli. This was mom's first time having an excellent Birchermuesli and she loved it! The Swiss know how to make it correctly and they should, because they're the ones that invented it! Dinners like this sometimes make me more happy and they aren't so tough on my sensitive stomach.
It started to get even colder out, so we headed back to the train station to shop for gloves and a hat for me. I forgot to bring them for our trip up into the Alps. I asked for them at a couple of stores (simply by saying, "handschuhe?", but since it was Spring, they had none to sell me. I was imagining myself freezing in the 20 degree temperatures and snow showers predicted for the mountains the next day.
We also bought our train and bus tickets to Gimmelwald for the next day and for the way back into Germany. This is where I learned that I should have double checked a few things, as we were sold tickets that were incorrect and later had to purchase another ticket to get us to the right train station in Basel. I had a bad feeling because I had been to Basel before and knew there were two train stations, so I did ask and he still messed them up, perhaps because his English comprehension was not the best.
Back at the hotel, I was so happy to have wi-fi for free in our room (not a common thing in Europe) and so I Skyped with Craig and Facetimed my Dad and did research on the next leg of our trip.
Miles walked: 7.80.