Luzern – Swiss or German? Yes!

When planning this trip last year, we discussed several locations to visit after leaving Lyon.  Luzern ended up top of the list and ultimately plans were made for our visit.  Luzern is a city in central Switzerland in the German-speaking portion of the country.  The population is over 81,000 as of 2016 and owing to its location on the shores of Lake Lucerne and the nearby Swiss Alps, it has long been a destination for tourists.

We left Lyon shortly after 12 noon, going through Geneva before ultimately ending up at Luzern early evening.  I couldn’t resist the photo while waiting for our next train.

sw genevasw gmd train

 

Love the mass transit options in Europe and just wish we had those same alternatives in the states (besides only a few choice cities).

 

 

 

 

sw welcome

 

Walking out of the Luzern train station, we thought we would get a taxi to our hotel – until Eric saw the hotel’s name on the other side of the river.  We knew the place he chose was close – just not that close.  🙂  We could easily schlep our luggage to the  “Hotel des Alpes”.

 

 

 

sw hotel

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear.  The sunrise was photo-worthy.

sw sunrise

You might notice the ferris wheel at the bottom right of the above photo.  Getting off the train we ran into a local festival/carnival that was occurring that weekend.  We were wondering if royalties were paid for the characters on this ride?!?

sw mickey

So as mentioned before – we love open-air markets.  Saturday morning in Luzern is one of their biggest market days.  I tried not to duplicate other market photos from Lyon, but included some of my favorites.  So besides the flower photos, I found pots of green moss, poke weed with purple berries (?), crab apple branches and then Fall gourd displays.  One of the photos has the gourds & pumpkins secured to bark with thin wire – interesting!

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Eric had one thing on his bucket list when visiting Luzern – obtaining a specific locally made Swiss cheese.  We did better than that.  The person he was looking for was at the Saturday market and Eric had a chance to talk with him:  Rolf Beeler.  After their conversation, Rolf gave Eric one of his books (and autographed the inside).

sw cheese book

He’s done a lot for the Swiss cheese market, improving the quality and production of cheese.  Personally, after trying to pack the book in our luggage, I think he didn’t want to pack it up and take it home, thus Eric became the lucky recipient.

In addition to the market, there was also some sculling races for local clubs.  It added more excitement for a Saturday morning in Luzern.

When planning this visit, we had read about the Lion Monument.  It was created in 1820 to commemorates the Swiss Mercenary guards who were massacred during the French Revolution while protecting the French king.

sw lion

The location is walking distance from downtown Luzern, surrounded by trees and foliage, in a sheltered, reposeful woodland nook, away from the noise of the city.  The two shields shown represent the fleur-de-lis of the French monarch and the Switzerland coat of arms.

Another notable Luzern landmark is the Chapel Bridge or Kapellbrucke.  The bridge is unique because it contains a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century.  It is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe as well as the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge.

sw bridge

There was another thing I read about Luzern before arriving………fountain water.  The city of Luzern has provided fresh drinking water for over 600 years through more than 200 free water fountains of the highest quality.  They have available environmentally friendly stainless steel bottles for sale throughout the city.  The drinking water is clean and rich in important minerals from the springs above the city, requiring hardly any electricity needed to refine and distribute the water.  While maps are available, it seemed like there was a fountain around every corner.

sw fountain 2

sw fountain 3

sw fountain 1

Luzern has been a nice change from our time in France and we hope to return to Switzerland in the not-so-distance future.

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