Invisible Alps

Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
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Trip End Nov 08, 2010


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Where I stayed

Flag of Switzerland  , Lucerne,
Friday, June 18, 2010

Our flight, after connecting through Barcelona again, landed in the afternoon. We caught the train from the airport to the main train station, and hunted down the next train to Lucerne. As soon as we got off, Ben spotted a train going to 'Lausanne'. It is quite common for cities to be spelt differently in different countries, although this doesn't make sense to me. And it makes it hard to know where you are going sometimes!

Ben: I think that one is going to Lucerne!
Amanda: I think the Swiss spell Lucerne L-U-Z-something.
Ben: We better check the board.

It turned out the Swiss spell Lucerne Luzern, So it's lucky we didn't get on that train going to Lausanne! Equally luckily, there was train leaving for Lucerne in 10 minutes, and we managed to get seats even though there were heaps of people standing in the entry bits. Obviously they didn't look very hard. Although looking for seats on those kinds of trains is a pain, because this one had two levels. See how many sets of stairs you haul a heavy bag up and down before you give up and stand in a corner.

Two very tired Aussies resulted in catching the bus to the hostel, pizza for dinner and an early night. The hostel is quite good, with the best pillows we've had in a long time.

Predictably, the next morning was for sleeping in! The weather was bad, cold enough for pants and a jacket and raining lightly. The rain is supposed to last several days, and coming after the rain on Ibiza I think this means our weather luck has finally run out! We still got up and went out in the afternoon, following the walking trail marked on our map.

Lucerne is very pretty. I seem to be using that phrase a lot in reference to Switzerland, but it's true. Y'know, the cute streets and cobblestones and colourful buildings and pretty river.... who else is having deja vu? Lucerne would also have the new benefit of being surrounded by the Swiss Alps... if they weren't covered in clouds! Actually I suppose it is still surrounded, but we sure couldn't see them. It was clear enough over the town to get a reasonable view when we climbed the battlements though. And the battlements had a super-old clock that fascinated Ben. So we did okay even without the Alps.

I'd rather have seen the Alps.

What? Of course I appreciate that it has to rain sometime! When we get home would be a good time though. Or at least not when there's lovely views. No? Just at night maybe? I don't seem to be getting anywhere here...

Um, so, Lucerne. Right. Very Swiss. Apart from all the prettiness, it's the shops. Tourist shopping here isn't all the tacky t-shirts, models of the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben (actually I considered getting one of those, but I'm pretty outnumbered just living with my Big Ben), teapot phone-boxes or other truly ridiculous things that you have to just stand there and go really? to, it's Swiss things. More Swiss army knives than you could ever need, even if you were opening a can while picking your teeth, building a birdhouse, hacking an enemy submarine, rescuing Houdini and trimming your toenails. Well, some of them are a little excessive. Very cheap though. None of you put in an order for one, so we didn't buy any. Ben already has one, otherwise he'd have been very tempted. Lots of Swarovski crystal, which I don't have, and I was a bit tempted. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be much cheaper here. Oodles of watches and carriage clocks and postcards with lovely views of the Swiss Alps (I'm not bitter). And of course..... (drumroll please).....

Chocolate! Yep, every bakery is also a chocolate shop. Switzerland, the home of Lindt, and deliciousness, and sweet, sweet chocolate. Second to Belgium, anyway. We indulged a little.

We did also go places on our walk, not just shops. We walked up and along the old battlements as far as we could, along by the river and over a couple of very old wood bridges (c. 1300's) with paintings up with the roof beams. One had a tower that is the most photographed monument in Switzerland. No idea why. The pedestrianised centre was lovely, with lots of frescos and old buildings, the usual suspects of town halls and churches. And the dying lion monument, which was well done. All in German though, so we don't know much about it. Photos shall do my explaining for me.

Our total walk didn't end up taking all day, so we returned home before dinner and relaxed out of the rain. For dinner we ended up at the shopping centre down the street, in some absolutely fabulous place that did home-style cooking and you could just pile up a plate with whatever you wanted. Ben had the quintessential home meal (potato bake, beef strips in sauce, and vegetables) and his tastebuds all thought they'd died and gone to Heaven.

All afternoon and half the evening, car horns were blaring and making music outside the windows. We had no idea why, but there were far, far too many for road rage. Even if we were back in Paris instead of efficient, lovely Switzerland.

Amanda: Maybe there's been an accident or something?
Ben: Nah, something's happened. Somebody won.
Amanda: This can't be about sport!

So it turns out just because I ignore sport the rest of the world does not. The world cup has been on for ages - and without a TV most of the time, Ben has been reduced to conversations with hostel receptionists, random other people, the Internet, and poking his head into every pub we walk past to check the score. The massive explosion of car horns was because Serbia beat Germany, and the reserved and stately Swiss were not happy. I've never heard so many car horns for so many hours! True to considerate Swiss form though, they stopped well before sleep time.

Peace, love and Swiss chocolate,
Amanda and Ben
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Comments

nana on

A wonderful surprise getting your sms on my birthday, thank you for the thought & lovely to be remembered when you were so far away. Arrived driving home after dinner with friends. Mum & D arrived home this am from Phuket & we will visit tomorow for lunch, if they have woken by then! Be a while before I get back to blogs but catch up later. lots of luv.. N & G

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