We observed the 17th century panels above on the inside of the bridge, which, like many buildings and monuments in Luzern, had been destroyed by fire and then had replicas put in their place. Before heading out to explore the rest of the city however, we made our way back to our hotel where our room was now ready for us. We were led to our room and proceeded to be amazed.
The room pretty big, with a bathroom that had both a bath tub and separate shower as well as a scale, there was a flat screen TV, and best of all, our own private enclosed heated balcony that actually overlooked Lake Luzern! We could even see Mt. Pilatus off to our right! It was such a dramatic and beautiful view, and for the next two mornings, I felt so lucky to wake up be met with such a grand view of the Swiss Alps!
Being exhausted, I advised that we shouldn't lie down on the beds so that we could avoid the almost inevitable consequence of falling asleep. So after about half an hour we headed out again. We walked left out o the hotel towards the Hofkirche, which we didn't venture into, and continued on towards the Bourbaki Panorama.
Normally this wouldn't be on my list of 'must-sees,' but with our rail passes the entry was free, so we decided to have a look. I had never seen anything like it, and it was actually pretty cool! At first we were looking around a museum like area that wasn't too interesting, but quickly realized we were in the wrong area. We climbed up some more stairs and were met with the view of the panorma. It was a giant 360 degree mural of the retreat of the French EAstern Army under General Bourbaki into Switzerland during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-1871...which I had never learned about...but even if you've never heard of it, it is still an impressive sight. It was a snowy, wintery scence incuding the mural, mannequins, and other props. The most amazing thing was that the whole painting looked 3D, as if you were actually looking out into the mountains, snow, lines of soldier, and railway. The realism made it evocative and filled with emotion due to the images of injured men and animals and retreating troops. This stop over on our explorations was a pleasant surprise.
A block further from the panorama was the Lowendenkmal, the famous Lion Monument. This was one of the first places we had seen that there were actually other tourists crowded around. The monument was even bigger than we expected and was just as sad looking as I had read. There was a bit of construction going on on it so we couldn't read the inscription. It was written in Latin, but here was a chance I could have put my degree to use!
Oh well. So, this monument was built to honor the Swiss Mercenaries who were ordered by Louis the XVI in 1792 to lay down their weapons at a seige in Paris by French Revolutionaries, and were killed. This was so incredibly said, but definately impressive.
Literally no more than 20 feet from the monument was the entrance to the Gletscher Garten which we also decided to investigate because, again, it was free with our Swiss Passes. We received a very useful pamphlet at the entrance that explained all the sights that were indicated by numbers. It made you appreciate the science more and made it easy to understand. The main attractions were these 'pot holes' in the bedrock that had been carved out by melting water under the glaciers mixed with sand. The holes were carved out sort of like sand blasting.
Some other features we saw were glacial striations, palm and shell fossils, and many kinds of rocks. Above the main viewing area, we followed a little path to a wooden tower that overlooked the city. It was a nice view, not spectacular, but we got some exercise for the day!
There was also a museum that we went into for a few minutes where I got to touch ice at -20 degrees C and 0 degreees C, and the -20 one actually hurt my fingers! One enlightening display was of some pictures of the shrinking glaciers, which of course was eye opening- they are definately much smaller, and it seems a shame to lose something so beautful and awe inspiring. I really enjoyed this small attraction, thank you geology class!
Moving on, we headed back past our hotel and into the old town. The first thing I noticed was the architecture and how the buildings were painted with human figures, flowers, and patterns.
It was interesting to see and compare to the architecture in Italy, Greece, and Spain which was vastly different. This applied to the style of fountains found in the many 'platzes' or squares of the town. Most fountain I have seen are plain gray stone or marble, but these were painted in a wide palette of colors with smaller figurines on them.
After walking some of the old town, we crossed over the Spreuerbrucke, another old wooden bridge that had painted panels depicting the plague. There were skeletons in all the paintings represtentng death taking people from all walks of life and at the end was Jesus risen-conquering death. It was somber bridge to cross...
It was here that I stopped to take some 'Peep' pictures of the Kapellbrucke. There was a photography contest for National Geographic where you had to take pictures of the marshmallow peeps in unique places, and I decided to take one here, probably making a spectacle of myself and drawing some strange looks from passersby :)
Finally, we stopped inside the Jesuitenkirche which had a beautful Baroque interior. And so ended our walking tour of Luzern. Next on our list was a boat ride on the lake...
After experiencing Pilatus, we arrived back at the train station and proceeded across the Kapellbrucke, an icon of Luzern.