Lucerne is everything I expected Switzerland to be, and a few unexpected things as well. The beauty was pristine! With the River Reuss (flowing from Lake Lucerne), a late-summer-blue sky, neat European cobblestone streets, and oh, lots of tasteful shopping!
According to a local historical handout, Lucerne was founded in the 12th century, and their first priest was installed at St. Peters Chapel in 1178. The dominant features in Lucerne (besides the ring of beautiful mountains all around) are the lake, the water tower, and the “Chapel” bridge. The water tower was built in 1300 and is said to be the most photographed landmark in Switzerland! I did take plenty of photos from every angle, and I wasn’t alone in doing so!
The Chapel Bridge is the oldest as well as the second longest roofed timber bridge in Europe. It was built in 1365 and still has many of the original paintings inside, which picture important scenes from Swiss history. Even though part of the original bridge was destroyed by fire in 1993, it was quickly restored and is enjoyed my many visitors to the city each year! Have you noticed the swans in the photos? Seeing them glide along the water reminds me of fairy tales from children’s story books!
While visiting Lucerne, I highly recommend taking the time to see the very modern Kunstmuseum Luzern. This summer they featured an exhibit focusing on Lucerne-born contemporary artist Sonja Sekula.
Although I was not familiar with this female artist, I was intrigued that while she was born in Lucerne, she made her way to the U.S. and ultimately became a part of the same movement in New York City as Jackson Pollock. Her abstract impressionism moved into surrealism as she spent time with other influential artists of her day. Stay tuned for an article about her exhibit and the Kunstmuseum itself!
It seems as though this might truly be the last warm weekend of the summer season here in Lucerne, everybody is out!
I see lots of people walking, biking, strolling hand-in-hand, or families walking with young children and babies in strollers. Today, Sunday, has also included many tour buses full of tourists! Too bad only the souvenir shops and restaurants are open – no further shopping or museums until tomorrow! However, the Laderach chocolate shop was still open to accommodate the Sunday crowds : )
By the way, Hotel Continental Park is a modern and adequate boutique hotel in a great location, and the associated Bellini restaurant is wonderful! Your choice to dine outside next to a park or inside, I ordered Lasagna out of season with Béchamel and Bolognese meat-sauce(!) paired with fresh bread. Made in-house daily, the fresh, locally-sourced food (all Swiss and some Italian), it was a much appreciated perk!
As I lunched, I saw a mother walk by in sandals and a strapless sundress. Her little, curly-haired boy was walking barefoot alongside, in kaki shorts and a button-down, light blue dress shirt (untucked!) – charming- like a Tommy Hilfiger print ad!
Lucerne’s locale is somewhat remote, although it’s just about an hour drive or 30-euro train-ride from Zurich, where there is an international airport, but that helps give the atmosphere an “away from the cares of the greater world” feeling.
Modern, with a clear respect for the past, the city is tidy, clean, and cared for. Its citizens seem to be living in the success of past decisions that have had lucrative and refined results for their country and this beautiful city that is ringed by blue mountains! Danke, Lucerne, for your warm, welcoming hospitality!