Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A little cooler today in Lucerne, and yet still woke up to another beautiful view of the lake. (I could get used to waking up to this view every morning.) I’ve taken so many pictures, and I’ll have them to remember my stay here.

Picture from this evening

Still need to print out my tickets for tomorrow. Otherwise, I’m ready for an early start and look forward to meeting up with Tom and Dana tomorrow in Cinque Terra (Monterosso). Though, after checking the amenities at the Airbnb where I’ll be staying, there is no iron available. No, I will not wear an unironed shirt. I’ll figure something out.

Caught the bus into town and got off as we entered the old part of the city. I was interested in visiting the Church of St. Leodegar that dominates the skyline on the east side of the Reuss River. It was built between 1633 – 1639. It took a picture of the old town from the steps of the church.

Walking through the old town of Lucerne I saw there was a memorial featuring a lion and checked it out. Thought it was going to be a cute lion statue but had no idea of its significance. It is actually a rock relief and commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution. Mark Twain praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as “the most mournful and moving pieces of stone in the world.” And it is. It was inspired by the massacre of more than 600 men who defended the Tuileries as the King Louis XVI escaped unsuccessfully to Montmedy.

Just down the next street I saw a McDonald’s. Rather than have two cheeseburgers, I ordered just one – in German. And this time the clerk who took my order responded back in German. Usually their response is in English because of my American accent. Could it be that my German is getting better?

I sat down on a bench behind a nearby church to eat my burger. While I was enjoying my lunch, a man, about my age, asked if he could sit down. I nodded rather than talk with a mouthful of burger. He started to speak German and I said that my German wasn’t good enough for a conversation, so he switched to English. He said he was having problems switching languages because of his hearing and pointed out that he was somewhat disabled due to an accident to his head. He was very hospitable and we had a nice conversation about languages, travel, and enjoying life. He said he needed to catch a train to visit his father and thanked me for our conversation together. He said talking with me was a joy. What a nice complement!

From there I wanted to see Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge) – a covered wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss. The bridge contains a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century – though many of them were destroyed during a fire in 1993. It is the oldest covered bridge in Europe as well as the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge.

At the western end of the bridge is the Jesuit Church. I went in a took some pictures but forgot about taking one from the outside, but I did after all get a picture from the Kapellbrucke.

By this time I was done with my walk through the old town of Lucerne. The train station was nearby and walked over to see if SBB would print out my tickets for tomorrow. They referred me to an office upstairs in the station who would gladly print out my tickets for 5 Swiss Francs (equivalent of $5.00). Guess I will ask the hotel to print out the tickets. Before I left the station I picked up a sandwich at the Coop store. The bus back to the hotel showed up just as I got to the stop and was in the hotel 20 minutes later.

When I returned to my room I decided to write a Facebook post about the fire in the Gorge. It has been on my mind for the last few days. I saw some posts from a page devoted to people from Hood River (Hood River County United!) and was inspired to contribute the following:

“I remember the fairly recent fires near Multnomah Falls and Cascade Locks and how I felt then. Those fires, while painful, do not compare to this devastating and widespread fire. The memories of driving to Portland and hiking in the gorge are on my mind as I watch the news reports. Like many of you, we are all devastated, and grieving too. While I know that, like the Tillamook Burns (there were several of them), the forests will eventually recover. The loss of animal life will not. Comforting to know we can grieve and pray together. Please continue to post your thoughts and memories – it helps.”

Tomorrow I travel to Milan, then to Geona, and (hopefully) end up in Cinque Terra. Again, a number of stops along the way, and will watch where I get off this time.

One final picture from the room…


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