The town of Lucerne is indeed a tourist’s delight. Just a few hours’ drive from Engelberg, this well-known spot is situated in central Switzerland, the German-speaking part of this beautiful country. We were to spend a little over half a day there before returning to Hotel Terrace in Engelberg.
Situated at the meeting point of Lake Lucerne or Lozarn (as the Germans say), and the River Reuss, this modern and vibrant city, has much more to offer than a visitor would imagine. A breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps on one hand and the calm waters of the Lake Lucerne on the other hand, make it a visual treat.
We were given an overview of the place, since there was no local guide on spot for the day, and then left to explore the place on our own. Our first stop was near the hot air balloon station. It was quite an experience, straining your necks to look at the balloons up in the air. The first thing that caught my interest was not how high the balloons had soared but actually how well they were anchored. I didn’t enjoy the idea of flying off! The massive tug rope, firmly attached to the base, put my mind at rest. Many may enjoy getting closer to the bright blue sky, if scientifically possible, but to me it was more important to return safely and in one piece on dear, Mother Earth.
It was the first balloon ride of my life and man, didn’t I enjoy every bit of it! A panoramic view of the city, the lake, the trees and the snow- clad mountain tops added to the thrill. We hovered for about fifteen odd minutes before landing. Well, back on the dry, hard ground, it was time to explore the city on our own. On my way to the world famous ‘Kappelbruk’ or Chapel Bridge of Lucerne, I happened to walk by a well-crafted, smooth, gilded statue. And wait…the statue suddenly moved. I nearly choked on my coffee. It took off its top hat and gave me a bow. Mind blowing muscle control of the ‘human statue’, I must compliment! Till this day, I remember his warm smile and his “Guten Tag”, (the German Good Day)!
The covered bridge or the ‘Kappelbrucke’, crossing the Reuss, is a must-see in Lucerne. This famous, wooden structure that runs by an octagonal water tower (Wasserturm), was once nearly destroyed by a fire. A walk on this bridge, enables a tourist to appreciate the intricate paintings which line up the inner side of the covered bridge. Being the oldest bridge of its kind in Europe and also the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge, Kappelbrucke is a symbol of pride to the residents of this city. As a tourist from another nation, I could almost feel the “medieval touch” in its structure, its paintings and most of all, in its feel!
The Aldstald or Old Town of Lucerne is in the north of the city’s centre and we did not have much time to explore that place. However, there was no question of leaving without seeing the famous Lion Monument or‘Lowendenkmal’− a rock-carved glorious monument situated in a small park. It commemorates the courage and loyalty of the Swiss Guards who sacrificed their lives attempting to protect the King of France during the French Revolution. The intricately carved rock-face displays a wide range of emotions and compels visitors looking at it to instinctively pay respect to those unknown valiant men.
With a heavy heart we left the place. But our spirit soared when lunch break was announced and we learnt that the next on the list was shopping at Schwanenplatz. This area is a shopper’s delight and one tends to look for luxury items, watches being on the top of the list. For that we entered the well-known Gubelin Experience. Once inside, I spent quite some time leafing through catalogues and strolling inside the spotless, glass panelled showroom, when suddenly something wonderful caught my eye. There were several beautiful pillar-shaped showcases which rose from the floor and went up straight to the ceiling, with small platforms in between. In one of the ‘pillars’ by one corner of the showroom, something was there….big, shiny, classy and elegant. It immediately captured my heart and still remains one of my most cherished collectibles ever. A nice, black and metal Calvin Klein watch! I rushed back to the counter to inform the staff of my choice. Sensing my urgency, the salesperson, an Austrian lady by the name of Maria, rushed with me, took the watch off the shelf and declared, “You are really lucky. This is the last such piece in the store before the new stocks come in next week!” Man, wasn’t I the luckiest fellow around!! That was not all. We also received several free gifts, such as miniature Swiss army knives, key chains and other mementos. The day could not have ended on a better note. But then again, it was not yet over.
The next surprise was a cruise on the serene Lake Lucerne. Later I realised that this was placed at this point in the itinerary to end the day on a quite note. The 45-minute–long cruise was indeed a soothing one for all we could do was to relax on the deck in a comfortable chair, breathe in the fresh air and take as many snaps as we could of the blue sky, white mountain peaks and the bluish-grey waters of the lake. Nature is at its best here. So, a natural spa for the mind and the soul!
In direct contrast to the silence on the lake, was the rock concert that was about to begin in the vicinity of the bus station, from where we had to board our coach for returning to Engelberg. Being a guitarist myself and a die-hard rock music fan, my first instinct was to rush to the venue to see what was going on. But Old Father Time wasn’t that kind, so sadly had to give it a miss. Maybe next time, who knows?
As our coach sped towards Hotel Terrace, I closed my eyes and reconnected the dots − bus ride through a picturesque city, a thrilling balloon ride, a few, small brushes with history, a really, really good bargain and a peaceful cruise to end it all up. What more should one expect in just one day!
Photo Credits: Banner Left: trip.com; Banner Center: delishably.com; Banner Right: handluggageonly.co.uk
The town of Lucerne is indeed a tourist’s delight. Just a few hours’ drive from Engelberg, this well-known spot is situated in central Switzerland, the German-speaking part of this beautiful country. We were to spend a little over half a day there before returning to Hotel Terrace in Engelberg.Read More
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