CF needs to take the laptop with him to work today and we're going to a coworker's house tonight for dinner, so you won't be hearing much from me today. I have two more days to fill here before we move on, and I'm running out of ideas. I will probably go to a museum or two, and it would be nice to see some of the lake if I can find a boat tour. And I still need to sit down somewhere and have a hot chocolate. The food is starting to drive me crazy, it's all so expensive (but a bit better when you remember the Swiss Frank is less than a dollar, plus service is included in the price) and that makes it hard to consider it worth it because not too much has really blown me away. It's mostly meat and bread... and sweets. Can't complain about the sweets really though!
Yesterday I decided to go to Lucerne (aka Luzern). Several friends had recommended it. I took the tram to the main train station. CF told me to take the 6 (Ooo, like JLo!) from Bellevue. Well, it turns out that a bunch of the 6 line trams are actually 5's, and he totally knew this because this is how he gets to work every day. Stinker. So we get to one large station and a bunch of people start to get on, an announcement is made in German and most, if not all, of them frown and don't get on. Oh crap. The doors close before I can do anything. I ride to the next stop and then walk back to that large station and wait for a real 6 tram. I finally arrived at the train station, and knew that I wouldn't be making the 10:05 train to Lucerne. The tram ride had taken about as long as my train ride would be. Oh well. I waited in line for my ticket, went downstairs to use a McClean WC (2chf to use the bathroom) and didn't end up waiting too long to get on my train plus I had my pick of seats.
Three Americans with some free time on a business trip got on the train and sat just far enough away that it wasn't easy for me to talk to them. I admit I listened to them for most of the 45 minute train ride. The countryside is beautiful and the train was exactly on schedule. It made me think of riding the train in Italy, and so did the Americans a few rows over, they were discussing their travels to Italy. When we got to our destination I tried to help them out because they were wondering what time the train goes back to Zurich. "I wrote down 10 after every hour, plus it looks like our train is just going back, so also 35 after." They looked very surprised that I was with them the whole time and was American. We were all operating off the same guidebook (I had pulled the relevant pages out of the book and brought only those with me) so I figured I'd see them around, but actually as small as Lucerne is, I didn't end up running into them again.
I think I was expecting more of a town, what I got was another city, a beautiful, very picturesque city. So I got over my expectations quickly. I went completely ADD wandering. Through old town, I paid 2chf for a decent enough apple strudel and that might have been the food purchase I have been most pleased with (outside of Sprüngli). I wandered around, wiping the flakes of pastry from my wool coat. The temperature was supposed to be warmer here in the valley but the wind was also stronger. I went up to the Old Town Wall and climbed a ridiculous flight of stairs, I couldn't convince myself to go up further in the tower, but the view from the wall ledge was lovely. It was a little scarier than I had expected looking up from the ground, but not as scary as getting back down those stairs! They were even worse on the way down. Thank goodness for my strong leg muscles!
I went up (away from the water) to the Lion Monument, Löwendenkmal, which commemorates Swiss Guard who died in Paris defending Louis XVI in 1792. Walking up the path to it, the instant I caught sight of it I felt an emotional reaction. Something about the scale, or the spirit, or something... I took out the guidebook pages and read that Mark Twain had called it "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world." And I really have to agree.
I went for a walk along the lake, it was a really nice, tree lined path. Lots of people were out for a walk. I was joined by many tourists wherever I went, but very few were English speaking. There's just not that many US or UK travelers here!
My appetite has been really weak, from the jet lag or disappointment in or the price of food, I don't know. But at least I miss lunch rushes this way. I eventually went to lunch round 2. I went to an old guild hall, right on the water. They gave me a cute little two person booth right in the window. I got a puff pastry pie filled with creamy gravy, little meatballs as well as chunks of meat, and mushrooms. There were even some steamed veggies on the side! Pretty darn good meal. While I was eating, a woman tried to speak to me, I asked her if she spoke English and she frowned and said, "No." and looked away disgusted. I don't know if she didn't know English or if she just didn't want to speak it to me. My first true language barrier.
I did some wandering across the old wooden bridges, Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden bridge in Europe in fact. It was really cool to walk along as it zigzags across the water. I took one last round of photos. And even though I had arrived in Lucerne a little later than planned, I decided to head home at 4:10.
We had dinner in Zurich at an Italian restaurant. It was the easiest menu of the trip so far. Funny how I can get by in Italian so much easier than German. Yes, I know I studied Spanish, and a little Italian. But I think it's still easier. There was spinach on my pizza, I miss vegetables! We tried their carbonara. Not bad, very little cream used to make the sauce. I figure they have to have some good Italian food here, we're sharing a border with them! I had a glass of prosecco with the meal and we basically went home and went to sleep. My first night of eight hours. Ahhh.
Okay, I have to hand off the laptop... made this post just in time!