Thursday, November 6, 2008

Going back to Lucerne...

"Going back" because it happened over a month ago, and also because I had been there before...

Around the time of my distant-but-most-recent post I went to meet the spouses for coffee at Manora, the cafeteria in one of the department stores on Bahnhofstrasse. That was when I made a friend from the States, who blew me away by coming out on this cold day with her 11 day old baby! We were chatting and figured out that we were in the same neighborhood and decided to try to have dinner sometime. The very next morning she emailed me saying they had a babysitter (for their older two kids) lined up and could we go out that night! So that was how we ended up going out on a Friday night for some surprisingly good Italian food just a block and a half down from our apartment. Turns out her husband and CF had sort of known each other back in California before they moved to Switzerland. We had a nice time talking to them about their time living in Zürich and their advice to us was travel, travel, travel. "On the weekend you'll think it's time to sit back and relax, no! Get your butt to the train station early, Friday if possible and GO!" We shared some stories of our trip to Fribourg and Gruyeres and assured him that we had lots of trips planned. They were impressed with what we had planned! We were all booked to go to Oktoberfest in Munich, so the subject turned to beer. And that led to me going out with the two guys (mom had to go home when the babysitter was due to leave) to two interesting pubs. CF's pick was a place that makes their own beer. It was up the hill from us, closer to the University, and while the beer didn't blow me away it was at least more interesting than the Swiss brews I'd sampled before this. Then MM took us back down the hill to the Bonny Prince Pub. It's a long, skinny, smoky place boasting a jukebox full of heavy metal tunes and more Scottish beers than you've ever heard of. We were here to try Old Engine Oil. Dark and licoricey, I think it surprised MM that I liked it so much. Eventually we all stumbled back up our hill, and as I went to sleep I wondered what this late night would do to our weekend plans... wait, what were our plans again?

Oh, that's right... I wanted to take CF to Lucerne. You might recall I took a day trip here last fall but I thought CF should see it. When I visited alone it was a cold, misty and downright moody day. I thought it suited the setting, especially for viewing the Lion Monument, Löwendenkmal, which was the most moving part of my day. This time the sun was shining, the sky was blue, there was a wedding getting out of the church, the market looked splendid (okay fine, they were packing up around the time we got there, the late night led to a later train than planned)... and about a million other people had also decided it was a good day to visit Lucerne! Ugh. The streets were packed so wandering through the Medieval old town didn't have the same appeal. So we wandered over to the old city wall. You know, the one I climbed last year and was then scared out of my mind while trying to climb down? Well somehow I found myself up that stupid wall again, AND climbed that tower I avoided last time. Yes, the view was very nice, but I was practically shaking by the time I had slowly descended back down all those stupid stairs!

We had a nice lunch at a great place called Wirtshaus Taube. The main dish I ordered actually reminded me a lot of my lunch in the same city a year earlier. I remember being pleased with the appearance of vegetables at the time but then when we decided to come here for the year I remember thinking that if that tiny serving of starchy veggies was worth getting happy over that I was in for disaster. It certainly has been easier to eat healthy in this country while mainly shopping and cooking for myself. After lunch we took a nice stroll by the Lake; we saw plenty of boats out on the water, men playing bocce ball, locals encountering friends out enjoying a lovely Saturday. Lucerne is quite the living, breathing city, and I could barely tell last year. This visit was very different than the last! Eventually I made CF go up to the Lion Monument with me. The pond in front of it was drained for some repair work, gobs of people (most of them one large tour group) swarmed around the park... and I had already blown it and told him how this work of art had moved me to tears before so there were expectations in place. It just wasn't the same! (However, armed with my new telephoto lens I got some better shots of the haunting lion.)

I was mildly frustrated with the decision to come to Lucerne. It's close to Zürich so it will make a good day trip when we have visitors, but I myself would like to leave it misty and moody in my memories from last year. At the same time this is when I told myself that a lot of stuff is going to happen this year, and it can't all be perfect. I decided to be a little more mindful of planning weekends in the future but that this one was all right for now.

We wandered a bit longer, crossed the lovely wooden bridges and even did a little watch pricing for a friend. Eventually we called it a day and decided to catch a train home. We had to scramble a bit to find seats, and accidentally ended up in seats that were reserved for riders boarding in Bern. We rode a little ways not quite sure of what to do. Across the aisle from us two Spanish speaking girls were counting to ten in English for their father, over, and over, and over again. I think this was karma seeing how CF loves to count in languages he's learning and I'm sure he's inflicted native speakers with this annoyance at one point or another. Passengers started to prepare to exit as we approached Bern. We quickly swiped some forward-facing, un-reserved seats and the rest of the trip home was rather uneventful.

At this point I can't seem to remember what we did the next day. It was Sunday so everything around the city would have been pretty much closed. Hmmm. Well, anyway, I hope we rested up while we could, it was the last weekend day we would spend in Zürich for quite some time!

1 comment:

Leanne said...

Well, just hearing about your initial reaction to the lion monument and then looking at your picture made me well up here, so I think it was moving!