Friday, August 9, 2013

Lucerne - Last Switzerland Post, I promise.

So I've been holding off on that whole announcement thing for a while. Yesterday felt like the right time and I'm glad its posted and out there. But I still have one more day of Switzerland to blog about. I considered skipping it but it was too awesome not to share.

After trolling all around Lake Lucerne and its surrounding mountain peaks for several days we spent our last day in the city of Lucerne before heading to Zurich to fly back to Adana.

Just a tiny aside here - one evening we rented kayaks and paddled around a portion of the lake. I really enjoyed it, we saw the schamncy vacay homes and the tiny beaches people climbed down to from the hills above. The water is a gorgeous turquoise color and the shoreline has so little development on it due to the height of the banks. We also saw a couple of naked people. Old people. Out on their boats just enjoying the sun shining where it normally doesn't. Now ask yourself, if you are a retiree who enjoys going au naturalle while on your boat and you see some kayakers approaching what do you do? Do you stay seated, maybe casually throwing a towel across your bits and wave? Or do you stand up, turn around and bend over to retrieve something that really could've stayed on the floor for a few more minutes? Yep. You just can't unsee that.  And not to press the point, but if you are another retiree of a similar mind-set and you are enjoying an evening swim off your boat without the encumbrance of swimwear and you see kayakers approaching, what is your best option? Do you stay in the water until they pass? It's not like we were kicking up dangerous wake waves. Or do you climb out of the water, stand on the platform in all your shriveled glory and then pull on your speedo? It boggles the mind.

Anywhooo. . . . Lucerne. A pretty awesome city.
 We stashed our big backpacks at the train station luggage check so we could walk around unencumbered. (But with clothes on. Definitely with clothes on.)
This bridge is called KapellBrucke or chapel bridge. The lake pours out into a river here at Lucerne and the bridge crosses this river and leads to, you guess it, a church. It is the most photographed site in all of Switzerland and was built in the 14th Century. (I know some of you are thinking that I'm crazy, rivers pour into lakes, not the other way around. But I'm not. Well. . . anyway, the lake really does drain out through this river. It's a gravity thing.)
I'm sure it's lovely any time of year but the spring flowers made it so picturesque.  Inside the bridge's roof are triangular paintings depicting "important events from Swiss history and mythology." They were semi-interesting but not nearly as cool as the paintings in this smaller bridge down the river a ways.

This one is called the Spreuerbrucke. Built in 1408 (33 years before Chris Columbus made his mortal debut) its paintings are called Dance of Death and depict how the plague affected all levels of medieval society.  The plague is represented by a skeleton in all the paintings. They were creepy and amazing.

After the bridges we walked on the intact city wall for a bit and just wandered the city. At the cross roads of two streets we came across this little shack. Can you see the date on that big dark stone? 1689.

 And it was somebody's house. No kidding. There was a sliding glass door in one side with hanging blinds and a tiny entrance on the back end complete with a pair of wellies sitting by the door. But there are dorm rooms bigger than this. It's like an ancient chicken coop and some guy lives there.
Europeans are the best recyclers I know.
Our last stop was the Lion Monument. This 10 meter long sculpture was carved into a rock wall in 1820 to commemorate the Swiss soldiers who were killed defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution.
The lion has a spear tip in its side and is dying. It's hauntingly beautiful. Mark Twain called it the "saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world." Yeah.

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