More than two days in a row skiing is too much for me, so I decided to go to Lucerne for a couple days. This was the one place that I seemed to have been recommended the most when talking about my trip, despite having never heard of it before. I got up and caught an early train to Lucerne, and when I got there I was starving, so went in to the nearest shop that looked inexpensive, and a pizza was consumed.
Running through the middle of Lucerne is a river, of which I never caught the name, being the outlet for Lake Lucerne, or in their native tongue, “The Lake of the Four Wooded Kantons”. Over the river is the “Chapel Bridge”, a wooden bridge with a bunch of very old paintings done inside. Everywhere I go in Lucerne I’m greeted with views of the idyllic old buildings and old city.
I pretty quickly hop on a bus and head to Mt Pilatus, one of the “top things to do” in Lucerne. Unfortunately at this time of year the ferry is not running, so I had to take a bus both there and back, otherwise there’s a more scenic loop involving a ferry. The next day learned that the name of the mountain came from when the Romans were here, and it was from the word “hat”, because the mountain always has a hat of clouds seated on it – well, except not today, it was beautifully clear today. Apparently, the locals forgot the original source of the name of the mountain, and changed the story to be that it was named after Pontius Pilate (Pilatus in their language), and that his ghost roamed around in the clouds up on the mountain. Luckily, as I said, it was a clear day, so no clouds, and therefore no ghost. There’s also a dragon theme going on, as the mountain is also called the “Mountain of Dragons”, due to some snake-like crevices or something. That name is much cooler than “hat.” I rode a half hour gondola most of the way up, with beautiful views along the way.
In the rest of Lucerne, I was usually surrounded by the sounds of German (locals) and Chinese (tourists), but on the Mountain of Dragons, it was almost all English. There were some tourist couples and a group of 25 high schoolers from a charter school in Massachusetts. We boarded a final large gondola (the kind that has only two opposing cars going opposite directions), and I chatted with one of their teachers for a while and he solidified my inkling to do a hiking/walking pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago in Spain if I get near there. Views from the top were breathtaking, pictures were numerous, and hopefully I’ve trimmed this down to just the most interesting.
Tired from all of the stairs, I found a nice recliner to rest on up there. There was a large deck in front of the hotel which has been built on top of this mountain which is accessible only by gondola or cable car (apparently the steepest cable car ever built or something).
Up here, with gorgeous views, I’m struck with the fact I’m in Switzerland! So few people I know have been here, none are here now, I feel so unique… except for the 8 million other people in the country. Though being here is an interesting experience to me, it is really not significant overall. I start thinking about what is significant in the longer term, and realize, though recording my trip is good for my memories and to pretend to keep in contact with people, it’s really not important in the long run, no significant number of people will ever read it, and probably no one at all after a week or two. From where I am now, the thing that I can do that will impact the most people is the things I create; I should probably get some work done someday soon!
After coming down from the Mountain of Dragons, I prepared to spend the night in jail. And by that, I mean I checked into my hotel, the Jailhotel, which is a remodeled jail. It turns out I get miserable reception in jail, and jails have poor Wifi, so any internetting I want to do must be done somewhere other than my hotel room. Just as well, as the cell was minimal, not even a chair, and only one outlet nowhere near the bed, should I want to sit on that.
I wander around the “old town” area of Lucerne. Upon first entering it, I walk past 11 adjacent jewelry/watch stores. ELEVEN! And then there’s more after some cafes. I guess that’s what people come to Switzerland for. There is a lot of music in the streets, including a cellist and violinist playing… A Whole New World, a soprano singing some Handel, a small brass band, and some guy paying a giant horn thing that could play more notes than I expected.
I soon notice, in the distance, there is a wall! I wonder whether I am inside of the wall or outside of it (spoilers: inside), and I, of course, make my way over to check it out.
From the signs, this must be Museggmauer wall. I am able to climb up it, and into a number of the towers, including a clock tower with a giant, presumably antique, clock, still operating. However it was large enough and protected behind glass well enough to not make for a good picture. In general, great views are had from the wall, which, as far as I can tell, is now just there to prevent the students in the school on the other side of the wall from terrorizing the tourists on this side… or something like that.
Finally, I wander around the old town a bit more, grabbing a couple small things for dinner, though not until after seeing a man, wearing a suit, and carrying a halberd, walk in front of me. None of my pictures captured the moment particularly well, sadly.
Sadly, I find no Mtn Dew in any place I look, Switzerland apparently is not a fan.