Sunday, 1 September 2013

To bee or not to bee in Lucerne

The receptionist in our hotel last night recommended 'The Old Swiss House', a Lucerne icon.  So, we walked over there.  We nearly died when we saw the prices and I wondered how the receptionist could recommend such an expensive restaurant.  My Wienerschnitzel alone, which was cooked at the table in front of us, came to 56 Swiss francs.  Probably about $75 AUD.  It was one of the best meals I've had in my life, and a quick look at other restaurant menus on our way home revealed that high prices are typical here.

From the time we left Australia, I looked forward to reaching Lucerne, and climbing Mt Pilatus, which I did way back in 1982.  I remember the scenery being absolutely breath taking.  Sadly, the weather was not good today, and the mountain's peak was covered in cloud.  A live web cam from atop Pilatus revealed nil visibility.  And we leave tomorrow.

Instead, we strolled around this beautiful city, saw the famous Kapellebrücke, which sits at one end of Lake Lucerne and the beginning of the Reuss river, and many other sights.  Near the river, we stopped at a cafe and sat outside.  For the entire 10 minutes we were there, we were surrounded by bees and very uncomfortable.  We hurried with our coffee and moved on.

We strolled through the old part of the city, seeing various buildings including one where Goethe once stayed.  We ended up at the Lion Monument, a famous Lucerne tourist attraction dedicated to the Swiss Guards who died trying to save Marie Antoinette in the French Revolution.  It is a lion carved out of solid rock.

We meandered along the northern edge of the Lake, admiring the swans, ducks, the old buildings, the boats, the distant peaks, and the fog-covered Mt Pilatus.  Suddenly, something tickled my neck.  I brushed it off, and then my left thumb hurt.  I'd been stung by a bee!  I couldn't believe it.  I've never been stung by a bee in my life!  All efforts to remove the sting failed.  I must say, I'd always thought bee stings hurt more than this one did.  So, on this trip, I've been kicked by a donkey, crashed to the ground because of a donkey, and I've been stung by a bee.  What next?

We kept walking to Lido, a spot on the Lake.  We got lunch there.  Sitting at the lunch table, more bees came buzzing around.  By now, I was paranoid and not happy.  Soon, we caught a boat across the Lake to the Hauptbahnhof (main train station).  In the supermarket, we bought some items including Swiss chocolate.  And one incredible bargain for pricey Switzerland was six Snicker bars for 2.10 FR.

The Old Swiss House cooks between 1,000 and 1,200 Wienerschnitzels every month.
The Lion Monument
The Lion is carved out of solid rock.  Dedicated in 1821.
Die Kapellebrücke
A Swiss patriot
The Stiftskirche Leodegar (church).  It has a huge organ with over 4,000 pipes.
Lake Lucerne with Pilatus behind
The fog cleared a little on Pilatus.
Jean and the Kapellebrücke 

The Kapellebrücke originally had more than 100 of these centuries-old triangular-shaped paintings hanging under its roof.  In 1993, about 80 were destroyed by fire.

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