Lucerne seemed more like a large, gray city than a quaint, pretty town like the brochures hyped it to be. It was probably the drenching, dismal drizzle that colored our perspective.
Lucerne is a busy city center with tourists tucked around lots of street activity.
We waited our turn to take photos of each other in front of the lake. Here are Tracy and Rachel in Lucerne, Switzerland
Where do I start? More important, where do I stop? The chocolate in Switzerland is perfect: Rich, creamy, delicately flavored. One shop after another displays pretty little confections worthy of gifting but begging to be tasted. So we tasted. My favorite is a dark chocolate filled with a raspberry filling.
Kapellbrucke Lucerne, Switzerland
We agreed to skip the boat ride into the harbor and settled for a stroll through the extraordinary covered bridge with 17th century paintings still intact even though exposed to the elements for nearly 500 years. Part of the bridge burned in a 1993 fire but it was quickly restored and is extraordinary.
The oldest truss bridge in the world, the Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge) is a covered wooden foot bridge built in 1333 as part of the city’s fortifications. It’s 560 feet long and crosses the Reuss River at an angle in the center of Lucerne.
The Kapellbrucke is named for St. Peter’s chapel which is located near one end of the bridge. In the 1600’s, artists added 110 paintings to the inside support beams of the bridge. Lucerne’s city councilmen paid for the paintings that illustrate scenes of Swiss and local history, including the biographies of the city’s patron saints, St. Leodegar and St. Maurice. The councilmen got to include their coats of arms in the paintings they sponsored. Blogger Michele writes, “The depictions of St. Leodegar and Swiss history were meant to call the citizens of Lucerne to recall that a pious way of life and service would lead to happiness as well as a strong city.”
After visiting the Kapellbrucke, I found interesting information about the fire: “85 of the 110 pictures under the roof, dating back to 1611, were destroyed by the 1993 fire, only 25 could be saved or restored. The others have been replaced by pictures from the second part of the bridge that had been safely stored since 1834. A few burnt panels are still shown to remind of the fire. During the carnival season, the ancient pictures are replaced by modern ones showing carnival motives. This provides a platform for the creativity of today’s population and besides the original pictures can be saved from thoughtless ‘attacks’ with all sorts of fun materials like paint and glibber bombs used during carnival these days. So if you’re interested in the old paintings don’t choose the carnival season for your visit to Lucerne” (http://lucerne.all-about-switzerland.info/lucerne-chapelbridge-watertower.html).
Lucerne is all about the river and the lake. These geographic features first brough people to Lucerne. These are the same waters we saw upriver in Interlaken.
We saw many painted buildings in Switzerland. They are beautiful but require constant maintenance. I kept bumping into people because I was so busy looking up to the stories above the street.
Shopping in Lucerne
Good-bye, but not forever! The main reason we stopped in Basel– in addition of the bonus of sharing days with Stephan and his family – is that we launch from Basel on our week-long Viking river boat cruise. Much more of that in the next blog entry as we bid good-bye to Rachel and Tracy.