Here is our first view of Europe as we descended through the clouds into Zurich. While we were only there for an hour and saw very little other than the airport/train station, the Zurich area looks beautiful from above.
We are here and can hardly believe it! First things first, we are greeted by our Bucher Travel representative to hand us our documents/tickets/vouchers, and to give us some tips on the way to the train station. She was extremely helpful and made us feel pretty comfortable in a place with different languages, currencies, and customs which were all new to us. Onward to Lucerne!!
We went ahead and checked our luggage at the Hotel Waldstatterhof which is conveniently located right next to the train station and close to the center of town. We were starving, so the first goal was to find the most reasonable place to grab a sandwich. The cafe was nothing to write home about, but we had an awesome window seat and had the most fun just people watching. Once finished, it was time to meet our walking tour guide to discover Lucerne.
You will see a trend through most of our Switzerland portion, and that will be towns on beautiful lakes. Lucerne is the first, and it is well known for the ornate pedestrian bridges crossing the water. The most famous is the Chapel Bridge, or Kapellbrück. The tour took us through some street markets, the Jesuit Church of St. Francis Xavier (Jesuitenkirche), and some of the plazas in the old town center.
Once we concluded our walking tour, we made our way over to the Verkehrshaus (Swiss Transportation Museum) via bus. Mere was starting to drag by this point, but she hung in there like a champ as I ran around like a little child. I might have spent 30 minutes just staring at their miniature train display. The thing was awesome and reminded me of my model building days as a child and my years in architecture school. WHY DIDN’T I EVER INCLUDE A TRAIN RUNNING THROUGH ONE OF MY PROJECTS!! If I had to plan this all over again, I would have found a way to rest before seeing this museum. There was just so much to see, but we still had to find dinner before finally getting get some much needed sleep. My highlights were all of the life size planes suspended from the ceiling, and the train car exhibit which sadly I did not get any pictures of. Another highlight was the boat ride back to Lucerne, which was beautiful. I met an elderly Englishman and we had a nice little chat while waiting for his boat to arrive. The Swiss transportation system is just magical compared to back home.
I should title this paragraph, The Death March. While there was hardly any marching involved, this is when we encountered one of the dreaded extremely drawn out dining experiences that my parents warned us about. This might not have bothered us on any other night of the trip, but we were freaking ready to get back to the hotel and sleep. For that reason I am still not entirely sure why we chose a fondue dinner for our first night, but we ended up at the Spycher Fondue House. The restaurant was definitely cute and cozy, and we had a cave like room all to ourselves for most of what seemed like an 8 hour meal (it was really more like 2.5 hours). At one point, I swear they had forgotten about us, and then….the lights went out. It felt like a joke and that they had closed the restaurant for the night and left us behind, or were now going to hold us hostage in our cave. Luckily, neither scenario played out and someone had only tripped a breaker. They did sit a friendly Canadian couple next to us that gave us some future travel destinations to keep in mind, and helped prevent us from falling asleep. Finally the bill came and we got the heck out of there. My review of the meal was probably sub-par, so I can’t recommend it to anyone.
At last, we make it to our hotel room! That’s when the Swiss play their next joke on us. There is no AC in our room. We were sweating from our walk and it had just started raining hard outside, so we didn’t want to leave the windows open. Silly Americans…..that’s when we realize there is a switch for louvers. Disaster averted, although it was a little bit more warm and humid than we would have liked it in our fragile state.