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PINCHING ONESELF TO MAKE SURE IT’S REAL

September 18, 2022

It was one of those majestic days where you store the beautiful memories in your brain to recall when you are sitting in the dentist’s chair. Lucerne is that kind of place. Charming, quaint, Swiss to the max with towers everywhere, snow-covered mountains in the distance, glittering lake crowned with a stunning white chateau on the hills above, clear rushing river through the city and painted buildings around every corner. I did not put the phone camera away. The Krahn’s, Paluch’s and we boarded a train and in less than an hour riding through pastoral scenes we arrived in Lucerne. 

We walked the iconic covered Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge) over the Reuss River for which the city is known. Lined with overflowing flower boxes, the wide bridge has wooden tresses from which old paintings are suspended all along the way. Built in 1333, the walk implored the mind to go back into the Middle Ages. Mine did! Once across, we walked the short distance to the “Weeping Lion” sculpture carved into the mountainside to honor the Swiss guards killed in the French Revolution. The lion’s expression as it lay dying from a spear thrust into its side is mournful. The author Mark Twain, upon visiting Lucerne, said it was the most sorrowful sculpture in the world. We sat for several minutes simply gazing upon the impressive mountain carving. 

Going back into the Old Town we walked the cobblestoned streets looking at the paintings on the buildings and “Oohing” and “Aweing” as we found one square or street after another with the beautiful handiwork of unknown artists from long ago. Old iron and gold building identification markers protruded from many of the buildings. We could not stop snapping pictures. We found a restaurant situated along the river in a picturesque spot and took an outdoor table to savor the view accompanied by hot broccoli cream soup and flammkuchen (a very thin pastry topped with fromage blanc, creme fraiche (soft melted white cheese and fresh cream), and onions instead of tomato paste and any other toppings you choose. Kathy and I added artichokes, ham, tomatoes, olives, garlic and ripe cheese. I must say, “Really good.” Allen, as usual, asked for the hot olive oil most European restaurants carry in order to take his and Rhonda’s flammkuchen up a notch. 

The Standly’s and Nichols/Hunt group spent their day at the “top of Europe” up from  Grindelwald. It is an awesome pinnacle surrounded by the Eiger, Jungfrau, Mönch and other Alpine mountains. (Kathy and I have been here in the past.) With a tower platform view, the snow-covered Alps spread out before them in every direction. It is truly mesmerizing! Below the peak is a mountain glacier into which is carved an ice palace with ice sculptures in the ice blue surroundings. With clear weather after a day of snow, they had an astounding day. 

Meanwhile, the Steele’s went to Heidiland and Liechtenstein (Kathy and I have taken this tour in the past)—yes, where Heidi of storybook and movie fame lived and also to the small nation municipality in the Alps. It was an enchanting day of mountain and lake vistas packed with nostalgia. 

This is how we love to travel—everyone together, yet free to experience what they choose during the day and usually spending the evening meal together reminiscing about the adventures of the day.

Oops, I forgot the luscious chocolate–rich salted caramel melting in your mouth with milk chocolate or…(the chocolatier broke large pieces off of freshly made batches) and the brazles (large thick soft pretzels) covered with toasted pumpkin seeds or…We ate our collective stash on the train back to Zurich.

Randy & Melisa, Sheila, & Dee at “The Top of Europe”
Lucerne’s Lion Monument
The Chapel Bridge
Painted buildings in Lucerne
Lucerne’s “Weeping Lion”