August 03, 2008
Lucerne - our first visit
Today after church in Zug (Emily was so happy to see her new friend again, and we met some more new people), we decided to continue on 20 minutes further from home to have lunch in Lucerne. Lucerne is a Swiss city founded in 1178, which in 1415 joined the Swiss Confederacy. It has gorgeous views of the Alps over the lake.
We parked and found a restaurant by the river and had some raclette (melted cheese slabs over hot boiled potatoes) and rösti (grated fried potatoes, with bacon & cheese) and Schweinegeschnetzeltes with Spätzle (pork strips with mushrooms in a cream sauce and homemade noodles) and a Schinkengipfel (ham croissant).
Strolling along the Reuss river, we crossed four bridges, back and forth over the same water:
The first, the Spreuerbrücke, is a wooden bridge from 1408, which at first we thought was THE bridge of the Lucerne photos, but it wasn't. Still pretty and fun to cross.
Next, the Reussbrücke, nothing special. But THEN:
Then, ahhhh, the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) built in 1333, but mostly destroyed by a 1993 fire and then reproduced/restored. It was the oldest wooden bridge in Europe until that unfortunate event. This is the landmark that represents Lucerne in all the photos. We have a coaster with a painting of it, which for some reason led me to believe it just took people out into the middle of the lake, but actually it crosses the river. Halfway across there is an attractive water tower (Wasserturm). Apparently it "has served as a prison, torture chamber, watchtower and treasury." This bridge and tower together are supposedly the most photographed monument in Switzerland. I can see why, especially in summer with all the gorgeous flowers adorning it. We were blessed to be there when a harpist was treating all passersby to romantic, dreamy music. I laid my head on David's shoulder and closed my eyes. Lovely. 40 minutes from our house. Come visit, we'll take you.
We noticed a sign on the Chapel Bridge telling of "Mauritius," a Christian commander in the Roman army in the 3rd century, who was martyred in 287 for either refusing to harrass local Christians, or for refusing to worship Roman gods. He was born in Egypt and died in what is now Switzerland. We clued in to the fact that the ski resort of St. Moritz is named after him! That was kind of neat to see - in the rafters of the Chapel Bridge there are several old artworks and poems about him and his Legion (who perhaps were all killed for their righteous insubordination).
Also along the river is a large baroque Jesuit Church from the 1600s. Very pretty inside, with lots of pink and gold. On the ceiling is a cool painting of the outside of the building, including the nearby Chapel Bridge and Water Tower, and, of course, an elephant pulling a cart (??).
We finally got to the fourth bridge of the day, which is at the edge of Lake Lucerne itself (properly called "Vierwaldstättersee, or Lake of the Four Forest Cantons." I am used to lakes having a popular name and a real name, since what people call Lake Geneva is really the "Lac Léman" in French. We bought some stracciatella and strawberry ice cream, and wandered along the flags (this was the first bridge with cars on it as well as foot traffic), admiring the mountain view and the daring roofline of the Lucerne Art Museum.
August 3, 2008 | Permalink
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Thanks for Wordle, too.
Posted by: Martin LaBar | Aug 4, 2008 8:04:10 AM