Luzern

One of our Swiss bucket list cities was Luzern and we finally made it. We made a last minute booking and arrived on Saturday evening and spent that evening and Sunday touring the city.

Accommodation: As I mentioned, we booked last minute and just went with the best price we could find in the old town. Luzern is a top destination for tourists in Switzerland, so it was a bit pricey. Andrew found us a cozy studio apartment within walking distance of the train station and centered in Old town at the Aparthotel Adler Luzern.

Transportation: We took the train, which is easy with a 2 hr 10 minute direct ride from Lausanne. After that, we were able to walk through town and used the city bus, which was free with our hotel stay. There are also many ferry routes around the Luzern area, but we did not use these as transportation as we stayed relatively close to the main city during our stay.

Eats: As we narrowed our search for Saturday night dinner to the old town which is teeming with tourists and as we have not had good luck with Swiss German style food in the past, we were not expecting much. But, we found a very nice spot at Zunfthausrestaurant Pfistern for dinner Saturday night with a table right on the Reuss river, overlooking the old town and with Mt. Pilatus towering over the city. We were incredibly lucky with the weather this weekend as it was in the 70s, sunny and blue skies. A perfect spring weekend! After dinner we had drinks at the Bar und Weinstube Storchen before heading back to the hotel.

On Sunday, out of convenience, we had our lunch at the museum cafeteria and in the afternoon had some local brews at the Rathaus Brauerei covered portico outside before hopping on the boat cruise.

Activities: We arrived by train at 5:00pm Saturday so we had just enough time before dinner to do a 1.5 hour self-guided walking tour with our trusty Rick Steve’s guide book. We took in the local sites and learned some history of the city.

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The Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) with Mt Pilatus in the background. This is a covered, wooden bridge built in the 1300s! Our Saturday evening dinner was just down the river from here with a similar and equally stunning view.
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The Hirschenplatz – our hotel and the wine bar we went to was only 1 block away
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The “needle dam” bridge on the Reuss river. This was a unique type of dam to control the water flow where they use these removeable wooden panels. They put them in and take them out at certain times of year to control the release of water from Lake Luzern. Also, a cool photo of the gushing water frozen in time on Andrew’s part 🙂
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The Jesuitenkirche
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Me on the chapel bridge

On Sunday, we were up early, dropped our luggage at some luggage lockers at the train station for convenience and headed on our way to the Swiss Museum of Transport. This is a really cool museum that presents the history of all forms of transportation in Switzerland, including the evolution of their roads, train systems, planes and even their mountain transportation in ski resorts such as how ski chair lifts and gondolas have improved over the years. Seeing as we use all their transit and it truly is impressive, it was fun to learn about. They also had a special exhibition on the newly opened Gotthard Tunnel, which is an incredible engineering feat.

 

After the museum and having lunch at their cafeteria, we headed over to check out the dying lion of Luzern. This is a monument carved into the rock cliff face to commemorate the Swiss mercenaries who died while fighting for the French revolution in 1792.

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Next door, we headed into the Luzern Gletschergarten. This museum/park includes a garden featuring the rocks in the area which show evidence of glaciers, a museum on local geology, and oddly enough a really well-done Hall of Mirrors from the Swiss national exhibition in 1896 (no joke, it fooled me so well I was walking into mirrors!).

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Above, part of the rock around which the museum was built. Apparently some guy was trying to build a wine cellar below his house and found these rocks here. You can see the horizontal glacial striations  in the upper right – which is where rocks were dragged across by a glacier thousands of years ago. 

As our last stop, after pausing for a beer at the Rathaus Brauerei, we hopped on a 1 hour boat tour on the lake. This was such a nice part of the day as it was warm (probably in the 70s), sunny and the light breeze on the water was just perfect.

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Overall, Luzern was a wonderful place to visit. It’s crawling with tourists, even in the month of April, so I can only imagine what it’s like in summer months. But, it was a great place to go to see the Swiss German side of the country and witness a gorgeous lake with the Alps towering above. A wonderful quick trip to cap off the weekend!

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