My plane landed in Zurich around 9am. I got my stamp, and then was off to find the train to Lucerne. Initially, I was going to explore Zurich before heading to Lucerne, but I opted not to. I had 50 euros, which I converted to swissfrancs at the airport, and found I only had 35sf for the next 2.5 days. I would need to save them for Lucerne.
Then the train ticket to Lucerne was 30 swissfrancs.
Wellp, haven’t I gone down this road before?
I got to my hostel at around 12pm, and though check-in was at 3pm, I figured they could hold my luggage. They would, if I paid 2 swissfrancs. Not wanting to do that, I took a seat in the lobby, pulled out my map and my laptop, and waited. I had been up since 3am, and I was exhausted. I would have gone out to walk around the park had I not been so tired. I wasn’t alone. I had a cat who decided to join me.
After check in, I took a bus to a church. Usually, I try to go inside, but it didn’t seem like I could, so I just got some shots from outside. Following, I walked to Löwendenkmal and found that this translates to lion monument. I later learned the lion is in fact a dying lion, to commemorate the lost lives of 760 Swiss guards during the French Revolution
I walked around some more, but it was getting dark really quickly. I’m not one to call it quicks just because of the dark, but I was so exhausted. I went back to the hostel, and had the best sleep I’ve had in a very long time.
December 20th: Mt. Pilatus
Caroline and Carlo met me at the lion monument the next day.
Today, we would take on Mt. Pilatus
We purchased tickets to go up a lift to the first of three levels on the mountain. It was the most expensive lift, at 20sf to get up (about $22). Getting all the way to the top would be 74sf! Nope!
The lift stopped and we got off. It wasn’t very high up, but it was something. Then a man stopped us. He said we needed to keep going, up until the next stop. He was a funny man, talking to us in English, German, and Italian. A little bit confused, but trusting he knew what he was talking about, we boarded the lift once more and rode it to the next stop.
When we got off, our tickets wouldn’t let us out. We were very confused. Then another man approached to ask us what happened. Carlo explained to the man what happened, and the man just sighed and said “not again!”. Apparently this was a common occurrence. He gave us new tickets, and let us out to see the snow!
Satisfied with the day, we went our respective ways home. On my way home, I heard the faint sound of “Silent Night”, cleverly arranged for a quartet of recorders.
I took my time coming home, going the long way around. It was hard to believe that this is my last trip in Europe, my last time quietly exploring the streets on my own.
It didn’t seem like the end; in fact, it felt very much like passing through time to get on with the next thing. But nevertheless, in just two days, I would be flying back to Chicago, and this is over. The perfectly chilly weather of Lucerne with it’s picturesque buildings and bridges and mountains. It is very fitting. I started my adventures with the Mountains of Bolzano, and now I am ending them with the mountains of Lucerne.
I had a lazy morning. I ate a big breakfast at the hostel, showered and packed my carryon. The plan was to go ice skating today. I would just hang out until Caroline was ready to go.
I met a woman at the hostel, Simone. She was full of questions about hostels; this was her first time staying at a hostel instead of a hotel. Happy to help, I let her know the basics about hostel and Airbnb accommodations. She is from DC, and she was at the beginning of a week-long trip through Switzerland.
The two of us walked through Lucerne on our way to meeting with Caroline and Carlo. The neighborhoods are peaceful and still, and the conversation was good, so much that we almost missed the wall.
Museggmauer was built in teh 14thc to protect the town of Lucerne, featuring 9 towers guards used to keep watch. Chapel Bridge was built for the same purpose around the same time. After the wall, we found Carol and Carlo, and Simone and I said our goodbyes.
The three of us went off to do some chocolate-shopping and then made our way to the rink, only to be intimidated by a couple of 8-year-olds on the rink! We opted no, and did some bird watching and picture taking instead.
And just like that, as lazy as the day started, the day ended. Well rested, renewed, we took our bus back to Milano for the last time.