A July 2001 trip
to Lucerne by Constance
Quote: Thanks to American television, I imagined Swiss women wearing their hair in braids, locals making cheese and chocolate, and cows grazing in fields behind tiny villages. A quick trip to Lucerne proved that I was wrong about the braids, but not far off on the rest.
Although the view up the mountain was amazing, I wasn't prepared for the spectacular scene that awaited me at the summit. Panoramic doesn't even begin to describe it. From Sanserhorn you can see not only the magnificent alpine range, but 10 Swiss lakes and more valleys than you can count. The sound of cowbells echoed through the valleys and drifted upwards to mingle with the sound of tall pine branches swaying in the breeze. It's enough to lull the most stressed-out person into a comatose state.
Shaking off the urge to find a hammock and take a nap, I headed off for a brisk 30-minute hike around the summit before lunch. I saw hang-gliders and parasailers soar past me, and even tried some alpine horn blowing--it's harder than it looks! My mountaintop adventure ended with an incredible lunch at a revolving restaurant with an ever-changing Alpine view.
As I descended the mountain, I noticed all sorts of small farms and pastures full of gently grazing cows, and remembered something interesting a friend once told me: that if you lie down in a cow pasture the cows become curious and will walk over to you.
I wasn't convinced. I had to check this fact out for myself.
I found a nearby pasture and slowly walked to its center. The cows stopped grazing just long enough to look at me wearily. I found a cow-patty-free patch of grass and lay down on my back among the sweet-smelling wildflowers. I was happy to be relaxing in the warm sun in such a beautiful place when the sound of an approaching cowbell caught my attention. I cautiously lifted my head to see a large cow sniffing my body. Not surprisingly, they appear even bigger when you're lying on the ground near their hooves!
It was at this point that I paid attention to the largest difference between these cows and the ones I'd seen in the fields back home: horns. BIG horns.
Images of running with the bulls came to mind as I contemplated my escape plan. Fortunately, the large cow quickly became bored of me and wandered off to a more interesting area of the pasture. So I retreated back to the safety of my friends and relayed my newfound discovery.
I checked into my room and looked out of the window at the view. Majestic snow-capped peaks rose above a crystal lake that generated an immediate aura of calm. Suddenly exploring the town didn't seem as urgent, and I stopped to breathe in the fresh air and admire the beauty before me. This was a sight that didn't loose its impact. From the first day to the last, each morning when I woke up, it took my breath away.
Lucerne can only be described as a storybook town. Narrow cobblestone streets give you glimpses of a time long ago. The architecture of the castles, clock towers, churches, unique hotels, and local homes surprise you at every turn. Bikes are a popular mode of transportation and people still fish from bridges over a sparkling river so clear you can actually see the fish! Just strolling through the town gives you the feeling that you've escaped into a gentler time.
New York, New York