A June 2001 trip
to Lucerne by Red Mezz
Quote: A little apart from the standard atmosphere of Europe, this is a place to enjoy, with timeless scenery and lots to do.
I arrived at dusk in the Swiss town of Luzern (or Lucerne) in early June--happy to see that after the long bus ride from Paris the rain had finally stopped. The light was low and the hotel above the city we arrived at was well lit in what suddenly seemed like a very rural setting.
The long ride through southern France and Alpine country had been a great time to catch up on my sleep and awake to calm and stunning scenery.
After all my previous experience with Europe including rain--and a very long time sitting, I was anxious to stretch my legs. I dropped off my bags and went for a wander up the country road. The light was turning a deep blue, and everything I had hoped to find in Switzerland unfolded around me. The not-so-distant sound of a cowbell echoed to my right as a local herd came in for dark. With a clear, if shadowed view of Mt Pilatus I got to see an extraordinary display of evening fog rolling in off the hill as if it were a huge wave coming in in slow motion.
I wandered to what I later discovered was the edge of Lake Luzern and stood in awe at the crystal clear brilliance before me. This was the perfect introduction to a city (and country) that left a pristine impression on me. From start to finish all my expectations were passed. The culture was rich, the people extremely friendly--the cuisine excellent. Great for the peace of the outdoors, and equally good for those that like to explore the uniqueness that is the European City.
I found Luzern left an independant impression on me from every other place I stopped in my first European tour, and remember it as one of my favourite destinations to date.
There is plenty to do for both adventurists (have to venture up Mt Pilatus...) and people seeking relaxation. And I found the nightlife here more open and pleasantly inviting than anywhere else in Europe.
With its truly stunning lake and mountains, easy-to-navigate streets, and beautiful buildings and art, Luzern is somewhere any traveller should add to their list.
As usual, a walking wander around the city is a must do. There are some really beautifully done churches whose inside murals and paintings are well worth a look. Swans swim picturesquely around the lake in town. When you cross the eye-catching bridge in the centre on foot...be sure to check out the paintings inside.
A boat ride around Lake Luzern is in the case a very nice day trip to make. The brilliant green of the surrounding hills and mountains makes for unbelievable photos, and there's no better way to get the full vibe of this city.
Make sure you wander the back streets, as there are some very interesting and unique statues. And for historical touring, visit the 'Lion's Monument.' (Löwendenkmal).
From Alpnachstad, just outside Luzern, you can take a cogwheel railway (the steepest of its kind in the world) up Mt Pilatus for an incredible view.
And if you want a gen-u-ine Swiss Army Knife, there's a place in the middle of town where you can get it made to your specifications. The shopping is either a bit pricey or touristy...but all in all a great place to visit.
Nestled in the beautiful suburbs of Lucerne, a 15-minute drive from the town centre, this is as quaint a Swiss hotel as you can hope to find. After a week's stay in a bad Paris hotel and 13 hours on a bus through Southern France, I would have been happy to toss my bags onto the floor of any welcoming hostel, so what I found at the Balm Meggan was a nice surprise.
The fun bit of taking a group tour with accommodation included is that you never are quite sure where you will end up spending the night. As we drove up in the darkening evening towards our hotel in the quiet Swiss countryside, I could feel myself beginning to relax--and pleased to be out of the bustle of Paris.
This was maybe my favourite hotel experience on that entire journey. It was calm and peaceful and the staff was the friendliest and most welcoming of any hotel in Europe. It must be said that large groups of American tourists aren't always warmly welcomed by the Europeans, but this was an extreme exception. The food was magnificent and I remember my extreme joy that there was enough to go around for seconds. The staff was pleasant and friendly and more than helpful.
The rooms were simple but had everything we needed. It's a small family building but a welcome change from the small, stuffy room I shared with four other girls in Paris. Our window looked out across at Mt. Pilatus, giving me one of the best hotel views I have ever had. It's a quiet and forested walk around the hotel, which barely borders Lake Lucerne as well. It is great for relaxing and enjoying the countryside of Switzerland and is a very easy drive into the town. The accommodations offered in central Lucerne seem to be slim, so I would highly recommend this as a place to stay while visiting.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 5, 2006
Balmstrasse 3, 6045 Meggen
Attraction | "The Golden Round Trip"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 30, 2005
Golden Round Trip
Lake Lucerne from Lucerne to Alpnachstad
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 7, 2006
Webers World Swiss Army Knives
Lucerne, Switzerland 6004
+41 (41) 4101723
Attraction | "Lucerne's Lion Monument"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 7, 2006
Lucerne Lion Monument
On a clear day, there is very little better to do in a town like Lucerne than to put on your walking shoes and stroll pleasantly along its walkways. The absolutely crystal blue water of the River Reuss in the centre of town runs calmly under the Tower Bridge and you can stop and feed or photograph the suitably graceful swans that swim in it. And just over the top of the covered bridge, it's almost impossible to miss the great architectural beauty of Lucerne's Jesuitenkirche, or Jesuit Church. The great green onion tops of the towers shine out brilliantly against it's white exterior and against a blue sky on a Swiss day, and though at this point in my European tour I'd seen more churches than many very devout people, the brilliance of its outside lured me in for a look that stands out amongst all of the churches and religious buildings I have ever seen, including Notre Dame.
There's something a bit crisp and different in the look of this place, something distinctly Swiss, even though it was a bit of a Catholic strong hold emphasizing Catholic presence against Protestant criticism. It is the 1st large Baroque church built north of the Alps, and even with no interest in the history of this place or the religion it is affiliated with, as a traveller this is a place certainly worth looking at. These days it serves generally as a concert hall for organ recitals. (I can only imagine what the acoustics must be like in a venue like this! By all means, if you can attend one while there, do so.) It wasn't the oldest church I'd been in in Europe, I believe the first corner stone was laid in 1666, but due to a number of political and financial problems it wasn't completed until the late 1800's but it was no less impressive because of that.
The inside, (though I distinctly remember it being rather cold) is absolutely breath taking. It doesn't look that huge on the outside, but the height and intricacy of the place once indoors is truly magnificent. It is very reminiscent of Italian churches, but with a very distinct Swiss flair. Inside there is a chapel dedicated to the Patron Saint of Switzerland, Brother Klaus and the artwork inside ranges from amazing Michelangelo-like paintings on the vastly high ceiling, to marble and stucco carvings and sculptures. This is a visually Stunning church. One of my favourite in all of the world. If you are out puttering about town in Lucerne, then I highly recommend that you check it out.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 12, 2006
On the River Reuss
Inverness, United Kingdom