Saturday, 12 November 2016

Luzern: Lakesides and Lions

I awoke to relatively glorious, relatively sunshine. That is, it was not raining, and strands of sunlight were intermittently visible through the clouds. Dragging myself out of bed sometime around 9am, I packed and left for the station.

I grabbed some breakfast and much-needed tea before heading to the station and buying my ticket.

For once I'd successfully timed things so that my train was due a few minutes later, so everything went smoothly. The journey wasn't the most scenic in the world - in my experience it's actually relatively rare that train journeys are, since they tend to involve travelling through relatively sunken bits of landscape rather than balanced precariously on the highest point around where you get a nice view. However, I drank in a bit more of generic urbanised and suburban Swiss landscape, and saw a few more rural bits that looked very much like rural England, to be honest. I suppose it's all relatively cold bits of Europe, so we have fairly similar bits of ecology going on.

I arrive safely and quickly, and immediately head off to drop my bags at the station. It isn't far to my hotel (Hotel Alpha), and I decide this time I'd rather get rid of my stuff before looking for a meal, even though I still plan to eat relatively early.

First look at Lucerne. I rather like this building, with its circle theme.

Having deposited my bags, I slope back into town, carrying only a light bag with postcards, pen, manga and camera.

For what it's worth, I've found it's generally worth aiming to eat at slightly unusual times when touristing. You're already trying to hunt down somewhere you want to eat, in a situation where you don't know the place well, which means finding any restaurants at all may be a challenge (yes, even with Google Maps). Since city centres (where you probably are) tend to be busy at mealtimes, and if you're in a touristy area (you probably are) there will also be tourists seeking food, that just exacerbates the problem. You can easily end up wandering round for ages getting increasingly hungry and irritable before finding somewhere you can actually get a seat.

I can't remember what this building was, but it's quite nice.

The welcome arch at Lucerne Station

For lunch, I end up drifting through the station and spot what seems to be a local chain called Bobby & Fritz. Currywurst is a big deal here, so I feel like I should at least sample it.


It proves to be pretty much exactly what you might expect from a takeaway sausage and chips in curry sauce. I was slightly concerned when I realised I'd accidentally agreed to the "very hot" sauce, but it turns out this is no hotter than the curries I normally make, so all fine. Could have done with some kind of vegetable, though. There was onion on offer, but that's my point exactly.

Since tomorrow M-san has offered to show me around, my plan is just to roam around the Old Town to some extent looking at things I suspect she won't take me to. Wild guessing, initiate!

Spoiler: I was less than totally successful.

I cross the river via the ancient Chapel Bridge (very nice), and strike off along the shore.

Chapel Bridge

Chapel Bridge Tower

View inside the bridge

There are historical panels at intervals along the bridge

I can tell you now that this post is mostly just photos, so if you're looking for searing social-cultural insights... actually, why are you on this blog again?

The riverside

More riverside

An awful lot of the town is genuinely old. It's fairly unusual, though perhaps being brought up in an area transformed by the Industrial Revolution prejudices me here. Liverpool waterfronts are very different!

The better weather means I can see some rather nice bits of mountain lurking amidst the clouds.

Swans circle on the lake

Seelfie (German joke!)

A rather nice weird tree

...I've got nothing, it's just a selfie. I am definitely in Switzerland, and not playing with Photoshop from a dubious motel in Rhyl.

There's plenty of what I assume are old, traditional-style buildings along the lakeshore.

A group of people playing boules at what seems to be an outdoor stage

Some kind of hotel, I think. Fairly typical of the area

My first real stop is Hofkirche, a distinctive twin-spired church nearly beside the lake. Unlike the others I've seen to far, it's both free to enter and allows (or at least, doesn't forbid) photography. I take advantage of this, although out of habit I turn the flash off so as not to disturb anyone else.


Some of the old burial plaques and markers at Hofkirche

All the doors of Hofkirche seemed to be in this pattern.

Statuettes and ornamentation around the main door

This seems to be a font surrounded by an iron gate.

It's a nice enough building. I've seen plenty before, and it's not massively different, nor do I have a lot of historical context to tie it in with, so I don't stay long.

Leaving the church, I strike vaguely north for the Alpineum. This is some kind of alpine-themed thing, and I think it's probably worth a glance. There's some reasonably nice and typical architecture along the way, and eventually I reach a big lion.

And I think that's plenty for one post, so I'm going to leave you on that enigmatic and feline note.

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