Sunday, September 12, 2010

Swiss Chronicles - Lucerne

How many places make you feel at home the moment you step into them, give you a feeling that you might belong here and embrace you with their warmth.

Lucerne is among those few places. You travel for about 45 minutes by train from Zurich to reach Lucerne. The place is beautiful – a lovely mix of tradition and modernity and just about the right size. A place where you will not feel lost. Like most Swiss places, this too is surrounded by the lake Lucerne.

The old Chapel Bridge stands across this lake as the guardian of  the city. People storm numerous Swiss restaurants along the quiet Rathausquai on the shores of the lake. Getting together with family & friends after a hard day’s work, drinking beer, eating meat,watching the kids play with the swans on the banks of the lake. As you walk along the Chapel Bridge, the sound of a violin soothes your ears and you find a few street artists display their talent.  If it weren’t for the impatient me, MDH would’ve spent the entire evening on the bridge in the middle of  the lake listening to the violin tunes. Which place in the world offers such a picturesque view of a city life.

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As you cross the bridge and head towards Bahnofstrasse you come to the view the modern side of this city. Buzzing with shops of the biggest brands, several restaurants,fast food joints, plus hotels, youngsters hurrying up along the road and people returning home from the main station. The hustle-bustle of the city is restricted to this street alone.

The next day we walked to the famous Museg Wall. This is along a residential street behind the Old Town. Lots of homes adorn this stretch. 3 towers of this wall are still open to public viewing. A clock on one of the towers has been set to chime a second before all other city clocks at every hour.

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We strolled down the hill to hit the main city road Lowenplatz and headed towards the famous Lion Monument. Mark Twain described this monument as the most sad and moving sculpture he had ever seen. He was right,the Lion sits in a sombre mood marking the sacrifice of Swiss Guards in 1792 during the French Revolution.

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We walked back and sat down in one of the city squares – viewing the people and sights all around. I don’t recollect MDH and I doing this in a long while; just sitting quietly in the midst of a city square and enjoying the buzz around us. Families came with their kids, youngsters sat down to have a quick snack, old people came down to relax. It was great to see people take time out and relax. The city offers many such spots in every nook and corner.

It had been been 4 days in Swissland and I was craving for some good old simple Indian food. Yeah call me typically Indian, hunting for Indian food in foreign land. I was a veggie that day and bread-butter is not my ideal meal! Luckily we found an Indian restaurant close to the Lion Monument and I treated myself to a nice wada-sambar while MDH feasted on spicy fish! He gets fairly irritated with me cause he believes one should taste the country specialities once we are visiting a new place! But sigh, I cannot control my food cravings and somehow figure out a way to pacify them:-)

The best part of our 2-day stay in this city was the location of our hotel and the fact that this place encourages walking. The tourist centre lady told us not to bother with any travel card and just walk along to the old town! The weather was perfect and we enjoyed our evening strolls around the city.

The buildings and the roads reminded me of Mumbai’s Babulnath, Gamdevi area. I spent my school years there and always loved the stone buildings and quiet lanes covered with trees.

Lucerne brought back some lovely memories!

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3 comments:

The Legend Returns said...

hmmm...home away from home...looks like u guys r havin a gr8 time...njoy!

hitchwriter said...

Lovely snaps... look very quaint !!! :)

Minal said...

@Maneesh: Yup we did enjoy every moment of the trip!

@Hitchwriter:Yes most of the places are like that except the big cities.