Today was a day to fulfill all of our stereotypical Swiss dreams. We had goals to get Swiss Army knives, eat cheese and chocolate, and go up a mountain. And well, that’s what we did.
We started the day with a walking tour of Lucerne. I was happy to go on this tour, because my first trip to Lucerne, we didn’t really have the opportunity to see the city. We did a mountain tour, went to dinner, and did a boat cruise. It was lovely, but I didn’t really get to see the actual city.
So we did the walking tour, and learned a little bit about Lucerne culture. They apparently have a lot of festivals, some so loud and obnoxious that people either stay in town to party for a week straight, or leave the city for a week.
We saw a couple of buildings with cool painted facades. Apparently the reason for the facades to be painted in such a way is that families or guilds wanted to display all the cool stuff about them on their buildings. Well, if people were illiterate, the only way you could do that was with images, so, painting. Here you go.
We also got to see the Chapel Bridge, the longest covered bridge in Europe. It was originally built in the 12th century, but it burned down in the 1990s. They showed us a photo of the Lucerne mayor looking at the singed bridge like “Uh oh… That’s like our one fun thing…” Luckily they rebuilt it, and even were able to salvage some of the original paintings from storage. So everything’s fine!
After the tour, our first mission was to get Swiss Army knives. I had a Swiss Army knife from my last trip. It was my favorite souvenir I’ve ever bought. I used it CONSTANTLY. And it got confiscated at Boston Logan International Airport Security by a jerk back in February. The only thing that kept me sane in that moment was the reminder of “Don’t worry, you’re going back to Switzerland. So we went to the souvenir shop, found the little Victorinox section, and I found the exact same model I used to have. Luckily the shop also had free engraving, so my new one is identical to my old one. Also I found out the model is “Mini-Champ.” Which, like, I find fitting to my personality. Jen also got one, which is a little bigger than mine. Hers has a “utility hook” on it. We don’t know what that’s for. We also got water bottles to fill with fountain water on the tour. Already that sucker has paid for itself.
We went around shopping and got some lunch. We went into the Bachmann store, which is one of Switzerland’s chocolate shops. This particular one’s claim to fame was their chocolate wall. It was literally a wall dripping with chocolate. It made the whole shop smell like actual heaven. Seriously. Heaven smells like the chocolate shop, I’m sure of it. They also had real food, so Jen got a salad and I got a sandwich. After lunch, we of course hit up the truffle counter. We each tried two truffles and our minds were blown. Honestly, I kind of went into the experience thinking, “I mean, it’s chocolate. Can Swiss chocolate really be that much better?” The answer is “yes.”
After lunch we did a little more walking around. We stumbled upon a funky shoe shop where Jen got some shoes with passports and other travel stuff on it that says “Just Go.” We also found some fun little squares and markets to putz around.
Next was our scenic lake cruise. Again, this is just a hard one to bottle and take home with you. It was a beautiful day. The mountains were gorgeous. We hung out with Stephanie and Marcel and drank some Prosecco while floating in the shadows of the Alps. It was absolutely delightful.
Then it was time to start our adventurous excursion up Mount Pilatus. The plan was to go up the mountain on the world’s steepest cog rail train. We rode up with the tour’s other two Canadian members. Their names are Stella and Catherine, and they’re cousins. Catherine was hanging out of the rail car taking pictures, while Stella was glued to the seat with her hands hanging onto her cousin’s pants in fear that she’d fall out. They were hilarious.
On our way off we also passed some Swiss Cows wearing bells: my favorite thing ever. They’re so cute! Apparently they wear the bells for two reasons: one, so that their farmers can find their cows when they get too high in the hills. And two, because tourists think it’s cute. I mean. I know I do.
Once we were at the top, we took a few photos. As you can imagine, the views were spectacular. I can’t put it into words. Honestly just go to Switzerland.
Then it was time for our descent. Our journey involved two cable cars. The first one was a large gondola, fit for maybe 25 people. There were a couple benches but mostly people stood on this one. It went down pretty smoothly, save for one little dip that caused everyone in the car to go “AHH!” all at the same time.
Then we boarded the little cable car. This one was basically the same size as the “Sky Ride” back when Disney World still had it. We were in that with Marcel and Stephanie, who, along with Jen, was pretty nervous about the heights. When our car took off, it zoomed out of the station and down to the descending cable like a bullet. All four of us screamed. We weren’t ready! But once it got going, it was actually pretty relaxing. There was a second station we passed through on our way down that involved another zooming situation, but we were ready for it so it was less terrifying.
After hopping the bus back to down, we were on the mission to find fondue. I had missed out on fondue on my first trip to Switzerland, I wasn’t going to again! We found a few restaurants that were crazy expensive and so, kept hunting. Finally we came across a place that had fondue for 33 dollars a person. That was a lot, but we really wanted melty cheese. So, begrudgingly we sat down and waited to be served.
Our waitress was an adorable little blonde lady who spoke five languages. She took our drink order and complimented my choice of a local Lucerne white wine. I liked her already. When she came back we said we wanted the fondue. She suggested that we just get one portion of the fondue and then also split a salad. We didn’t realize that was an option! And it nearly split our dinner cost in half! Thanks lovely waitress!
As for the food itself. Oh my god. Again, like the chocolate, I went into this dinner literally saying to Jen, “Oh god, if we’re spending this much on cheese, we better like it.” Uh yeah. That stuff was amazing. It was definitely quality cheese. It was sharp enough to give its taste some kick, but smooth enough to be a little bit sweet. Along with the fondue came a bowl of bread cubes and a few little fingerling potatoes. And then the salad, which was advertised as “varieties of salad” (still don’t really know what that menas) was some mixed greens, beets, carrots, radishes, and some other stuff. It’s a good thing we split both entrees because we definitely didn’t finish either. And of course, this whole meal took place at the base of the river with a beautiful view of the blue sky. Just gorgeous.
We walked back to the hotel and wanted something sweet, so we stopped by a little bakery kiosk and each grabbed a bun of some kind. Jen got a cinnamon bun that was kind of disappointing, but I got an almond croissant thing filled with frangipane. THAT was delicious.
We were going to go swimming, but we were both exhausted, so instead of doing that, we repacked our suitcases and went to bed. It’s been good, Switzerland. Off to France again.