By the time we reached Switzerland, we had jumped from speaking (at least, the best way we could) German to Italian to German back again, because in Switzerland, people speak either German, Italian or French, depending on their location. This is because Switzerland is surrounded by Germany (North), Italy (South), France (West) and Austria and Liechtenstein (East).
We stayed in Lucerne, where most people speak German. It was still pretty cold when we went here, as seen in the snow covered mountains in the distance.
But before we reached Switzerland from Italy, we passed the 3rd longest bridge in the world, called the Gotthard Road Tunnel - more than 16 kilometers! Certainly not a tunnel where you can hold your breath and make a wish. ;)
Remember the Swiss Guards I mentioned while I was in Vatican City? Well, this sad looking, dying lion monument was in memory of the loyalty of the Swiss Guards who protected the French royalty during the French Revolution. This is definitely one of the most unique monuments I’ve ever seen.
To add to another of my “mosts”, Lake Lucerne is probably the clearest lake I’ve ever seen in my life. Below you can see the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), which is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe.1 Our travel director urged all of us to cross this bridge at least once so we did!
Interestingly, Lake Lucerne is heavily inhabited by swans! I have never seen so many swans in my entire life! They’re pretty huge and don’t seem to be scared of tourists, because they do come closer to you especially when they see that you have some snack or piece of bread in your hands.
I’ve seen some swans actually walking along the sidewalks, posing for excited tourists, but I was only able to take pictures of them in the water.
We also rode a cable car to the peak of Mt. Pilatus which surrounded Lucerne.
Sadly, the weather was a bit dreary and cold when we went up…
…so we couldn’t see much of Lucerne from the top of the mountain. Didn’t help that I wasn’t a big fan of snow.
Did you know that Switzerland breeds St. Bernards (You know, like that lovable family dog in the movie Beethoven)? These St. Bernards were originally used as rescue dogs for those who got injured or lost in the mountains. Sadly, I wasn’t able to see a live one but the souvenir shop at the top of Mt. Pilatus had some stuffed toy versions.
While everything in Lucerne (as it is probably in the whole of Switzerland) is more expensive than it is in other European countries, G and I had our most memorable and delicious (and yes, most expensive) dinner here! Below is a picture of Schnitzel being cooked in front of our table. I will be writing a separate post on this.
Disclaimer: My European Experience series is based on a “crash course” tour of 8 countries in 14 days. Therefore, these posts will contain only some sights and tastes of each country.