Saturday, August 5, 2017

Switzerland: A Walk in Luzern

Having arrived from the USA on an overnight flight to Zurich, we immediately grabbed our bags and headed to the train station within the air terminal to purchase Swiss Travel Passes and board a mid morning train to Luzern.

Arriving in Luzern about noon, we walked the few blocks from the train station in search of our hotel a block from the Chapel Bridge.  The tower guarding the Chapel Bridge was the first sight seen after exiting the hotel and turning north.  Spectacular!  We experienced a bright sunny day in late April as a bonus.
Chapel Bridge
Feeling a bit fatigued, our first day in Luzern would be an easy one so that we could accommodate the effects of jet lag.  From the West Coast of the USA to Zurich is a LONG flight!  Our plan for this first half day was a walk around Old Town including a brief visit to the Lion's Monument, the Bourbaki Panorama (see Bourbaki Panorama), and the Depot History Museum. 
Reuss River and Luzern
The Lion's Monument was about a twenty minute walk from the hotel and we crossed the Reuss River using the Chapel Bridge to reach Old Town.  Meandering through the winding streets, we followed the old town wall to reach the Lowenplatz.  Along the way, several notable buildings were passed before reaching the quiet confines of the Lion Monument park.

The Lion Monument is a striking sight and measures 33 feet long by 20 feet tall.  The sculpture honors the Swiss mercenaries killed or executed defending the French king during the French Revolution.  The engraving, difficult to read in the photo, reads, "Helvetiorum fidei ac virtuti."  That inscription translates to "To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss."  Moving stuff.  Luckily, we had the park to ourselves so unobstructed views were achievable.  
Lion Monument
Having spent ample time gazing at the monument and a short rest, we struck off back towards the river, our hotel, and the Depot History Museum.

The museum is housed in an old three story building on the riverfront.  The collections are an eclectic mix of stained glass, furniture, uniforms, arms and armor, paintings, tourism posters, and even a display of antique toy soldiers.  "Depot" is a fitting term for this museum.  No finely created artifact displays.  A real industrial look to the whole concept.  This seems to be a storage place for artifacts not having a permanent home yet too interesting or historical to throw out.  Many of the items are either behind glass or bars making photography and careful study difficult.  An interesting display easily worth a forty-minute browse.  
Stained Glass with two Renaissance soldiers
Napoleonic era cuirass
Uniforms
Stacks of pike
Antique toy soldiers
Armor
Arms
After spending sufficient time investigating the Depot Museum, we followed the river down to the waterfront for a look at the lake before heading back to the hotel.


Next time, we travel to the Berner Oberland with a two-day base at Lauterbrunnen.

22 comments:

  1. Very jealous Jonathon! My wife has been to Switzerland but I've never been.
    Cheers, Peter

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    1. Beautiful country, Peter. Surprisingly compact too!

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  2. Beautiful scenery in those landscape pictures. Have fun!

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    1. Beautiful scenery, no doubt! We visited in May so we have returned and yes, we had loads of fun.

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  3. Wow - you certainly travel to some amazing sites, Jonathan! Thanks for taking the time to share those awesome images.

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    1. Glad you enjoy the travelogues, Dean! Nancy and I enjoy traveling very much so do it often.

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  4. Very lovely Jonathan! I've been briefly to Switzerland and it is indeed beautiful. I need to go again.

    Christopher

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    1. A most beautiful country, indeed. You ought to plan yourself a return visit. My wife is wanting to return already!

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  5. Nice photos Jonathan. I have fond memories of walking the walls at Luzern, as well as the bridge and the Lion Monument. A pity I had no idea about the Bourbaki Panorama at the time.

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    1. Glad my few photos could help trigger fond memories of your visit, Nathan. Perhaps you will visit again?

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  6. Luzern is probably the best preserved of the Northern Swiss cities. She still has segments of her walls, and they were restoring more of them when I visited in 2013. The clock tower on the walls is exquisite. They are a bit of a climb, though.

    Because Luzern remained Catholic, all of her churches and cathedrals kept their decorations. It's a sizable contrast to Zurich, Basel and Geneva, where the cathedrals were stripped of their decorations.

    If you've got time, Zurich also has a fabulous Swiss military museum, and Basel also has a great one. The paper museum is Basel is also worth a visit.

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    1. Hi Robert! Luzern is well preserved and a beautiful city. Interesting church history. Many of the churches we visited in Luzern were beautifully decorated s you mention.

      The Swiss National Museum in Zurich did get a visit but the military history wing was closed due to renovation. A real disappointment although a few of the military exhibits were repositioned to open wings. There is an excellent exhibit on the Russian Revolution on display now. Fantastic!

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  7. Jonathan, like Nate I have great memories of Luzern. Your travellog sent me in my study to review some photos of my own from more than 30 years ago. Thank for posting.

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    1. Mark, thirty yers since your last visit? Perhaps, time for a return? I know you are heading to Germany later, I would enjoy seeing your travel plans for that upcoming battlefield tour.

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  8. I have been back to Europe nine times since and twice to Switzerland, but on neither of those times did I return to Luzern. This year will be SE Asia again and then next year Europe, with the visits to the battlefields of the Franco-Prussian War in Alsace and Lorraine. One trip I really want to do is up around your way (relatively speaking), through the battlefields of the Sioux War - Fort Phil Kearney, the Fetterman Massacre and Little Big Horn - that has held a fascination for me since by childhood...maybe 2019

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    1. Mark, you have been bitten by wanderlust as have I. I look forward to your upcoming travelogues and await your FPW tours with great interest.

      Sioux Wars and LBH in 2019? Well, this is not too distant from Spokane. Distances are great in the Western USA and we can travel distances that those in the east cannot understand. My guess is that LBH must be about 8 hours away by car. Certainly doable if you would enjoy a 'local' companion on your battlefield treks.

      If you are interested in other Indian Wars, the Palouse and NE Oregon contain sites for earlier and later battles including the 1858 Spokane-Coeur d'Alene-Paloos War and the 1877 Nez Perce War. Perhaps, time to dig out your history books?

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  9. Brought back memories of a holiday there so many years ago. What a shame re the military museum bit in Zurich, l still recall it waits great affection.

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    1. A great shame, indeed but it gives me cause to return to Luzern when that wing is reopened. The large diorama of the Battle of Murten was available so not all was lost.

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  10. Great shots; I well recall my own visit to Luzern...43 years ago! Time to return to Europe in a few years.

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    1. Peter, you are overdue for a return trip!

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