Published: October 4th 2011
October 3rd 2011
We had a breakfast at the usual time and we left for Lucerne at 8 am and traveled alongside the Rhine River in Upper Engading Valley. It took us about 20 minutes or so to get up to the Julierpass at 7,000 feet where we took lots of pictures of the amazing Swiss Alps. We took pictures of our friend Julie and her husband Merv at her namesake pinnacle. It took us about an hour to get down to the bottom of the valley with extreme twists and turns and at one point our bus and another about to pass each other and our driver Walter “scolding” the other driver in German that he was too far over and to let him pass—we all shouted “Way to go Walter”. Once at the bottom we traveled through several small villages with very narrow streets and Walter passed through with only inches to spare. After a while we made a pit stop and were awed by eight Hot Air balloons flying nearby and landing within a half mile or less from where we were.
As we traveled, Sara told us about the principality of Liechtenstein which has been in that family for
about 700 years. It has 32,000 inhabitants, 1/3 of whom are foreigners and is a small country of 60 square miles. Liechtenstein is one of four principalities (an independent country ruled by a prince or other similar ruler). The other 3 are: the Vatican, San Moreno, and Monaco. She also shared her knowledge about the Rhine River, which is 820 miles that flows North into the North Sea and the Rhone River that flows South into the Mediterranean. We eventually ate lunch at Cindy’s Café at an Oasis on the Motorway (Sara’s terms for a freeway or 4 lane highway. Cindy was truly surprised as she tried to feed 41 of us in 45 minutes. Had a good burger though.
We finally reached Lucerne and got our keys for our hotel for 2 days.
Lucerne was first mentioned in 840 AD. "Luciaria" as Lucerne was originally known, means light in Latin, or more specidfically the light from an angel that showed the first inhabitants where to build a chapel. To this day Lucerne is referred to as the City of Lights. With 60,000 inhabitants the city is the capital of the canton of the same name. Centrally located
in the heart of Europe, Lucerne isone of the worlds's six most frequently visited cities.
We reassembled and went on an optional cruise around Lake Lucerne enjoying the mountains in a light mist showing some fantastic shades of light gray, dark gray, blurred black with wonderful outlines that looked a lot like a movie in Manchuria. On our trip we were served a free drink and light refreshments and some wonderful conversations with some of our new friends.
After an hour long cruise, several of us walked across the Chapel Bridge built in 1333, Lucerne's main landmark. The Chapel Bridge features a number of gable paintings. In August 1993 the Chapel Bridge was seriously damaged by fire to be rebuilt within just 8 months. The octagonal water tower was a watchtower in the 13th century and later became a jail and torture chamber.
After returning to our hotel, we took some time to freshen up and had dinner at 7 p.m. We had a vegetable type soup that tasted and looked a lot like pea soup and was very tasty. For our main course we had Rosti potatoes (like hashed browns in the USA), a very tender
chicken breast with some type of cream sauce and some grilled veggies (zucchini +). We ended with a delicious moist apple strudel. We returned to our room and finished this blog and listened/watched the CNN Breaking News about Amanda Knox. Gut Nacht.