Monday, February 24, 2014

Day 1 1/2: Luzern, Switzerland

This post has been long over due, but I have been somewhat busy with school. The studying part of study abroad had to happen at some point...and it was kind of rough. I definitely did not sleep much this week, but that is okay. I pulled through and now I get to enjoy my weekend without having to worry about school. Wohoo! Okay, so it has been more than two weeks since I embarked on my trip out of Spain. My location of choice: Lucerne, Switzerland. I am so happy I ended up in this beautiful city because I fell in love. There would be moments when I would look around and think to myself, what a way to live. The city is filled with little shops and restaurants aligning the cobble stone streets, beautiful churches, Lake Lucerne, and most importantly, the Swiss Alps. My favorite part of this city aside from the Alps were the houses. I will explain more momentarily as I outline the first day and a half. 

I left on Thursday night, right after my last class of the day. My flight went straight to Zurich. I just want to take a moment to say I have been on my fair share of planes and I have never really been afraid of flying as I usually fall asleep the moment I sit in my seat. However, this flight has traumatized me. Okay, I am being a little dramatic, but I am a little more afraid now than I was before of flying. So, per usual, I did fall asleep right after I found my seat, but woke up unexpectedly to what I thought was turbulence. No. It was our plane taking off the runway and it was so frightening. The plane was shaking back and forth as it was picking up speed. It did not help to see it raining outside my window. My palms were sweating as I was saying silent prayers in my head and telling myself everything would be okay, it's just a little rain, no biggie. Luckily everything was okay, but man, I am officially afraid of flying and turbulence. Gulp. Okay, anyways, once we landed in Zurich we ran around trying to find our train because we had to transfer at a train station that would take us into Lucerne. You see, we were kind of on a time crunch. Our flight was thirty minutes delayed and then to follow, the train going to Lucerne was fifteen minutes delayed. We had to check into our hostel by 12 am. We made it into Lucerne at 11:40 pm. We hailed a taxi and made it to the hostel at oh about 11:54 pm. The hostess was just about to leave, which thankfully she did not...pure luck!

The next day we set out to explore the city of Lucerne. I did a little research prior to my arrival about the must-see locations within the city, so before the day was over, I wanted to make sure I had checked each one off my list. The sky was overcast and it was raining all day, but that did not stop us from exploring. We decided to walk into Old Town and pass through the Musegg Wall that separates the city. I loved walking, although we did get a little lost, we just followed our way to the Wall. On this walk, I fell in love with the homes of Lucerne. Each was completely unique, with old, bright colored shuttered, plants running along the side of the homes, with small details that I had never seen anywhere else. I wish I could go inside them; I can only imagine how beautifully decorated they would be. We crossed the Musegg Wall and discovered a beautiful view of the city. First place we went to in Old Town was the Church of St. Leodegar. It was incredibly beautiful, it had a grand organ and gold painted detail everywhere. We then walked towards Lake Lucerne, which was infested by beautiful, white swans. That was another part that I loved about Lucerne, the swans that swam alone or in large groups flocking toward the bread thrown by visitors or locals. From there, you could see the Kapellbruecke (Chapel Bridge). 

My favorite house in all of Lucerne

Another great house
Part of the Musegg Wall

Church of St. Loedegar

Organs inside the church
One of my favorite pictures...mainly because of the Dalmatian
Swans and Lake Lucerne

Chapel Bridge
At this point in the day, it started raining a lot. We wanted to find some shelter since we were sharing one umbrella and it was cold out. We stumbled across a Jesuit Church I had seen in my research, Jesuitenkirche, so we decided to go inside. Honestly, I think this is one of my favorite churches I have ever visited. The outside definitely did not reflect the beauty on the inside. The saying, "don't judge a book by it's cover," definitely applied here. The inside reminded me of Marie Antoinette and her luxurious lifestyle with the crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and the pink detail aligning the church. The photos I took definitely did not capture the colors that swirled in this church. The ceiling had a large mural on the ceiling in the middle of the church and large organs in the back. I was taking mini memory pictures because I never want to forget how this church made me smile in awe at the beauty. I hope I never forget about this church. The sky finally cleared up and as I looked in the distance, there you could see the majestic Mount Pilatus in all its glory. It was a perfect sight to see and we were lucky to be there for the couple of minutes the sky had cleared.


Inside fabulous

Mount Pilatus
Afterwards, we continued to walk around. We stumbled across the town hall, which is now a mini art gallery on the first floor. We decided to find the Lion Monument or Lowendenkmal. I did not expect it to be so large, it was incredibly impressive and beautiful. It was sculpted on a cliff in 1820-21 to commemorate the Swiss guards who were massacred in the French Revolution. Afterwards, we shopped around some souvenir shops and decided to finally get dinner as we had been walking for about six to seven hours. We ate some delicious kebabs that definitely hit the spot and the rest of the evening we spent it in an Irish pub watching the opening ceremony to the Winter Olympics in Russia. Oh, great day.

Lion Monument


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