Monday, January 24, 2011

BCers Visit Italy, Switzerland & France; Pt 16: My World Of Ups & Downs In Lucerne

IN MY WORLD, the cloudy days in southwest BC are reminiscent of the climate we experienced on a recent visit to Switzerland. It was sunny when we toured the peeks of Mt. Pilatus in the Alps but dreary when we boarded the waiting bus below to nearby Lucerne where we would spend the night. Our exhilarating trip up the mountain was followed by a tour of the pretty town where I enjoyed a few sights before stumbling and falling on a church floor.

Surrounded by picturesque mountains, Lucerne rests along the northwest of Lake Lucerne where the Reuss River also flows. It was last October when we were there and geraniums were still in full bloom.

We strolled the waterfront along a mix of traditional and modern art.

I couldn't help notice a blazing red 1991 sculpture called Life by Rotraut.

The plane trees (a type of sycamore) on the path were turning from green ...

to a dull orange-brown shade ...

before falling to the ground.

The architecture seemed solidly built to withstand natural and other disasters. I believe the Swiss design (shown on flag top right of photo) depicting a white cross in a red background inspired the reversal of colors for the Red Cross emblem adopted at the first Geneva Convention in 1864.

Lucerne buildings (pictured above) were unmarked by the graffiti we noticed in neighboring Italy.

We visited the monument honoring Swiss Guards who died during the French Revolution. They mistakenly thought King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and their children were at the Tuileries Palace. Over 700 guards died there, trying to save the royal family from a Parisian mod.

The lion with a broken spear in its shoulder was carved into a cliff in the early 1800s and is mirrored in the pond below it.

A perpetual fair seemed to be going on in modern Lucerne.

Balloons were sold from a cart. In a nearby restaurant, my husband had the most expensive hamburger he ever ate. He said it was delicious. The cost was 30 Canadian dollars.

Along the way, we spotted a brightly painted carousel.

The swans on the river were a picture of grace.

Some swans floated to folks who tossed them food purchased at the walkway.

The covered Chapel Bridge was built in the 1300s to protect the city from possible attacks. There were once historical paintings from the 17th century inside the bridge. Unfortunately, most were destroyed in a fire in 1993. The bridge was restored and many paintings recreated.

An abundance of impatiences flowed over the edge of the bridge railings.

A visit to Old Town was like driving through a movie set of medieval times.

The houses appeared homey and designed with simple charm.

Splashes of color filled some building walls.

Switzerland is historically neutral in armed conflicts but part of peacekeeping missions around the world. Most able young Swiss men must participate in months of basic military training.

The discipline of military training, hiking and boating all contribute to a fit society that enjoys the outdoors. It rained earlier and I noticed a puddle formed in the tarp of this waiting boat.

We stepped into the historic Jesuit church constructed in the late 1600s The decorative baroque features inside were added a century later. I was enthralled by the peaceful atmosphere. There were few people there so I took a moment to meditate (praying for good health) before taking more pictures.

An inconspicuous statue on a wall in the foyer caught my eye. Focusing on the figure, I missed a small step down and fell hard on the floor, clutching my camera. The fall caused major swelling and bruises on my foot, leg and hand.

I went ahead with dinner plans after applying several ice packs at our hotel and taking medication for the pain. The comical “cow” that came to our table later at a restaurant seemed about to lick my wounds.

The jovial talented entertainers on stage provided a much needed distraction.

I was relieved to return to our hotel where I applied more ice to the swelling. I also used hand towels dipped in cold water. I would have appreciated a small face cloth. But there was not ONE facecloth in our hotels in Rome, Venice or Lucerne. I was glad when a doctor who happened to be on our tour examined my wounds and concluded I probably did not have broken bones.

I tossed and turned all night in utter discomfort but was determined to carry on to France where we would spend two more days before returning to BC.

The next morning we drove out of Lucerne through a serene countryside. I was wondering how my sore foot would handle walking in Paris. I did NOT want to miss seeing Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum.

We passed by an ancient castle sitting on a knoll as if in a fairytale.

Ignorance is bliss. The sun came out as we traveled to France. I had no idea of the awful seating that would await us two days later on our long flight home from Frankfurt to BC. I also didn't know I would spend weeks recovering from flu-like symptoms added to the aches caused by my misstep.

As soon as I got home and before I could unpack, I discovered the swollen bruise on my thigh was pitch black and the size of a loaf of bread. Someone suggested Arnica gel. I don’t know if this would work for everyone but it helped me. Maybe it was luck but after a few days of applying the gel, the color mellowed completely. I no longer have the bruise but I still have some gel to remind me of my rise AND fall in Lucerne.

Explorers can find more sites from around the globe at My World.

9 comments:

  1. Oh, I had no idea you were injured on your trip. I'm so sorry to find out. I hope you're okay now. That big black bruise sounds dreadful.
    Your photos are wonderful, however. We have been debating about trying to see a bit of Switzerland and haven't decided.
    Thanks for your wonderful blog!
    Luv, K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

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  2. Thank you for the tour of Lucerne. I'm sorry, though, that you may forever associate the city with bruising your leg! How awful!

    I like the architecture there very much. I wonder why there's no graffiti! That's great!

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  3. Lucerne is a very quaint and pretty city, I went there a few years ago. I am also an advocate of Arnica Gel, it's wonderful!

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  4. I had a picture of lucern when I was young from the lake and always wanted to go there. Now for sure what a delightful pictures. I love the old city houses I love everything

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  5. First of all I am so sorry about your injury and do hope you are better now. Your trip sounds fantastic! And your photos are superb! I love Lucerne and your photos brought back such lovely memories! I do love the architecture!! Hope your have a wonderful week! Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

    Sylvia

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  6. What a wonderful trip except for your fall and bruises of course. Your photos are wonderful.

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  7. Sometimes, I could get so clumsy, my head spinning which way to capture shots, I trip and fall, too!

    Your Lucerne is way too beautiful than the Lucerne we pass on the way to Big Bear.

    Your photos say it all, I need to visit Switzerland.

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  8. Reminds me of my trip to Lucerne. The Chapel bridge looks beautiful with the flowers blooming , I saw it in mid April.

    Hope your leg has healed well by now.

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  9. Ouch - poor you! Arnica works wonders. So glad your camera was OK though...

    Thank you for these lovely shots of Lucerne - so picturesque and gorgeous in spite of the gray weather!

    Hope you're now much much better!

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