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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lucerne - a gem on Lake Vierwaldstaettersee

An hour's drive south on the motorway from Basel you will reach the beautiful city of Lucerne. The same distance would have taken us to Zurich, also situated on a big lake or to the capital of Switzerland, Bern. And it's an easy drive, the speed limit never higher than 90 km/h. I had seen Lucerne last about 20 years ago when I had fallen in love with it. You often see snow capped mountains around it and it's a good starting point for a trip into the ski resorts.

The outskirts looked a little neglected, but the historic city center didn't fail to impress us.
Located on the scenic Lake "Vierwaltstaettersee", surrounded by mountains, it's a true historic gem.
Best known of all the popular sites in its colorful Old Town is the iconic covered bridge, Kapellbruecke, a wooden footbridge built in 1333 with famous 17th century paintings. It spans the Reuss River and is 204 m long.  It is the world's oldest surviving truss bridge as well as the symbol of Lucerne.

 The paintings illustrate local and historic Swiss life as well as the biographies of the city's patron saints, St. Leodegar and St. Maurice.

Lucerne seemed to be very popular with Asian tourists judging form the arriving busloads. The day began dull and I was hoping to get through the city on dry feet, but we had to buy an overpriced umbrella: almost $25. Restaurant prices here were just as high as in Basel; no surprise there. A sirloin steak cost about $39 and a fillet or lamb rack easily $50.
My other destination would have been a funicular ride up to the Mount Pilatus (over 2,000m high), the local mountain and a lake cruise the way I was shown these many years ago b a dear Swiss friend. 
The Pilatus railway is a mountain railway in Switzerland and is the steepest rack railway in the world, with a maximum gradient of 48% and an average gradient of 35%.. But by early afternoon the rain came down so heavily that we were glad to  be back to the car.

As we didn't make it up there, I had to use this stock photo.

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