EuroAdventure15: Lucerne

(posted by Emily) 

Thank you all for your understanding and your patience as we get caught up on our summer posts. There comes a point on every trip where we start to feel a bit burned out and tired--but we still want to share with you! So, even though we are a few weeks delayed, here is the rest of our trip!

After Florence, it was off to Lucerne! This post will be more of a photo-essay, since it's encompassing all of our time within the city, but hopefully will give you a feel for what it was like!

15 to 17 July 2015
Lucerne, Switzerland

It took a few tries, but I was able to use up the rest of our Euro coins in an espresso vending machine at the airport. The first time, we had milk only and no espresso--luckily, there was just enough time to get the coffee and enjoy before our flight! Switzerland is not a part of the EU, so we had to be ready for a new currency.

Yet another tarmac boarding! 

Sad to leave Italy, but definitely ready for some relaxation!

In-flight breakfast

Flying over the alps for the first time!

It was immediately evident when we landed in Zurich how clean and put together Switzerland is. The floors are spotless, and everything is well-marked in multiple languages. 

When we walked in to the terminal, we were greeted by a video ad with Roger Federer, welcoming you to Switzerland. My one regret of the trip is not getting a photo with it, but at least there's a video online to share the experience! So clever. 

Since we were staying in Lucerne, we needed to take a train from the Zurich airport. As easy trip, but our first introduction to how expensive Switzerland is! People there do not pay very much in taxes, and it's rare to find a menu with entrees under $25. In fact, a Big Mac meal there will run you $18-20!

Waiting for the train--so quiet and clean!
It was amazing to me how quiet the trains were! We loved seeing all of the beautiful scenery on the hour-long trip.

Our hotel in Lucerne was the Radisson Blu. It was within walking distance of the train station, and right on Lake Lucerne. 

Loved the design of the hotel. 

Our window had the most incredible view of the lake!

We walked around a bit to get our bearings, and then stopped at the Co-op (the local grocery store) to get some picnic supplies. We found a spot near the water to eat and relax. 

A space invader Mario
One of the original bridges crossing the late, dating from the 1300s. 

Trying to figure out where to go to dinner
The first night, we settled on dinner at a restaurant in the old town. We went back and forth about what to do, mostly because prices are so high and because veggie food can be a bit of a challenge. But, we were really happy with the meal!

Rick decided the red ale was one of his favorites on the whole trip!
We had Ålpermagronen, a Swiss macaroni casserole with potatoes and onions, served with applesauce, and a pretzel sandwich with cheese, red onion, and harissa. 
On our second day in Lucerne, we wanted to do something low key to relax. We stopped in at the local tourist office in the train station, to find out where a public beach would be and how to rent bikes. The bikes turned out to be too expensive for our taste, but we wanted to hang at the beach anyway. Luckily, it was within walking distance. We stopped in at Co-op again to grab snacks and beer, then headed off!

The morning view out of our hotel room window
Lots of people lounging near the lake--it got more and more crowded as the day went on

The view from our spot in the park
Pretzels, horseradish cream cheese, and juice

We lazed around for the day, reading, swimming, and getting some sun. After a quick stop in our hotel room to freshen up, we headed off to dinner. Rick wanted to find the Lion Monument, which is a memorial to the Swiss men killed during the French Revolution. It is a huge piece, carved in to the stone of a hillside. It was quiet and peaceful and not very crowded. 

Dinner that night was a must-do for me--cheese fondue in Switzerland! We did a fair amount of research about which restaurant would be best (without breaking the bank) and ended up at Hotel des Alpes restaurant. 

Our fondue came with bread, pickles, cocktail onions, olives, mushrooms, and potatoes

The real reason Hotel des Alpes caught our eye--fresh, warm berries over vanilla ice cream for dessert!

We stopped for a quick sit in the park near our hotel, overlooking the lake

On our final morning, we decided to relax in the park before catching our train back to Zurich. We would be leaving from there again, and also wanted time to check out the various airline clubs before our flight. 

Some sort of all-girls camp or troop, who were singing American pop music at the top of their lungs :) 

The first club we explored--great food and bev options

The Swiss Air club--they even had Movenpick for guests to eat!

After this, it was off to London! 


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