October 14, 2014

The Lure of Lucerne

If you’ve never been to the land of cheese and chocolate, then you are truly missing out. Switzerland is hands down the most scenic place I’ve ever visited and the city of Lucerne is top of the list.

Having lived in Geneva for three months, I decided to visit the German speaking region of the country where English directions are a little harder to come by. Known for its proximity to Mount Pilatus, I was initially taken aback by the spectacular Alpine views – and how the locals were so accustomed to it. I continued to be awestruck, leaving them in no doubt whatsoever of my tourist status.

The most notable landmark is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) which sits proudly on the Reuss River. It is the oldest wooden bridge in Europe and has been successfully restored after a fire in 1993 destroyed much of the interior artwork.

The urban legend of William Tell is set here, and the famous overture by Gioachino Rossini depicts the scenes where he escaped across Lake Lucerne. The William Tell Express is a boat trip around the lake and is the best money you will spend. The mountainous backdrop is almost surreal; it is like being transported directly inside a mouthwash advertisement.

If you’re lucky enough to travel there in early spring, you’ll catch the celebrations of Fasnacht. It is an annual carnival held every February and is marked by numerous street parades wherein the locals adorn themselves with elaborate costumes and hand-carved masks.
Another tourist attraction is the impressive Lion Monument. It is a harrowing stone carving of a wounded lion and was intended by designer Bertel Thorvaldsen as a tribute to the Swiss soldiers who were killed in the 1792 French Revolution. The inscription reads ‘To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss’.

When you’ve finished ticking all the Lonely Planet boxes, be sure to simply appreciate the city in all its twilight splendour. It’s like Switzerland’s very own Venice. As a lone traveller, it is one of those cities you can really enjoy without the need for group selfies at every turn. Failing that, you could venture there with your significant other and dress up as a giant mushroom. Your call.