The “Final Countdown” Tour, part 1: Lucerne, Switzerland

I wanted to come up with a cheesy name for this last week of traveling, mostly because I didn’t just want to put “Lucerne, Switzerland” up there. I don’t think I like it, but it might just stay as is.

(This post was written on December 16. Captions were written on December 18.)

I know I’m breaking my self-imposed rule of not posting about my trips out of order, but…

I’m gonna do it anyways. I still have to write about Copenhagen/Malmo, Tallinn, Lapland, and Stockholm but I feel as though those may be written during my seven hour layover in Copenhagen on my way back to Sacramento, or (probably) once I return home. I really do want to write about my time in these places, and I don’t believe they’ll be very long posts as I didn’t do any long tours or anything there, so…yeah. Is it against the point of keeping a blog to write for it once you return? Maybe it is, but that’s not going to stop me from doing it anyways. Sometimes you just gotta stick it to the (self-imposed) man.

…about Switzerland though! Lucerne (or Luzern) was my first stop on my final-week-trek across Europe. This trip is really nice because I don’t really have much of anything planned. It’s just nice to spend time in these cities and relax – I’m not in any rush like some of my other trips. Lucerne was great! I met up with a friend from high school, Dylan, who actually stayed with me in Helsinki for a few days at the beginning of the semester. He studied in London this semester, but he’s been spending his last days abroad in Switzerland. Not a bad way to round out your time in Europe.

I arrived in Lucerne on Sunday night after taking a train in from Zurich, and Dylan and I got dinner at the hotel where he was staying (aka the hotel that he basically had to smuggle me into). I got gnocchi with a gorgonzola sauce, which was delicious. We were lucky to find a place serving food at all; in typical European fashion, basically everything was closed – it was a Sunday night though, so I forgive them. I believe that it was pretty close to 11 pm once we finished, so we just walked around afterwards catching up, and head to bed shortly afterwards.

After getting breakfast the next morning, we went out to explore the city a bit. And wow! I finally saw Switzerland in all of its snow-capped-mountain-y beauty. Dylan’s hotel, the Hotel Zum Weisen Kreuz, was basically in the middle of the most scenic part of the city (I’m guessing that it’s the most scenic part of the city because it’s on all of the postcards I purchased). Simply stunning. The views were just incredible, and it was nice to see Switzerland during the day. It was also really nice to see the sun, which has been rarely shining in Helsinki lately (Hours of sunlight in Helsinki this November – just a bit different from San Diego!).

Our search for some of the more picturesque views brought and our exploration of the city brought us to a couple Christmas markets, the bank of a beautiful lake, a few castle-esque buildings, a school with a really large wall, and many other places. I’d tell you what those places were, but I don’t really know. We basically just wandered around and saw ‘stuff’ – a much more accurate description of what we actually did.

As night fell, we got dinner (I got tortellini) and went to see another Christmas market, where we both picked up different gifts and keepsakes. Just walking, talking, looking at what all of the shops offered was a really nice experience, too. It was great to be able to just see and enjoy the city, nothing rushing you.

Today, Lucerne was grey, foggy, and cold – I’m used to it. We started the day a bit late, spending most of the day just going in and out of various shops. We both picked up more souvenirs and ate our fair share of fresh Swiss chocolate, but other than that it was basically just spending time in the city. A lazy day in Switzerland (and I don’t think I would have wanted it any other way!).

I caught my train to the Zurich airport on time, but it left about 30 minutes late. I then had to make an unexpected transfer to get to the airport, so I was a bit delayed. But I got there on time, so no real complaints from me.

But right now, I’m in Poland (Note: I didn’t have access to WiFi, so I’m actually posting this from Oslo)! To be honest, I don’t really have any reason for being here – sensing a trend? – other than the fact that I wanted to come here because a few of my friends from back home are Polish. So I’m here! I’m excited to explore the city tomorrow (I think I’m going to a castle?), and I’ll probably do another write-up tomorrow. I realized yesterday that by the end of this week, I will have been in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe. That’s neat! I leave for Oslo on Thursday night, but it’s all about Krakow for now!

I can’t believe it, but I’ll be home in a week. Weird.

Click on the pictures for a larger view.

Taking off from Finland. It's been almost non-stop grey for basically the last month and a half in Helsinki, but sometimes there are moments -- brief moments -- of utter beauty when the sun comes out.

Taking off from Finland. It’s been almost non-stop grey for basically the last month and a half in Helsinki, but sometimes there are moments — brief moments — of utter beauty when the sun comes out.

Above the clouds! Look at that (view courtesy of AirBaltic).

Above the clouds! Look at view (courtesy of airBaltic).

Riga, in all of its glory (at least from what I saw, which was basically just the airport).

Riga, in all of its glory (at least from what I saw, which was basically just the airport).

Thanks Zurich.

Thanks Zurich.

Whoa! Switzerland is beautiful when you can actually see the sights. Who would have thought?

Whoa! Switzerland is beautiful when you can actually see the sights/when it’s not nighttime. Who would have thought?

Like, come on!

Like, come on!

Just look at that peak! It's easy to see where Walt Disney got his inspiration for his theme parks...

Just look at that peak! It’s easy to see where Walt Disney got his inspiration for the Matterhorn.

Dylan and I next to the waterway near our hotel.

Dylan and I next to the waterway near our hotel.

Just look at it! Absolutely beautiful.

Just look at it! Absolutely beautiful.

Proof I was in a city called Luzern.

Proof I was in a city called Luzern.

Dylan and I looking at a wall. I don't remember what it was named, but there were conservation efforts made to save it from being torn down, I believe.

Dylan and I looking at a wall. I don’t remember what it was named, but there were conservation efforts made to save it from being torn down, I believe.

Statue selfie #1

Statue selfie #1

Imagine if this was the view from your house...

Imagine if this was the view from your house…

Or this!

Or this!

Switzerland may have been expensive, but the views were priceless.

Switzerland may have been expensive, but the views were priceless.

Absolutely stunning. It's not hard to see why people fall in love with Switzerland.

Absolutely stunning. It’s not hard to see why people fall in love with Switzerland.

At the end of the walkway next to the water. You could sit there and just stare for hours.

At the end of the walkway next to the water. You could sit there and just stare for hours.

The Lucerne (Luzern?) Christmas Market

The Lucerne (Luzern?) Christmas Market

A small band played Christmas songs at the Christmas Market.

A small band played Christmas songs at the Christmas Market.

Statue selfie #2

Statue selfie #2

The hotel where Dylan was staying (and where he had to essentially hide me away).

The hotel where Dylan was staying (and where he had to essentially hide me away).

Always have to snap a picture of the flag of the country I am visiting.

Always have to snap a picture of the flag of the country I am visiting.

What a goon.

What a goon.

(This part of the post was written on December 19.)

Thanks again to Dylan for letting me stay with you! I’ll try to have my Poland post up pretty soon (maybe tomorrow?). Poland was amazing. I really loved my time in Krakow, and I just wish I had more time to spend there. The city was really beautiful, and there’s just so much history that lives in that city. I saw most of the major sites, but I just wish I had a little more time. Oh well. Now I’m in Oslo! I think I’m visiting the Viking Ship museum tomorrow, recalling what I learned in my Old Norse class. Exciting!

Advertisements

One thought on “The “Final Countdown” Tour, part 1: Lucerne, Switzerland

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s