Day 10 - Lucerne

Trip Start Jun 20, 2012
Trip End Jul 05, 2012

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Flag of Switzerland  , Lucerne,
Friday, June 29, 2012

Switzerland run with OB and Tony to Samen. We run along the river into Samen's city square. It's a good warmup for our day on Mt. Pilatus. We bus to Luzern (which confuses the kids because we pass the lift on the way) where we catch the ferry back to Mt. Pilatus. It's a beautiful ride. Anthony and I stand on the side and talk about Cali, education, and Germans. It's just the wide ranging talk that is so energizing here.

Back at Mt. Pilatus we take the longest cog-wheel railroad in the world. Several of the kids in our car are frightened of heights (I'm really proud of the sense of adventure that most of our kids show). It's an awesome ride as we climb the 7000 feet!!!! Once we get there, I climb to the highest point - a little over the 7000 feet mark. Fantastic view - even the kids say that this is a high point (not sure if they understood the pun) of the tour so far. After descending, Rachel and I do a little shopping - that I enjoy. There's a hotel on the top, and we can only imagine how wonderful it would be to wake up on top of Mt. Pilatus.

We take a gondola (think ski lift) down to the Alpine Sled. The sled is awesome. I think that every kid goes down. I wait behind Rachel and then catch her about three quarters of the way down. Then we travel backwards up the mountain which is almost as great as speeding down. Anthony is a bit miffed that I clocked a faster time, so he goes again (it's free for him as a tour guide) and does beat my time. We both lose to a student who flashes by at 51 kpm. That's moving.

We take another gondola down to Luzern, but this time just the two of us. We swing lazily down the hill, looking down on the approaching city - at pools, bell cows, and fire wood. A most fantastic approach into any place. It's a hot day in Switzerland - 34 degrees celsius, so by the time we break for lunch we're ready for a break from the sun and kids. Rachel and I lunch next to the river - nachos and beer from a British Pub. It's a great view, and a relaxing moment. The Swiss - again - are friendly and talkative. In fact, I talk soccer hooligans with the bartender (who has two broken fingers from breaking up a bar fight after Portugal lost to Spain in the semi-finals).

After lunch we tour Luzern - Anthony starts a water fight at one of the fountains. We climb the old city walls. We talk to Anthony about his favorite place in the world: Bolivia. It's an unexpected choice, but as we get to know our guide it makes more and more sense. He talks about the physical beauty of the country, but also about the fact that the indigenous people who survived. This leads to a literature discussion, and thus travel edifies.

Eventually, Rachel and I let ourselves fall behind and take pictures again by the river. Photos, photos, photos. I end up taking 230 for the day. I'm not sure if any of them are any good, but that's not why I take them. It's a way of capturing the moment, but my way of personalizing it. I don't like video because I think it messes with memory. Video is the story; it stops discussion, digression, story-telling. Pictures are the jumping point into a verbal history. This journal is supplemented by the photos, but it's the story telling that gives meaning to the photos. Beautiful photos are wonderful, but the story behind the photo provides the context and meaning to make the photos personal. When we reconnect with Brook - our wandering expert - he gives us a mini-tour of a back square with painted buildings - storytellers in their own way.

We bus home (Brook wants me to go to an art museum). I talk to Anthony about the meaning of travel, the effects of stripping physical education from public school, and the danger of labeling kids with the alphabet soup of diagnosis. Edification. Intellectual discussion. So different and so interesting.

Down time when we get back (really the first all trip) including a brief nap! I read for an extended period of time. A storm rolls in over the Alps - huge claps of thunder. The rain falls. We eat dinner: vegetable soup, salad, fondu sampler, and spaghetti with meat sauce. Again, seconds offered and accepted. After, beer and discussion...and then Tony tells us he's lost his wallet. Not a good way to end an excellent day.
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