Sitting on a park bench

Trip Start Jun 02, 2010
Trip End Oct 03, 2010

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Where I stayed
Lion Lodge

Flag of Switzerland  , Lucerne,
Thursday, July 15, 2010

Okay, so I know I was in Luzern, like, a year ago, but there were a few things I wanted to mention but due to time constraints and lack of adequate Internet access I was unable to.  So here it goes.

Luzern is one of those cities that you visit and you wonder "how come I haven't heard more about this place?"  It is a beautiful city.  Period.  It's main claim to fame is the Kapellbrucke, which was built in 1333.  It is a gorgeous bridge, to be sure.  And what is especially interesting is that within the bridge itself there are painting portraying the history of the city.  However, there is much more to this city that a simple bridge.  Like most European towns, there are numerous small streets that one can just wander down and then come across a beautiful fountain.  And if you wander up the hill that Luzern is built on (which of course I did since I can't say no to a good hill) you will find a wall and turrets that line the city and from which you can get some spectacular views

There is also the Gletschergarten, which is a museum devoted to glaciers.  Apparently in the 1800s a man was going to build a winery on the sight right next to the lion monument.  However, when they were doing work on the foundations they came across evidence of glaciers from the last few ice ages. So, they turned it into a park instead.  It is relatively small (considering the price), but it takes you through the entire history of the area.  You get to learn about when Luzern was once tropical and how the Alps were formed, etc.  It is very fascinating. Plus, there is a hall of mirrors.  It is meant to resemble the Alhambra in Spain, but with lots of mirrors.  I kind of found out that mirrors and I don't get along. Especially when there are a lot of them.  But I made it out okay, even if I did have a few extra bruises.  I would recommend this place for anyone who is fascinated by the earths history and thinks it might be fun to play hide and seek in a hall of mirrors.  (I actually saw a few girls doing this and it was quite entertaining).

My favorite place in the city, however, had to be sitting on a park bench next to the Lowendenkmal.  This is a sculpture of a dying lion, carved into a former sandstone quarry.  The monument is meant to commemorate the Swiss Guards who were massacred during the French Revolution.  I don't know why I was so drawn to this sculpture.  It is quite sad when you really look at it.  Perhaps I liked the spot because it was a great place to people watch.  I can't tell you how many people I saw take happy, smiling, thumbs up pictures in front of this monument that represents something so dark and tragic.  But what can you do? The human race is a funny thing.

While sitting on this park bench, contemplating life, writing in my journal, etc. I met Sue.  Sue is from Taiwan and just decided on a whim that she had to come to Switzerland.  She had been looking through a calendar two weeks earlier and saw pictures of the landscape and decided then and there she had to come.  Can you imagine?  Most people take years to save up for such a trip, after they've taken equally as long to decide where they actually want to visit. Not Sue.  She knew what she wanted and she grabbed the first opportunity.  That is something to be envied, I think. 

Anyway, we talked for a good three hours about traveling and such.  She was actually the one who convinced me to go to Asia for my next big trip.  She even offered me a place to say.  She offered a complete stranger, whom she met on a park bench, her home.  I'm not saying that's always the safest thing to do, but it says a lot about what an open and welcoming person she was.  I really wished she hadn't just come to Luzern for a day visit, because I would have really enjoyed spending more time with her.  But that is the way travel is in Europe.  Everyone keeps moving in different directions.  However, if you take the time to stop and consider your surroundings you just might meet someone on a park bench.
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