Swiss Dreams Lucerne

Text & Photos by Farah S. Kamal

Caught in the charisma and charm of this place rightly called heaven on earth, I was looking at the giant breathtaking Swiss Alps that surrounds the perfectly poised Luzerne at its foot. Also called Lucerne, this compact town is known for its preserved medieval architecture located by the Lake Lucerne in Central Switzerland. On a road trip around Europe, exploring the Alstadts or old towns, I spent a couple of days here enjoying the scenic landscapes, mountains, lakes and the charm of exploring a historical town. It has everything that I was looking for in a typical European city – historical architecture, outdoor restaurants, cobblestone roads, cute little red-roof houses on green hills, meadows and fresh flowers everywhere; baskets hanging from windows, public places, even from the bridges and cathedrals that can be spotted from anywhere in the city.

Since I am not a mountain climber I don’t see much prospect for adventure and thrill in this city for myself. Nevertheless, the nature is at its best around, so I don’t think I need anything else. After a delicious breakfast of flaky and buttery croissants and a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee, I was on my way to an early morning scenic lake cruise, which Lake Lucerne is known for. It was a fantastic and relaxing hour-long ride with music playing, the red-white Swiss flag at the upper deck waving, as if inviting to get an overview of this lovely cityscape. The cool, breezy clear day, blue sky with a dash of puffy white clouds above provided a perfect setting, as I sat on the deck to enjoy the lovely Swiss scenery, stunning mountains and clear waters of the largest lake of Switzerland. As the boat cruised, I photographed many bays and superb panoramas of the breathtaking landscapes. It was just so hard to get enough of the view that I could probably sit there forever and never get bored.

Following this wonderful Sunday morning cruise, having my Swiss dreams come true, I went on to explore the iconic landmark, the Kapellbrücke or Chapel Bridge. This wooden pedestrian bridge built in 1333 spans Reuss River and is one of the oldest wooden bridges in Europe with a gorgeous and romantic ambience through the stretch of it with well-tended flower boxes on either side. Many even find the triangular structure of the bridge above, that is filled with 17th century paintings, something to stop at and appreciate. At the north bank off the bridge I wandered to explore the city walking on the the cobbled streets of Lucerne’s Old Town and crossing all the medieval narrow alleys and squares lined with brightly frescoed facades, boutiques and cafes. It is hard to believe this town dates back to the 14th century because it is so well-preserved with not many signs of having been changed over the years.

Switzerland is famous for watches and chocolates and one can find them at every corner of the city. I made sure to taste Swiss chocolates and speciality cheeses along the way and window shop at the stores of almost every brand of Swiss watches. It was interesting to note that I wasn’t alone, there were many others stocking up on watches, swiss knives, luggage and chocolates. Despite a huge line in one of the shops, I patiently waited to get a personalised Swiss knife and a carton of my favourite chocolates. I stopped briefly to enjoy a quick lunch that turned out to be one of the best meals of the trip. The famous Schwarzer Peter bread is a wholewheat hollowed loaf filled with creamy pumpkin soup. This delicious and satisfying meal was all I needed to feel energised for the rest of the afternoon.

As if already being mesmerised by all the natural beauty around me was not enough, I was totally taken by surprise on a ride to Mt. Stanserhorn. Mount Stanserhorn in Switzerland is located in the canton of Nidwalden near the border with Obwalden. I experienced the journey of a lifetime reaching its peak at 1,898 metres above sea level. We first boarded a 100 year-old wooden cogwheel funicular. It climbed slowly up the steep slopes between the green forests along the valleys and meadows giving us 360 degree views of Swiss countryside along with the unforgettable sights of grazing cows and their clinking bells, farmers working in the fields, cute little cottages and friendly villagers waving at us. We, then, transferred to a sleek double decker Cabrio, world’s first open air cable car that goes all the way up to the top of Mt. Stanserhorn. I climbed the winding stairs witnessing one stunning view after another. Totally overwhelmed by the majestic beauty of the Stanserhorn, I arrived at the top where there is a nice restaurant and souvenir shop. It was a clear sunny day and I could clearly see the Eiger range and Jungfraujoch as well as the beautiful lake Lucerne and the town below. This was without any doubt one of the most memorable trips I have ever made. I came to Luzerne looking for unforgettable memories, and that’s exactly what I got. •