Sunday, March 23, 2014

A One Shot Deal...

Luzern, Switzerland: a quaint and picturesque city set beside a vast lake and a mountain range that shoots skyward from seemingly nowhere. I had a lovely weekend in this lovely town. However, it will probably be the one and only time that I ever visit this tiny little country. "Why?" you ask. I'll get to that...

I flew from Rome to Zurich with 8 of my students one Friday morning in February. We flew Swiss Air and I was immediately impressed by the airline. It's rare in this day and age of air travel to find an airline that still gives you something to drink and eat for free...not to mention a free small bar of amazing Swiss chocolate. Swiss Air does! They were a great airline and I recommend them highly. I digress. Landing in Zurich, we made our way downstairs towards the train station, bought our tickets, and boarded the train bound for Luzern.

The landscape that passed us by was pretty, but nothing remarkable. Sadly, the day was rather overcast and a light rain fell nearly all day. Arriving in Luzern, our group split up because half of us were staying in one hotel and the other half in a different one. My group trudged to our residence, dropped off our bags, and headed back into town. As we made our way into town we remarked about how quiet and clean everything was compared to Rome. Then we stopped and exclaimed: "Wow! How pretty!" when we came to the Chapel bridge and Old Town Luzern. It was so beautiful. The bridge spanned from one side of town in a zig zag pattern towards the other. Buildings decorated from way back when spanned before us. It was all just so...quaint and lovely! We spent the day wandering the streets of town, seeing the sights, and soaking it all in. We even managed to meet up with the other group. Towards the end of the afternoon we decided to pop in to Starbucks so that I could buy my mug. And this is when I realized that I would probably never get back to Switzerland. The cost. Wow. Now, I knew that it was an expensive country, but I hadn't been expecting to pay 19.50 CHF for a mug. Sheesh! So, after buying my mug I went back out and was greeted with a fleeting view of Mt. Pilatus peeking through the clouds. My breath literally left my lungs. The view was unbelievable. So majestic and stunning! After catching a glimpse of the mountain, my students and I were inspired to shell out the money and get to the top of the mountain.

And that's how I spent my Saturday in Luzern...on two gondolas that took me atop the world, or at least that's how it felt. There are truly no words to describe how incredibly beautiful the mountain top and valley below me was. The clouds swirled about the top at stunning speed and while the view to Luzern below was often impeded, the valley on the other side would be visible and I literally could not stop expressing my amazement. The air on top of the mountain was crisp and clear. Amazing. My favorite moment of the day, or at least one of them, was when I heard the sound of a horn. We quickly made our way outside to find an older Swiss gentleman blowing one of those long horns that curves up towards the end just like the Ricola ad! It was soo cool!!!

We descended the mountain later in the afternoon and rejoined the rest of our group. Thankfully, those who stayed by in Luzern were kind enough to 'scout' out fondue locations for us. They found a restaurant that had cheese and chocolate fondue for about 45 CHF per person...done! And that's how we spent our last evening in Switzerland...before a pot of hot, bubbling cheese and chocolate. It was divine and my stomach was so happy!

All in all, it was a great weekend intro to Switzerland, but realistically---it will be my last time in that tiny country. It was just unbelievably expensive and I don't know that I really want to spend that kind of money again. So, I'm so thankful to the Lord for all that I got to experience, taste, and see while I was there. Memories were made that will last a lifetime...and when those memories begin to fade I can look at my most expensive mug and be reminded!



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