Sunday, March 11, 2012



Chicago's sister city in Switzerland, Lucerne, is just about one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. It is seriously that gorgeous.

This video doesn't even do the city justice. It is on a lake (Lake Lucerne), which is completely surrounded by mountains (the Alps). I could spend a very long time there--and I wish that I could have bundled it up and taken it with me everywhere. Lucerne was absolutely the highlight of my entire trip. The weather was just perfect the whole time I was there, and I was tickled by the constant beauty that surrounded me. There are very few places in this world that have taken my breath away like Lucerne did.

I popped on the train Sunday evening in Zurich to get to Lucerne around 8pm and was met with this view of the city.

the Chapel bridge

I found my hotel and checked in to an early night, eager to start exploring the city in the morning all refreshed and energized! After a weekend of fog and gloom in Zurich, I was overjoyed to see the sun through my windows in the morning!

adorable square outside my hotel

Lucerne is a city smack-dab in the middle of Switzerland. It is German-speaking (though everyone speaks at least English as well) as well as one of the Catholic strongholds in Switzerland, having survived the Reformation relatively unscathed. In contrast to Zurich, Lucerne boasts beautiful churches that have remained Catholic. I was able to spend most of the morning visiting them, especially since Lucerne isn't a particularly vast city.

inside the Franciscan church

inside the Jesuit church

After some church-hopping, I climbed one of the smaller mountains surrounding Lucerne, at the very edge of town. There are a couple of important monuments on the way, including the Dying Lion Monument, and some very old towers that are part of the old walls of the city.

The Dying Lion Monument, one of Lucerne's most famous, was sculpted in 1820 as a tribute to the Swiss Guard soldiers who died during the French Revolution. Mark Twain called the Dying Lion "the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world". I did not know it existed before coming to Lucerne, but it is certainly impressive.

There are also nine towers left from the ancient walls of the city. They are kept in very good condition, and the view from them of the city is gorgeous. Because they are so important to the city's history, the bell tower has permission to ring its bells exactly 1 minute before all of the other bells in the city!

After a yummy lakefront lunch outdoors (yes, I ate outside. On the river. In February), I visited a little Picasso museum, walked around more, and went to Mass at a beautiful church on a hill. Dinner was Italian, and included a post-meal walk along the river, watching the lights dance on the calm water. I left relatively early the next morning, so I only had enough time to enjoy another walk along the lake before departing, regretfully. I could have stayed in Lucerne my entire vacation. In fact, I wish that I was still there now!

a mountain behind the train station

the city at night

view from the bridge

see you soon, lucerne

pax christi.

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