Day 1: Zurich and Lucerne
The first thing that I usually gauge any destination on is that first initial step out of the
airport. Past the gift shops, the welcoming committees, and the people holding up names
scrawled onto boards lies what I consider the moment I truly enter a country. So as I walk
outside with piles of luggage I came to the sudden realization: wow, it’s cold.
Complaining about the weather seems to be a trait I’ve picked up by being a spoiled
Southern Californian who thinks anything under 70 degrees Fahrenheit deserves a jacket.
Nevertheless, standing outside in jeans, a light sweater, and jacket while having wind that
makes the weather around feel several degrees colder seemed to be the common theme
that day. Well, at least I could look forward to stuffing myself with cheese and chocolate.
Touching down in Zurich, our group safely made it out of New Jersey just before a
storm barreled its way through so things were looking on the bright side, kind of. Going
through Zurich we took a tour through the town, stopping at places like the main street
(Bahnhofstrasse), the Limnat River, and Lindenhof Square. While the buildings were
definitely beautiful, the cold mixed with the gray sky left most of us shivering for warmth
and breaking into our luggage to pull on multiple layers. The coincidence that it was also
Sunday morning, meaning barely anyone was out, added to the whole apocalypse vibe.
By the time we got to Lucerne, though, we did manage to get most of the group out
of a zombified state. As we made our way through the town, there was a lovely storybook
atmosphere I felt walking through Lucerne. The wooden Chapel Bridge over Lake Lucerne,
coupled with the buildings that seemed to keep all of their old world charms made the area
a relaxing place to stroll.
While strolling, you might come upon the numerous public water fountains
throughout Switzerland. The high tap water quality means you can easily take a drink from
these places. Most of the water comes from natural sources such as springs and lakes. Some
water is so clean that people can even drink straight from the lake, but I’ll advise against
that and say opt for the fountain.
One notable stop in the area of Lucerne is the Lion Monument. Designed by Bertel
Thorvaldsen the monument commemorates the Swiss Guards massacred during the French
Revolution. The pained expression of the lion as he rests upon a shield with arrows
piercing him makes it seem as if the lion will cry out at any moment. Rather than a stand-
alone statue, the monument is carved into a rock wall next to a pond, creating a tranquil
resting place, contrasting the chaos of war inflicted upon the lion. As Mark Twain said, it
was, “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”
We spent our free time in Lucerne browsing the gift shops and Swiss watch stores,
but maybe it was a small need for something familiar that led my family to a McDonald’s.
Though McDonald’s around the world cater to each country’s culture, there’s always the
promise of a public restroom and something vaguely familiar to home I find slightly
comforting. So sitting in a McDonald’s booth, cold and jetlagged, my family promptly fell
asleep in the booth, in the middle of a busy McDonald’s. It was only after dinner at the
Swiss Museum of Transport, which stayed open late exclusively for our group, that we were
finally able to catch up on some much needed sleep I know we’d need for the next leg of our
journey to Mt. Titlis. Until next time.
Pictures can be viewed at Indonesia Media”s page on Facebook