Today we drove from Italy to Switzerland so we had to get up early to make the drive across Italy. On the highway between Italy and Switzerland there is a tunnel through the mountain, it’s 16km long! It really didn’t seem that long when we drove through it but I didn’t try and hold my breath. Once on the other side the country felt like home. The trees the mountains made it felt a lot like BC except that the houses looked odd. When we got to Lake Lucern we stopped in a town called Stans where they have a train and gondola that takes you up to Mt Stanserhorn. We took the train and gondola up the mountain but it was cloudy so the views from the top were non-existent. Some people from the group did get to see snow for the first time and were quite excited. Also a local saw me and my camera and took me down some trail to see a black grouse. I guess birders can spot other birders regardless of what country you are in. We then made it down the mountain and drove another half hour into Lucern.
There we went to the Swiss watch and knife store to look around. Lucern was the town I was looking the most forward to and had a whole route mapped out for us. We started off going to see the Musseg wall and the Zyt clock tower. The wall was built in 1386 and is mostly intact. The clock in the Zyt tower chimes every hour one minute before all the other clocks in the city. We climbed the tower and saw the inner workings of the clock, then we walked along the wall to another tower where we got back onto the street. We then headed towards the Lion Monument. The monument was carved by Bertel Thorvaldsen for the soldiers that died protecting the French Royal family. Mark Twain described the Lion of Lucerne as the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world, and I must agree. Of all the paintings and sculptures that we saw in Europe this one was the best. It is huge and so detailed. Its a must see. (Read the PDF here for more info: http://www.luzern.com/en/lion-monument )
After the Lion we headed to the lake and walked along the shore back towards the Chapel Bridge. There were swans along the shore so as it started to rain we went and took photos of them. Chris loured them closer and I got some photos. At times they were to close for the camera to focus and they were making weird noises. It then started pouring so we hurried back to town to get souvenirs and meet back with the group.
The hotel we stayed in that night was an old jail, it was a fairly good hotel by Europe standards and I wasn’t weirded out by being in a jail at all. For dinner we went to an Asian Fondu Restaurant. We didn’t get any fondu but got a bunch of weird little dishes to pass around and try. For dessert we got slices of orange.