Untours Cafe

(16) Swiss Heartland Untour 2014 (Day 17) Luzern and a lakeboat cruise

Swiss Heartland Untour - May 6 to June 4, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I was up at 5:00am followed by Eleanor at 5:17am. The bird outside our window was again singing its morning wake-up song at 5:12am.  We were starting to take it for granted.  So I took advantage of the opportunity and recorded the sound of morning at Britschgi Chalet.

Eleanor had run out of shampoo and hair conditioner.  At Denner the other day she looked for Swiss versions on the store shelves.  We had no trouble finding the shampoo.  The conditioner had to be nearby.  However, we didn't know the German word for conditioner.  There seemed to be an endless supply of choices.  I got the attention of one of the young girl store clerks who was stocking the shelves.  She only spoke German.  As I was unsuccessfully trying to ask the girl where the hair conditioner was, a lady overheard and told the girl what we wanted.  We thanked all concerned for helping us out.  Eleanor tested the shampoo and hair conditioner before breakfast, and was pleased with the results.


This was going to be a leisurely morning since I couldn't call the Weggis Tourist Office about the carriage ride until 8:30am.  At 5:55am the temperature was 66 degrees Fahrenheit.  Later when we opened the kitchen window, the skies were clear with a few wispy clouds.  It was a bit windy.  The predicted high for the day was 80 degrees Fahrenheit. At 7:30am we had our usual breakfast of 1/2 cup yogurt each, fruit cup (pineapple, strawberry, cantaloupe chunks), coffee, orange juice and 1/2 banana each.

Eleanor did the dishes and washed some clothes.  She unfolded the clothes rack and hung the wet laundry on it with a towel underneath to catch any drips.  At 8:45am I called the Weggis Tourist Office.  The horse drawn carriage ride was cancelled.  Not enough people had signed up.  So a change in plans was in order.  We decided to take the 10:13am train to Luzern and spend the day there.

At 9:17am the temperature had reached 72 degrees Fahrenheit as I took out the garbage and compost to the appropriate locations in front of the barn and beside the vegetable garden.  I couldn't help but stop to admire the first few poppy blooms glowing in the morning sunshine.

We left for the train station at 9:40am.   Since there was plenty of time, we stopped at Gasser's to purchase a roll of painter's tape.  The hems of Eleanor's culottes were constantly catching on the brace knee strap buckles, and pulling out the stitching.  The painter's tape could be easily applied or removed as needed, while protecting the hem from coming undone.  At the train station it was a bit windy.

We arrived in Luzern at 10:47am.

As we exited the train station, there was a lady with two cute dogs near the boat docks.  Eleanor started a conversation with her.  She lives in a mountain village.  Her mother lives in Sarnen.  The dogs, Amou (male) and Soso (female), would be 2 years old in August.  They both love to go for boat rides.  They actually whine when they see the boats.

We laughed at the dogs reactions as someone walked by with a dog.

Our next destination was the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke).  In the first half of the 14th century, this bridge was built at an angle to connect the town's medieval fortifications.  In the 17th century, the bridge was decorated with paintings depicting the development of the town, as well as two patron saints.  In 1993, a leisure boat moored under the bridge caught fire, which spread to the bridge.  Within 8 months the damaged part of the bridge was rebuilt.

White swans are common in the Reuss River.  The swans, as well as other birds, look for handouts from the tourists.

We crossed the Reuss River via the Chapel Bridge.

On this side of the river is Altstadt (Old Town).  According to Rick Steves, Luzern was founded here because an angel shone a heavenly spotlight on the site (the name "Luzern" is derived from lucerna, Latin for "lamp").

We walked down Kapellgasse to the fountain at Kapellplatz before detouring to the eye-catching facade of Restaurant Fritschi at Sternenplatz 5.

The paintings on the front of Restaurant Fritschi feature symbols from Luzern's annual Mardi Gras celebration, which is called Fasnacht. 

Pictured near the top of the building are the restaurant owners, Mr. and Mrs. Fritschi, celebrating Fasnacht by wearing masks and throwing oranges.

We returned to Kapellgasse, and proceeded down through Kornmarkt to Weinmarkt.  There we stopped to admire the facade of a building with a mural depicting the Wedding Feast of Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine.

On the ground floor of that building is Weber's World, which has an excellent selection of Swiss Army knives.

Because of the unusual and colorfully decorated handles, we picked out a number of knives for gifts.  One in particular was large and rugged.  I wanted to have the person's name engraved on the handle.  But the saleslady said that the handle is made of an extremely tough material that won't accept engraving.  However, they could engrave the person's name on the knife blade.  The engraving would require sending the knife out overnight for the engraving process.  The knife wouldn't be ready until the afternoon of the next day.  We were scheduled to visit Zurich the next day and have lunch at Blindekuh.  It would be possible to stop in Luzern on the way back to Sachseln and pick up the knife.  So we agreed to have the knife blade engraved.  The saleslady said that the owner would be in the store for the pickup.  She told us to stop by before 6:30pm. 

By the time we finished at Weber's World it was almost 1:00pm.  It was time to make a choice for lunch.  So we made our way down to Kramgasse and ReussBrucke to check out the menus of some of the restaurants along the Reuss River. 

La Terrazza Restorante seemed like a good choice. 

We both ordered a large beer and pizza.  Eleanor chose Calabrese (tomatoes, mozzarella, salami, ham, mushrooms and peperoncini), while I had Margherita (tomatoes, mozzarella and oregano).  A bottle of olive oil was also provided to sprinkle on the pizza.

We thoroughly enjoyed our pizza lunch and the ambiance near the Reuss River with the Chapel Bridge as a backdrop.  Total cost of the meal came to 47CHF ($53.64 U.S. dollars).   We left at 2:10pm.  Across the street was a small bakery with an ice cream kiosk next door.  The temperature had climbed as the day went on.  By now it was very warm.  It felt like 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit.  So naturally a visit to the ice cream kiosk for dessert was in order.  That would be followed by a visit to the bakery to purchase pastries for that night's light meal.

Eleanor's choice was a single scoop of coffee ice cream.   My favorite was a double scoop of Stracciatella (similar to cookies and cream in the States).  Total cost of the ice cream cones was 10.00CHF ($11.20 U.S. dollars).

It was a tougher choice at the bakery.  We restrained ourselves and exited the bakery with 4 apfelstrudels and 2 mandelstengels.   Total cost: 13.20CHF (14.78 U.S. dollars).

It was such a beautiful, warm day.  The time was 2:35pm. A cruise on Lake Luzern would be a perfect way to end the day.  We decided to take the 15:50 (3:50pm) lakeboat to Hergiswil, where a train would take us the rest of the way back home to Sachseln.   There was plenty of time to slowly walk back along Bahnhofstrasse to the lakeboat docks. 

As we crossed the Reuss Bridge, we couldn't help but admire the artistically designed railing.  I just had to get a photo of the detail in the railing.  In the process of setting up the shot, I noticed that it framed the Chapel Bridge water tower in the distance.

Along the river people were enjoying the day feeding the swans, as well as recording the scene in water colors.

Near Chapel Bridge we spotted this unusual electric powered 3 wheeled vehicle.

The lakeboat departure sign indicated that our boat would depart from Pier 2.  So we settled down at a nearby bench to relax until the 15:50 (3:50pm) departure time.

While sitting on the bench, a young lady passed by in a wheelchair powered by an ingenious device.  It can turn an ordinary manual wheelchair into an electric powered scooter.   

When our boat arrived, we had to wait for the passengers to exit before we could go on board.   It didn't take long for us to notice a young lady Japanese tourist.  She quickly took photos from all sides, up and down at almost any angle. 

At one point she asked a passenger to take a photo of her at the stern with the Swiss flag waving behind her.   After cruising for only 10 minutes, she got off at the very first stop. 

There weren't many passengers on board.  The 1 hour 8 minute cruise was pleasant and relaxing.

We finally pulled into Hergiswil at 16:58 (4:58pm).  That gave us 26 minutes to walk from the boat pier to the Hergiswil train station.  It was a uphill walk all the way, including a a long flight of stairs.

A crowd boarded the 5:24pm train.  Eleanor had to use one of the pull-down seats.  As we were boarding, I felt a few rain drops.  Neither of us had an umbrella or our Gotex wind breakers.  However, the skies in the direction we were headed were lighter.  Lucky for us we didn't encounter anymore rain.

By 6:06pm we were back at the Chalet.  Louise met us at the base of our stairs to tell us that there were new towels for us.  It was still very warm.  So I opened the doors at opposite ends of the hallway to allow for a cooling breeze.  While in the kitchen I noticed a small bird land on the floor in front of the kitchen doorway.  Before I could get my camera ready, it flew down the hallway.  It eventually landed out on the stairwell landing wall.  I managed to get a quick shot before it flew away.  It seemed to be a inexperienced fledgling.  I had a feeling there was a nest nearby.  The last few days a bird periodically chattered at me as if I was too near the nest. 

We finally settled down to dinner at 7:20pm: cheese, strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, red wine, apfelstrudel (Bill) and mandelstengel (Eleanor). 

We had reservations for lunch at Blindekuh in Zurich the next day.  We were looking forward to it.  At Blindekuh, lunch involves eating in total darkness while being served by blind waitresses.  Francy Breon at Untours tipped us off about this place in 2002.  It was one of the top experiences of our 2002 Swiss Heartland Untour.

We were both in bed at 8:50pm.

Total distanced walked that day: Bill - 5.63 miles, Eleanor - 4.16 miles.

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