In July, 2004, it was my first real visit to the European continent, beyond a quick weekend to Paris the year before. I spent three weeks, doing a fair bit of trainspotting, from points north to points south. Those that have read my earlier post, A couple of days at Tehachapi Loop, know how much of an interest I have in railways. And then I stopped in Switzerland, visiting both Zürich and Luzern. Yes, I did a bit of spotting there. But I also took the time out to walk through the streets of Luzern, happily taking photographs. I was quite taken in by the painting designs on the front of many of the buildings.
Just across the other side of the river (Reuss), is Luzern’s Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche). Even though the shell of the building was completed in 1677, the total completion didn’t occur until 1893. A very ornate building, both outside and in. The ceiling of the building is wonderfully painted with stunning artwork. Just below that, is a lovely pipe organ. Sadly, it wasn’t being played during my visit. It is open to the public every day, and entry is free.
Up on one of the neighbouring hills, is the Chateau Gütsch. This is a castle-like, boutique hotel, which has recently undergone renovation. Due to its location, this hotel has stunning views over the old town and the lake. It did have a cable car, to provide access to the top, but I’m not sure whether this is still in operation.
Last, but not least, there’s the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), and Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee). The bridge was actually rebuilt, after burning down in 1993. It provides one of the several available crossings over the Reuss, and no visit to Luzern is complete without it.
Luzern is easily reachable by train from Zürich HB (Zürich’s main station). Direct trains run every half an hour (or better), and take only an hour. Luzern is an easily walkable city, particularly the old town area. For trips further afield, or to just simply take the weight off your feet, there is an excellent local bus network.