Falling in love with Zurich and Lucerne

Posted by Kirsten Smart on 13 September 2011


Zurich was the first city on our EuroTrip in which we encountered rudeness and utterly appalling driving techniques. I know, it was a surprise to us too. After being bullied by large trucks going 140 km/h in outrageously narrow tunnels, encountering snarky receptionists and paying out of our ears for overnight parking, I was just about ready to give up on Zurich. But then we went for a walk in the rain.

I was overcome with the quiet beauty and calm efficiency of this city. Buses and trains were always on time and everyone walked with a quiet sense of purpose. We decided not to do the usual sightseeing (we had both been to Zurich before) and instead enjoyed just wondering around the near-empty old streets in the intermittent summer drizzle.

We took cover in Cafe Odeon, a classy old bar that is said to have been frequented by Lenin when he lived in Zurich. By the time we had finished a hot chocolate and a Negroni, I had changed my mind about the city.


Just as I was falling in love with Zurich, it was on to Lucerne where it cleared up enough for a stroll in the gardens of our hotel. I was so optimistic about the weather that I donned a long dress and slip slops. Mistake. Our stroll turned into a hike to the top of the Bürgenstock Mountain where it proceeded to bucket down with icy rain. Still, the view was phenomenal and we were licked by friendly cows who were grazing up there. After a much needed hot chocolate, we trudged back down to our hotel, fully soaked but as happy as mice in a cheese factory.

We had planned to take a boat out on the lake, but the rain was relentless and so, clad in appropriate waterproof gear, we settled on catching the (incredibly expensive) funicular railway and then the ferry to trundle through the cobbled streets and wooden, flower-lined bridges of Lucerne.

The next day we set off for Italy. We had decided to take the scenic route instead of driving though the tunnel that would take us straight through to Como – and boy are we glad we did! The drive was spectacular; the roads wound through snow-capped mountains that spilled fresh, icy water into pools at their bases. We stopped off for a snack at one of the quiet, picturesque little pools and again at a cafe on top of a mountain, where we tried to ingrain into our minds the crisp mountain air and stunning view while we munched on steaming bratwursts. A perfect Tschüss to Switzerland.

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