Lucerne – Switzerland, Day 2

Welp, I thought I’d go ahead and write about today on here since I didn’t want my carrying around this laptop to be for nothing (besides posting for the blog later this week!). I’ll write about yesterday later… This may be TMI for people, but I’m not going to write in a journal or anything, so this is more for me than it is for you. HA. Enjoy.

This morning, I woke up at 6 am and headed out to Lucerne. It’s about three hours by train from Geneva. I tried to read (brought The Alchemist to reread), but was mostly really tired, so I slept for the middle part. I arrived in Lucerne at 10, and luckily, my room at my hotel was already ready! So I threw my stuff in, emptied out the backpack, and headed to explore. Weather: overcast and lightly misty all day long.

Lucerne is broken up by a river down the middle. The north side is called “old Lucerne” and looks straight up like the pictures of  Bavaria and Oktoberfest wrapped up in a town. Lots of gorgeous Alp-style buildings, with huge murals on entire buildings, fountains, and tiny, winding cobble streets.

The south side is more modern, and looks like any normal European metropolis looks. ALSO EVERYTHING IS CLOSED BECAUSE SUNDAY. I walked around both before meeting at a Starbz four a mountain tour. I met a guy waiting for the tour too, and our conversation went like this:

Me: I’m just going to wait out here in the hall until our leader shows up, it’s too hot inside that room!
Him: I agree!
Me: Where are y’all from?
Him: New Jersey, you?
Me: Oklahoma (not obvious by the “y’all?”).
Him: Oklahoma? Wow, I was uh…expecting you to say something like..China. Or Japan.”

Overall, a really unnecessary addition to the convo. Obvi we are all on an English-speaking tour, so we are clearly all tourists, so it’s not weird to ask people where they are from in that situation. (And I asked first)! But…”I was expecting China or Japan?” Are ya kiddin’ me??! Then his wife also was surprised that I was married and told me I looked like a teenager. Thanks kbyeee.

Anyway, the tour was of Mt. Pilatus, home of the steepest cog railway system. 48% grade at its steepest. The cars are literally built diagonally so that you aren’t laying down on the way down. Insane. But before that part...Let me tell you. Mt. Pilatus is named after PONTIUS PILATE. Because people used to think his remains were there? and that he HAUNTED THE MOUNTAIN. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. Dying. 

Took a small gondola up most of the way, and rode with a sweet older couple from Texas that were on the way home from a mission trip in Kenya. Then we took the entire tour group (like 60?) up in a huge-r gondola the rest of the way up, but you could not even see a THING. Clouds. 😦 We had a few hours at the top, so I went on the hiking trail up to the summit. It was not for the faint of heart. There were lots of steep stairs, but also a lot of tunnels that they made into the mountain, it was a cool experience. Then we took the cog railway down.

Once we reached the bottom of the railway, we got on a ferry that took us across the lake back to Lucerne. I hung out with a bunch of high schoolers on an EF tour of England, France and Italy (they just stopped here for the day). It was hilarious because I just remember what it was like to be on an EF tour, both with people you know and the other school from another area. The social dynamics, man…funny to watch. I met a lot of nice people on this trip; families from New York, Chicago, Alberta, Phoenix.

Once back to Lucerne, I had to make a quick turnaround for my dinner reservation. I was able to change clothes to look a little more presentable and made it right on time. When I got there, there was a table set for me with a little chalkboard that had my name on it and a cute little quote. It was a fixed menu restaurant, and it was good!

Drink: Prosecco Cocktail – Rhubarb, lemon, thyme, rosemary

Water: (WHICH THEY CHARGED 4 CHF for): lemon, lime and orange peel and mint

Soup & Salad Course: parsley pesto vegetable soup (tasted a lot like broccoli cheese soup) and a salad with fresh veg. Contained: quinoa, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, corn, some kind of seed (black), sunflower seeds, carrots, watercress, green onions, radishes. Sweet viniagrette.

Pasta Course: Penne bolognese. I’m not a super bolognese fan, but it was good. Topped with cold tomatoes and watercress.

Meat Course: Veal shoulder with red wine gravy, carrots leeks and turnips, and potato wedges. The potatoes were wonderful. Everything else was just okay.

Cheese Course: 5 Jumi (company) cheeses.  AMAZING. A soft spreadable garlic cheese with pepper on the outside, a soft blue cheese (my fave), hard goat cheese, semi-hard (aged cheddar-like) cheese (my second choice), and a weird chili one. The last cheese was kind of fruity, like, when something has gone bad in your fridge and you have to figure out where it’s coming from.

Dessert: Dense brownie square with raspberries inside (she said strawberries, but definitely were not), served with macerated strawberries and vanilla whipped cream. I did eat all of this.

Overall evaluation of dinner: it was good! But it didn’t change my life or anything. I’ve set the bar very high with creative farm-to-table fixed menus…top place: Aizle, in Edinburgh. This one wasn’t innovative, and I didn’t feel like all the elements in the course complemented each other in the way that Aizle’s did.

On the walk home, I called Justin to talk to me. Now I’m home, showered, and ready for another day tomorrow! Headed to Lausanne as my last stop before the conference!

TIDBITS I DON’T WANT TO FORGET:

I was very very apprehensive about traveling to the German side of Switzerland. Because…I speak no German. I literally ONLY know “Danke.” But this is such a tourist town, that everyone I’ve needed to talk to has been English-speaking also. Going on an English tour today helped too. I liked having the opportunity to talk to people. I don’t think I really spoke to anyone besides shop keepers yesterday.

I had to buy shampoo today. Because I got to this hotel and it’s a community shower and toilet situation and there wasn’t any. Luckily most things here are labeled in both German and French, and shampoo in French is “shampoo.” Unfortunately, I didn’t know any of the words to describe the hair types. I got one that said: “egg and oil.” Thank God, it just turned out to be a moisturizing shampoo (cheveux secs means dry hair). I thought maybe it would smell like eggs, but I actually smell like custard…

When I went to bed last night, I was awoken by a sound. I looked at my fitbit and it said 10:55. I suddenly panicked, thinking I overslept and it was 10:55am. Nope, I had only been asleep about an hour.

Their keys are cool here. They’re rectangular and have lots of dents and lines. Probably not easy to duplicate.

There. Typing that out makes me feel not-so-bad for bringing my stupid heavy computer.

xoxo

-h