Days: 0 - 3
June 11 - 15
What We Had
Rain...Rain...& more Rain
High: 68º
Lo: 55º
Averages
High: 70º
Lo: 52º
Currently
CHF
Conversion rate on
our visit:
CHF1.00 = $.9644
Luzern
                    
   
  Overview
Daily Itinerary Days 1-3

Each day Fabian (our tour guide) posted an itinerary for the days activities. In Luzern this meant three postings. Starting with the first day of the trip when we all met for the first time. Next was our first full day of activity followed by the third day of the tour when we packed up and moved on to the next city.

Day 1

Days 2-3

Days 3-4
   
  WOW Moment
Food...Glorious Food

Most WOW moments involved something we saw that really made an impression. In this case what we saw wasn't a thing but the prices for FOOD. Restaurant meals started at CHF 22! We stopped to get Jan a small cup of coffee that cost CHF 5. A Burger King combo (burger, fries and a drink) was CHF 15.

BTW if you haven't guessed CHF is Swiss Franc...about $.97
Luzern Engelberg Lugano Murren Lausanne Bern
•  Food...Glorious Food

•  Around Zurick on Day 0
•  City Tour
•  From home to Zurick
•  Lion Monument
•  Panorama Rundfart
•  The first day of the tour
•  Transportation Museum

•  Breakfast at the hotel
•  Confiseur Bachmann AG
•  Coop Restaurant
•  Manora Restaurant
•  Rossini
•  Wirtshaus Taube

•  Des Alpes Hotel

Zurich to Luzern Train Ticket
Luzern Transport Museum
Group Boat Ride Ticket
Bus Ticket
  What We Saw
From home to Zurick

The flight out of Windsor left an hour later then we expected. We didn't have to leave home until a little before noon...just in time to drop Dex off at the doggy hotel.

On the way down we were worried that we would run into a closed expressway. I noticed the night before we left that I94 was closed between the Lodge and I69...directly on our route, So we took a rather round about way. I96 to M52 to I94 to Southfield to I75 to the Lodge to the tunnel. Good thing Don had told us all about the problems with I275 so we didn't have to be bothered with that situation.

Windsor to Toronto went without a hitch. A smaller plane filled to the brim. Economy plus got us on first and seated in the front so we got off right up front. We had to move from concourse D to E. We thought we had a bunch of time...but not so. When we arrived at our gate...we were boarding!At least we had a potty stop.

Since we were in economy plus we boarded right away...love EP. Our seats are at the front of EP right behind the bulkhead...lots of room.

As you can see from the menu we had a choice between chicken and ravioli. Linda had the chicken and I had the ravioli. Yum! And the wine was tasty as well.

      
  What We Saw
Around Zurick on Day 0

We checked in to our hotel (and before the room was ready) so we decided to walk back toward the train station to find some food. Speaking of food I have a separate section for that. A WOW moment. After grabbing food and eating it in the ferry boat terminal (to get out of the rain), we walked along the river to the covered Chapel Bridge. The area was from a travel brochure. Very cool.

And a River runs through it
   
  What We Saw
Lion Monument

Taken from the Swiss Lion Monument website: The Lion Monument (German: Löwendenkmal), or the Lion of Lucerne, is a sculpture in Lucerne, Switzerland, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris, France. The American writer Mark Twain (1835 1910) praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world." Want to know more?

Lion Monument
Denkmalstrasse 4
6002 Luzern
Tel: +41 (0)41 227 17 17
      
  What We Saw
Panorama Rundfart

We decided to take a tour of the lake aboard one of the many sightseeing boats. As Rick says it cost us CHF 25 per person and lasted about an hour. Certainly not a must see but if you have the time, we recommend it. There was a narration along the way (in 10 different languages) to give you a history of the lake and the area around it. They cover the two major mountain peaks (with stories and legends) and the formation of the governing bodies that ring the lake. If you can spend the time and the CHF 50, it's an enjoyable trip.

Panorama Rundfart
Saphir Panorama Yacht
   
  What We Saw
The first day of the tour

We started out with our tour group just before 5:00. Instead of meeting in the hotel restaurant (which we've done on most of the Rick Steve's tours) we boarded the tour boat (pictured below) for the second cruise of the day. It wasn't as long as the first cruise, but still fun.

We then followed up the cruise with a visit (you guessed it) the Lion Monument! Looked just like it did in the morning but I took one picture since it was at a different height and angle. That picture is shown below.

After a BRIEF timeout at the hotel we headed out for dinner at the Wirtahaus Taube (check out Where We Ate). A ten minute walk from the hotel and the food was great.

So ended our first day. We're still beat from the jet lag so early to bed.
  What We Saw
City Tour

Our City Tour with Claudia (our local guide) proved that having a knowledgeable person talk about their city is always better then just getting info from a book (sorry Rick).

She started with a description of the annual Carnival (February just before Ash Wednesday). The town turns out at 5:00 am to start the festivities. They all dress in costume and wear extremely elaborate masks (no face painting here). Starting at the fountain (just out our front door and to the right) they parade with Fritschi and his wife leading the way and generally have a great time raising hell before Lent begins. The Carnival Painting above (and the close up shots) give sort of a summary of the activities to welcome nature back from winter.

We continued our walk with Claudia describing and explaining the artwork we saw on a many of the buildings. The are a couple of pictures these buildings below. There are many more.

The final picture shows how heavy the water in the Reus river was flowing (click the Map button below for the location). There are a series of weirs in the river used to regulate its flow. In the spring the water is high since the spring rain and snow melt raises the level of Lake Luzern. The weirs in the river are open during this time to let the extra water run out. In the summer, the weirs are closed to slow/stop the flow through the river to keep the lake at an optimal level. We were told that the environment of the lake would be dramatically diminished without the ability to regulate the river using the weirs.
Hearing from Claudia (our local guide)
HEAVY FLOW through the Reuss
   
  What We Saw
Transportation Museum

Our visit to the transportation museum was interesting but not the high point of the tour (I know it's still early). There were some highlights however.
  • The model of the Gotthard cantons (counties) of Graugunden. It was carved (2500 man hours) from 24 tons of solid granite. The scale is 1:25,000.
  • Then there is the model of the newest Gotthard tunnel (35 miles long) showing the path, depth, the temperature at the various locations, etc. The tunnel JUST opened after 20 years of work.
  • The steam powered snow thrower. It shot snow 300 feet sideways at a height of 55 feet.
  • The automated display was really interesting. All the cars on display can be moved to the performance stage after being selected BY A GUEST. A audio/visual presentation about the item selected is provided in the language selected.
  • Finally the 1910 Dufaux was designed, developed and flown by Henri and Armand Defaux. It is the actual aircraft they flew over Lake Geneva in 1910 setting a new distance record.

Transportation Museum
Lidostrasse 5
6006 Lucern
Tel: +41 41 370 44 44
FAX: +41 41 370 41 68
         
  Where We Ate
Confiseur Bachmann AG

A place that has decent food for a "reasonable" price (for Switzerland that is). We bought a couple of sandwiches and a small treat. Wasn't cheap but wasn't outrageous. As I said before we took the food to the ferry dock and chowed down out of the rain.
Confiseur Bachmann AG
Pilatusstrasse 14
6002 Luzen
Tel: +41 41 227 70 70
      
  Where We Ate
Rossini

We were looking for a place where we could get a sit-down dinner at a reasonable price Rossini's met the bill. Great pizza (shared), some buffalo mozzarella and a home brewed beer. Good choice.
Rossini
Bahnhofstrasse 7
6004 Luzern
Tel: +41 210 80 50
            
  Where We Ate
Breakfast at the hotel

We had breakfast at the hotel all three days. A good European style breakfast at a reasonable (by European standards) price. Cold cereal, rolls, toast, cold meats, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, juice and coffee/tea. My wife enjoys these however, I prefer an American breakfast.
Breakfast at the hotel
Furrengrasse 3
ch-6004 Luzern
         
  Where We Ate
Manora Restaurant

Just a few short minutes from the hotel. This recommendation comes straight from Rick's book. The top floor of the Manor has a cafeteria style restaurant that is a great value. Now by our standards it would be considered expensive, but by Luzern standards it's reasonable. There was a good choice of both hot and cold foods prepared fresh. From sandwiches to pasta with fresh salads and cooked veggies. You can even take your tray up to the roof top to eat outside with a okay view (nice toward the water but just roof tops everywhere else). Great for lunch.

BTW if you need to visit a store this one has much of what you could need.
Manora Restaurant
Weggisgasse 5
6004 Luzern
Tel: 041 419 76 99
      
  Where We Ate
Wirtshaus Taube

Our first group dinner was great. The choices were limited to fish (with LOTS of mashed potatoes) or a rolled ground beef (tied together with bacon), mashed potatoes and veggies. All were pleased except the excessive mashed potatoes with the fish. Service was very good. We paid for the wine which (like so much at Swiss restaurants) wasn't cheap.

Out Front
Wirtshaus Taube
Burgerstrasse 3
6003 Luzern
Tel: 041 210 97 47
FAX: 041 210 97 47
            
  Where We Ate
Coop Restaurant
We decided we'd give one of Fabian's recommendations a try. So we went back over to the Coop for lunch and a few minutes in the store. There wasn't as much of a selection as Manor but there was plenty. I had a fried pork cutlet, potatoes and spaetzle. Linda had quiche, a role and soup. Good stuff. It is definitely cheaper than a full restaurant and just as good. It's located just down the street from the Lion statue. Recommended.
Coop Restaurant
Lowencenter LU
6003 Luzern
      
  Where We Stayed
Des Alpes Hotel

The hotel we stayed at was great. You can't beat the location and our room was very nice (we went the extra mile and paid for a balcony). The wifi is strong with a couple of devices connected. Rick's description of how to get here was good with one clarification. When you leave the train station and reach the arc, turn left to the main road and then go over to the automobile bridge. On the far side of the bridge cross the street at the crosswalk and walk behind the first row of buildings location directly on the river. This will lead you to the hotel entrance (it's off a small street on the non-river side of the building). It's a 10 minute walk from the train station.

BTW, the picture with the sunshine was taken from just outside the hotel restaurant at the river level. That's Jack in the picture.

Des Alpes Hotel
Furrengasse 3
CH-6004 Luzern
Tel: 011 41 041 417 20
         
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