Switzerland Part II: Cultural criss-cross

So, picking up from where we left in my last post, here is part-II of our weekend ventures around Switzerland. After a very relaxing, yet eventful weekend at Winterthur, we made our way back to Vevey via two of the biggest cities of Switzerland, Lucerne and Bern.

Lucerne


We started at dawn from the Winterthur train station and headed towards Lucerne (via Zurich), which took us about 2.5-3 hours to get to. Again, the way to Lucerne itself was as lovely as the city itself, with snow capped mountains standing tall, pale turquoise river flowing along the rail lines, with beautifully haunting misty and frosty countrysides. 

Once there, we took a tour of the city, whilst indulging ourselves from time to time with the local delecacies. Lucerne a.k.a Luzern is a german-speaking city in the central Switzerland, a beautiful historical city known for its medieval architecture and being the centre of transportation, trade, media and culture of the country. Located between the mountainous abode and Lake Lucerne, the city is the most populous one among all the Suisse cities.

Chapel bridge
Chapel bridge
 View from Chapel bridge and the interios of the bridge
Chapel bridge
Chapel bridge
River Reuss
St. Leodegar Church
North bank of Ruess
Lucerne town
Our first historic rendezvous was with the famous zig-zag Chapel bridge, connecting the two banks of the river Reuss. As an engineer, what interests me the most is that the bridge is the oldest standing truss bridge ever built that has stood the test of time, surviving many a calamities like war and even fire! After walking across the bridge to the other side of Reuss, we made our way towards the Church of St. Leodegar. The streets from there took us up the hill, towards the lengthy medieval wall and its towers.

Since it is the middle of winters, the weather was not quite in our favor, with bitter bone-chilling cold wind almost piercing through our coats, stinging into the skin. To top it all, it had also started to rain... But, we decided to go on regardless. The idea was to scale the remnants of the old town wall, existing on the hill above Lucerne. It also held eight tall watch towers, all different in design from one another. An additional gated tower sat at the base of the hill on the banks of river Reuss. 

Starting from the east end of the walls, we trekked through a suburban neighborhood and parks on to higher grounds. The view of the city from above the hilly vantage point by the towers was quite spectacular to say the least.

Cozy red house
The city view
The city
The wall and two of the 8 the towers
 Thankfully, the sky had cleared up too by the time we were by the walls and the towers. The medieval walls and the towers can be considered as quite the architectural feat, with each tower possessing a unique individual character to themselves. 

We had spent quite a while strolling along the full length of the wall, and climbing down the hill to go across another bridge on the west side of the walls, before heading back down towards the city again. There, we made our way towards the historical museum of Lucerne, and the majestic statue of the dying lion - a magnificent monument built into a massive rocky face to commemorate the Swiss guards/soldiers who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution.

The dying lion monument
In all, I am quite pleased with the number of attractions and landmarks we were able to cover in the short span of time we had. If there is anything left for me to do here, it would have to be the trek or a cable-car ride to Mt. Pilatus overlooking the city of Lucernce and its lakes. After spending about 4-hours in the incredibly historic city, we grabbed some light bites that we had packed with us, and made our way for the train station to our next destination of equal grandeur...

Bern


Once on-board the train to Bern, we were again treated by the wondrous and scenic view of the hilly countrysides. I really love the little colourful Swiss cottages/houses on the hill that look more like doll houses, with acres of space between them. It was a while before we got to Bern. But we made it to the city almost at the stroke of 3.

Contrary to the trading centre of Suisse, Lecerne, Bern is the political centre of the country that houses the parliament and all such important bodies running the city and the country alike. Here, we had ample time to explore the parliament from the outside, walk over the enormously tall bridge across the river overseeing the parliament, and also promenade through the lovely town market harboring some impressive fountains, sculptures and enormous clocks. However, the most breathtaking part/view of the trip had to be the view of the Alps on the horizon as seen from the parliament, a beautiful balance between nature and civilization...

But, time and the season getting the best of us, we had to cut this trip short as before we even knew it, it was almost time for the sunset already. And we had yet to make our way to another stop for some evening mingling and dinner, before heading home. In the end, we only had a small window of 2 hours to enjoy Bern as much as we could. 

Well, we now know that for next time, we will keep more time in our hand for this majestic city and cover more grounds. Looking at a bigger picture, this little trip really gave an insightful tour of the cultural as well as educational aspects of Switzerland to me.


At about 5:15 PM, we caught our train to Cossonay, where we were going to meet up with the family of my friend for a lovely Swiss dinner (hint: delicious cheese raclette). 

And thus, concluded our weekend trip in and around the whole of Switzerland, all the way from the very west to the far east of the beautiful and petite country. I will definitely be returning to explore the two cities in my very near future with my boo. But until then, keep an eye out for my next post with more to come on the natural side of Switzerland...