Mt. Pilatus, above Lake Lucerne

The D&O Diary is on assignment in Europe this week, with a first stop in the Swiss city of Lucerne (or Luzern as it is known to the locals). I had meetings there on Thursday and Friday and then I was fortunate to spend the weekend there as well. I say “fortunate” because the weather over the weekend was dead-solid perfect.


Lucerne is a relatively small city of about 81,000 people, located in central Switzerland, where Lake Lucerne (known to the natives as Vierwaldstätterseeflows into the River Reuss. Rugged mountains march away to the South, and to the immediate west, Mount Pilatus looms over the city (as reflected in the picture at the top of the post).



Perhaps Lucerne’s most well-known local landmarks are the two wooden covered bridges that cross the river in the city’s historic Aldstadt. For some reason, both of the bridges cross the river diagonally. Alongside the more famous of the two bridges, the Kapellbrücke, is a wooden tower, the Wasserturm. On the south-facing North side of the river, the embankment is lined with sidewalk cafes, which during the sunny, warm weather that prevailed while I was in town, were full of happy people enjoying the early Spring sunshine.


The Kapellbrücke and the Wasserturm, with Mt. Pilatus looming beyond





The Spreuerbrücke. A portion of the city wall can be seen along the hilltop.



Along the south-facing shoreline of the River Reuss


Along the ridgetop on the river’s North side, the ancient city walls still stand, affording great views of the river, the lake, and Mount Pilatus beyond.


Lucerne’s well-preserved 13th century city walls, with Mt. Pilatus beyond



The lake and the Alps, viewed from the city walls


As interesting as the city’s historic center city is, what I enjoyed most about visiting Lucerne was walking along the lakeshore and into the hills surrounding the lake. On Saturday, I set off along the eastern shoreline, with no particular plan except a vague idea that if I kept walking I would find something interesting.  Eventually I made it clear of the city’s suburbs and wound up walking up the sides of Seeberg, a steep hill from the top of which there were spectacular view of the lake and of the Alps to the west and south.





The next day, I tried the opposite side of the lake, walking southward on the west side of the lake. It took longer walking on the west side to get beyond the more built-up areas, but eventually I made my way to Meggenhorn, a lakeside castle surrounded by rolling parkland. From the meadows above the castle, there were absolutely terrific views of the mountains. It was pretty special sitting in the sun, listening to the birds singing in the trees.


I walked for a total of six hours altogether. Here’s a view back to Lucerne from the Meggenhorn parklands




Even though I was in Lucerne on the last days of March, it was full on spring while I was there. The flowering trees were in blossom and many spring flowers were blooming. Coming from grey and still wintry Cleveland, it was quite a treat to walk through the hills in the bright sunshine.


Saturday was market day in Lucerne. The river embankment was lined with stalls selling vegetables, fruit, bread and flowers.




As much as I would have liked to stay and to continue to explore the hills around Lucerne, I did have to move on to the next destinations on my itinerary. I have been fortunate to travel a lot of different places over the years but I have to say that Lucerne may be one of my favorites. I know I got very lucky with the weather but still it is a very special place.