Tuesday, June 06, 2006
One Week Whirlwind Tour - Part II
Lion Monument - Luzern
Luzern & Thun: It was cold and cloudy when i reached Luzern which ruled out the possibility of going to a mountaintop. There isn't really that much to see in the main town. The very famous Kappel bridge is nice and Lion monument is extremely real, poignant and very moving (the dying lion reminded me of Aslans death scene in the Chronicles of Narnia). I didn't think much of the lake because i feel lake Geneva beats any other lake in Switzerland (of which there are many)hollow....Luzern has a wonderful Picasso museum which has some nice works by him and a wonderful collection of photos of the great artist in his later years....very intimate...
I had to stop at Bern to change trains on the way back and as i had some time i decided to hop on to the next train and see some place nearby. Turned out to be Thun. Thun was small and quaint with the most gorgeously turquoise river Aare cutting through and a very swiss town centre (architecturally speaking). The castle that overlooks Thun seemed to out of the fairy tale Rapunzel....or well my imagination of it anyway....
River Aare - Thun
Bern: Heidiland's capital seems completely unlike one. Zurich and Geneva are more cosmopolitan and business like but Bern - simply disarmingly charming! The rows and rows of houses in the old town, fountains and the towering munster make you feel like its another age. I climbed all the way up the munster (some 500++ steps!) which was a bit spooky specially when i would come face to face with those gargoyles...eeks....but the view was fabulous and it was wonderfully peaceful as the gate keeper of the cathedral and i were the only ones up there....
Bern also has the wonderful, wave shaped Zentrum Paul Klee, with an excellent, excellent collection. One work that particularly stayed with me was called "Exuberance" it was a most apt title. The Zentrum is now my second favorite museum, the first being, of course, the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
Old Town - Bern
Alpen Villages: I made my way to the Lauterbrunnen valley (not for no reason is it called the valley of 72 waterfalls....you can hear the sound of water everywhere!) and visited the village of Lauterbrunnen and then hiked up to the villages of Gimmelwald and Mürren. Idon't think any words can describee just how beautiful the valley was. The meadows were blooming with white, yellow, pink and blue flowers with the little wooden houses in their midst and the alps with Jungfraujoch in the background. Yep, i had to eat my words but at least i finally got why Switzerland is such a tourist destination.
Gruyère: a tiny village that made Gruyère cheese famous. The village chateaux offered wonderful views of the pre alps and it was interesting to see how they actually made the cheese. But while the village was the destination it was the wonderful train ride right through the La Gruyère region that was truly special. The tiny orange train cut through meadows such that it felt like one travelingling through a bed of flowers all while crossing lakes, mountains, cows and even deers!
View of Pre-Alps from Gruyère