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The directions were clear

A lot of people go to Luzern (or, Lucerne, for the Francophones) to see the famous wooden bridge (Kapellbrücke). And indeed, we saw the bridge…but Luzern has other things to offer the intrepid explorer. Not that much exploring is necessary. The directions were clear.

Luzern is an old city, strategically located, surrounded by its lake, and mountains. The city quickly developed an independent identity, and as with all medieval cities with an independent identity, it quickly established a need for walls. The canton of Luzern was one of the original members of the Eternal Swiss Confederacy, and its importance as a trade centre meant that it has long been an important regional hub, a role that continues today. Of course, such cities are often the focus of rivals, seeking greater influence, and it is Luzern’s city walls which we climbed to on this beautifully sunny Swiss day.

We saw many neat things in the city itself, but the views from the walls, on both sides, were magnificent.

Looking back across to the lake, with the snow-capped  Alps in the distance, was a stereotype, but a magnificent one. The sun, shining on the lake, the snow gleaming a preternatural white, the jagged peaks standing ominously: it was postcard stuff, and as  first-time visitor I was really feeling like everything was going my way.

After we climbed the walls, we then walked down through the towers, to walk along their base, staring up at the towers, and feeling the lovely warmth of the sun, as the wind blew through the long grass.

In the distance, across the Reuss (the river flowing through the lake), we saw the famous Chateau Gutsch. This boutique hotel, accessible by cable-car, must command incredible views from the far bank of the river. With its fairytale tower, balconies and obvious opulence it is the dream of our hosts to stay  in the hotel for some nights, and revel in luxury. CIA and I now share this ambition.

Our circuit of the city finished with another view of the famous bridge (which was first raised in the 14th century, but had to be rebuilt after a catastrophic fire in the 1990s), which look more beautiful with the Alps behind it, and the river racing towards the lake.

Luzern is a truly lovely city, and worth spending a day wandering around; don’t be tempted just to get off the bus, see the bridge, and carry on to the Rheinfall.


Photography by CIA &/or PJD; we had amazing guides around Switzerland, and we are looking forward to reciprocating when they can make the long trip to New Zealand.

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