Lucerne and Safenwil, Switzerland : A Brief Visit
Road Trip By Brian Norton | May 11, 2018
We have always wanted to drive through Europe, to see more of the land, places that one normally doesn’t get to experience. On one such brief trip to Paris in 2017, we figured that we could actually drive to Lucerne, Switzerland. Roughly a 615km distance, we could easily cover in a day. So off we drove to Lucerne, a city highly recommended by Swiss friends.
Lucerne has envious temperature year round, with 24.5 being the highest. As such, it’s a great destination for summers and if you love white winters. The entire drive from Paris to Lucerne is gorgeous with (what seemed like) mustard fields in bloom (May) on either side and even passing through a small forest patch. There are regular turnouts and stopping areas to refuel the car and yourself.
We had reached by evening and with light falling fast, we decided to walk around the Chapel Bridge area and grab a bite before checking into our hotel. Lucerne is a very old city which has kept up with the times and modernised very admirably. It still retains its roots and the heritage and culture in art, architecture, food and everyday life is very apparent. These are the things that make travel exciting. Lucerne is kind of expensive. When we were checking out restaurant menus, almost every dish was more expensive than what we had experienced in Paris, London or San Francisco. Switzerland has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world and as such, life here is expensive.
Lucerne is the center for business, art and culture in Central Switzerland. It lies on the shores of Lake Lucerne with gorgeous views of Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi. From Wikipedia: “After the fall of the Roman Empire beginning in the 6th century, Germanic Alemannic peoples increased their influence on this area of present-day Switzerland. Around 750 the Benedictine Monastery of St. Leodegar was founded, which was later acquired by Murbach Abbey in Alsace in the middle of the 9th century, and by this time the area had become known as Luciaria. The origin of the name is uncertain, it is possibly derived from the Latin name of the pike, lucius, thus designating a pike fishing spot in the river Reuss. Derivation from the theonym Lugus has been suggested but is phonetically implausible. In any case, the name was associated by popular etymology with Latin lucerna “lantern” from an early time”
In Lucerne we stayed at the Gasthauz zum Kreuz. Or the Kreuz Guest House. A family home since 6 generations, this heritage property was converted into a hotel in 1936. The owner and staff are very kind and warm, and the food is lip-smackingly delicious. Situated wonderfully to give you fabulous glimpses of the break of dawn, as well as the Alps spread out in front of you, The Gasthauz zum Kreuz, though kind of expensive, is highly recommended.
With the Alps in its backyard, Lucerne is awesome for treks in the Alpine meadows. We spent half a day walking in the meadows, bird watching, then drove to this beautiful village at Safenwil, to meet a friend. A tiny and beautiful village, Safenwil is surrounded by agricultural fields and forests. A sumptuous traditional Swiss lunch later, we went for another walk into the forests behind the village. These woods have ancient rock carvings dating back to 890 AD, and its interesting to see such clean lines in the drawings and also a big cat in one of them.
But we had only so much time and had to head back to Paris. Switzerland is beautiful and our hearts almost wept at having to leave after such a brief trip. But we shall be back for more…