Friday, 6 September 2013

CITY OF LIGHT (Friday, September 6)

In the late 1980's Royal Lepage Corporate brought in Laurie Skreslet to speak to its sales staff. Laurie was the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest. His unforgettable talk, accompanied by breathtaking photos, was spellbinding and his message, so transferrable to life, was clear - absolute trust in your fellow climbers. What also resonated with me was the unpredictability of Mother Nature and how in mountain climes weather can change in a heartbeat, often with devastating consequences. My interest in mountain challenges blossomed. No! This body is never going up the side of a mountain. Quite funny to even consider, actually! I do, however, make a great armchair climber. Assaults on Mont Blanc, Eiger, Everest - I have read books on them all. My favourite being "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer.
We have enjoyed three glorious days of sunshine in the Alps. This morning we awoke to angry black clouds swirling around the peaks and a significant drop in temperature. Gone were those beautiful sunny peaks and green mountain fields, replaced by menacing, ugly faces. Six American hikers with whom we dined last night had maps spread out on the breakfast table. Discussions on routes which would avoid travelling above the tree line were underway. Mother Nature is fickle and not to be taken for granted. Today was a great time to descend from our mountaintop perch and head for Lucerne, City of Light.
Lucerne, during the Romantic Era of the Grand Tour played host to Queen Victoria, Mark Twain and Goethe to name a few. Crystal clear turquoise lake waters, an alpine backdrop, a cafe-lined river front, and a picturesque old town with a plethora of painted buildings all make Lucerne a tourist centre.
I will let my photos do most of the talking, but I have to mention the heart, to my mind, of Lucerne. That would be The Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke). This covered and angled bridge, wooden in structure, dates back to the 14th century when it formed part of the town's fortifications. Near the centre of the bridge joins the Wasserman, an octagonal tower that has served as a lighthouse, prison, and treasury. In the 17th century the bridge's roof panels, between the rafters were painted with scenes from the history of Lucerne and episodes in the lives of the town's two patron saints. To walk the bridge, examining these charming paintings is a true treat. The Swiss, of course, have festooned the bridge with glorious flowers making it a feast for the eyes. In 1993, a leisure boat moored under the bridge caught fire and before long, Lucerne's landmark was in flames. I'm betting that guy quickly moved out of town! Thankfully, not all of the bridge burned. In the middle, the bridge is now newer, although painstakingly built to duplicate the past structure. Some of the paintings have been left charred as a reminder of this tragedy. Needless to say no boats may now be moored within the vicinity of the bridge and no one may smoke while walking the bridge. Numerous security cameras ensure this.
We spent two leisurely hours at the end of the day cruising beautiful Lake Lucerne. I will post some of the residences lining the shoreline. WOW! I would say there is a bit of money here!!!
Tomorrow we will continue exploring this City of Light. I am attempting to talk Jim in joining me at their famous Picasso exhibit. Wish me luck!

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