Our second full day in Lucerne was our exploring day. It started off with seeing a real life Mika (Bernese Mountain Dog) so it obviously had to be a great day. Our hotel is right in the middle of the city which is great because everything is in walking distance. To kicked things off by walking around Lake Lucerne, which is pretty much the centerpiece of the city. Supposedly this lake is pretty bumpin' during the summer months and locals love to just hop on in for a swim, but it was a tad bit chilly for that. Unfortunately, the tops of the mountains were mostly covered by clouds (cloud shroud), but we got to see some really fancy hotels and then on the way back walked through a residential area to get a better feel how their everyday citizens live.
After wandering we stumbled upon our first church, Hof Church. The best part about Switzerland compared to Paris is there are no lines and you just walk into wherever you want! Hof Church was built in the 1500s and now serves as Lucerne’s Parish church.
Next we went to check out the Lion monument. We did a little research and the monument was built to commemorate Swiss soldiers who in 1792 died trying to defend the Tuileries Palace in Paris during the French revolution. We also found in our own research (not the city provided guide book) that unfortunately no one was even in the palace at the time to defend (Marie and Louis the XVI had bailed) so that’s a bummer. Mark Twain described the monument as “the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world." I don’t necessarily believe there was a lot of competition for the title of most moving piece of rock but hey, it’s Mark Twain.
Following the lion we went to the church we were taking pictures of yesterday. Once again, the place looked closed just like the majority of the city on Sunday but we walked right in without issues. The church was built in 1644 for the Jesuits.
We continued along the canal and hit the Needle Dam. At first you wouldn’t think much of this dam and probably not even know it is a dam but luckily we had our guide book with us. The Needle Dam is made out of Lucerne’s favorite commodity, wood. It was built in 1859 to regulate the water levels of Lake Lucerne and was revolutionary for it’s time. The wooden needles would be inserted or added depending on the water level, and it’s still being used like that today (granted there was a much nicer dam off to the side).
Directly next to the Needle Dam is the Spreuer Bridge, which is not as famous as the Chapel Bridge but is the oldest timber bridge in Switzerland dating back to 1408. Paintings were added to the inside of the bridge in 1626.
And lastly we climbed up to the Musegg Wall. This is the original fortress wall to keep intruders out of the city. There are nine lookout towers that still exist and we were able to climb a few of them. There is a clock on one of the towers dating back to 1535 and is the oldest in Lucerne.
To cap the day off we had some brews overlooking the Chapel Bridge and Water Tower. The water tower was built in 1300! It has served many purposes including archive, treasury, prison, and torture chamber.
Hope you enjoyed your history lesson!