Lucerne, Switzerland

photo: the river through Lucerne March 13-15, 2002

There it is! Right out of the train and the Alpine air fills my lungs instantly reminding me of Austria. There's something about that clean cool air that puts a clean cut through your lungs and says, "Hey man, you're alive!"

Lucerne though, is a city and after a few breaths out of a stuffy train, the air isn't as special. The old town is scenic for day - much more so than Zurich and there are mountains within short train rides. Too bad the best 500-year-old covered bridge is a recon, though a very good one. Some one tied boat under it a few years ago that caught on fire and burned the bridge and it's art. I wonder if the flambé boat owner could ever live that one down. It makes you take a moment to reconsider the other covered bridge and town buildings. They are there now. Behold them. They may not always be. American's mouth twin towers to this thought and the Brits might do the same about their royal family.

Glacier Gardens was worth the visit for the extras. It's a display of glacier made potholes that show this was the tropics before the Ice Age. A simulated Swiss country house, Alpine hut and observation tower were nice touches. They say when you travel long enough, you come face to face with yourself. There I was... from all angles, with ouuch, a thin hair spot (but still handsome)... the Alhambra of Mirrors. Backgrounds inspired by Spain's Moorish imprint have you meeting yourself and infinitely long halls that twist at 60-degree angles. "Go slow" the sign warns - there's a 5-year-old running around and I hear him giggle after smashing himself into the glass. (He laughed the first time at least) Before I came, a Japanese girl was found in tears in the middle and someone had to lead her out.

photo: the river through Lucerne photo: the river through Lucerne

I'm out of the illusion and have a plan to get out to a mountain next day. I met some friendly backpackers the second night, but my heart still wasn't in the swing. I was able to point out a few points of the Berner-Oberland to the Interlaken-information-overloaded tourist and discover old German guys love their model train sets too.

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