Luzern

As you’d expect, the inner city hasn’t changed much since last year, and the Altstadt even less. Aside from the normal tourist traffic, the city is busy with a 5 day world beach volleyball event. Luzern’s ‘beach’ is the Lido, a resort area on the lake. http://lido-luzern.ch and http://beachvolley-lucerne.ch It seems the athletes are staying at our hotel. We’re awaiting a room change/upgrade to a junior suite with a lake view. A definite improvement over the view of the air-conditioning unit on the 3rd floor.

Think we’d escaped the Texas heat by coming to Switzerland? It was 33 degrees Centigrade here yesterday (91 Fahrenheit). So maybe not quite the 95-100’s we are accustomed to in Texas, but unusual for Switzerland too. That jacket I brought lives in the hotel room. It’s cloudier today, with a bit of a haze over the lake and mountains, but not obscuring their ever present beauty.

Last night I was able to stream an episode of NCIS thru my Plex server at home to my tablet, here in Luzern, over the hotel wifi, with no problems. There is 4G here, though I don’t know if it’s the same frequencies, and my free data only extends to 3G, so I’m more bound to wifi for data.

One of the advantages of having a GSM phone and GoogleVoice, is being able to make and receive phone calls virtually anywhere you have cell or wifi service (Luzern has a city wlan). But while walking around yesterday, I received a phone call from someone who wanted to have a conference call, and I had to explain to the puzzled caller that I had a bit of a time zone challenge, as I was in Switzerland. I guess they believed me. My wife received a call and the business left a toll free call back number. These US numbers aren’t free to call from Europe, so we used GoogleVoice, which is a US number (and bypasses the cellular network) to call. So to the telephone switching system, it was a call from the US, to the US.

We missed the market day yesterday. It ended by the time we arrived, but it’s held along the river bank on the Hauptbahnhof side of the river. There was still a fruit and vegetable stand on the Altstadt side, with probably the largest white spargel (asparagus) I’ve ever seen.

A lakeside city park near our hotel also has a tourbus parking lot. It’s full. The Altstadt doesn’t feel overrun, but it is evident that the tour groups are out, with a line outside Bucherer, waiting for their afternoon opening. http://bucherer.com/There were three tourbuses parked out front at 3:30pm. Many of the tour groups seem to be Asian. They travel in packs and descend on a location, though fewer selfie sticks than before. They pose before a monument so one of their group can take a ‘I was here’ photo, before heading off to the next attraction. This includes the couple taking a selfie inside the Jesuitenkirchen, in front of the altar.

In the news, it appears the Eurovision song contest will be held in Vienna, which will be during the same time frame of our forthcoming visit there. http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/12/europe/austria-gay-themed-pedestrian-lights/index.htmlYeah. Politically correct street crossing signs.

After lunch at Heini http://www.heini.ch., the ‘World Tour’ (HWT) continues today, with a visit to the Hermes shop in Luzern. Comparison shopping for that elusive handbag. As usual, they were sold out. They do have a motorcycle with Hermes leather seating. Merely 60k CHF ($65k USD). We could better afford to lecher la vitrine.

There’s a first for everything I guess. We got asked for a passport to use a credit card, though they didn’t ask us for the PIN for the card.

The Big Mac index is high here, with the Mac (not the meal) costing 11.70 CHF, or around $12.00! Starbucks isn’t any more reasonable. A vente latte is CHF 7.30. http://www.economist.com/content/big-mac-index

http://www.economist.com/node/2361072

We didn’t patronize either business, but checked the prices just to get an appreciation of price level differences between countries.

The cafes along the Reuss River, along the quai Unter der Egg, on the Altstadt side of the city, are full of people enjoying the sunny day. The luckier ones found tables with umbrellas, with the coolness of the water making it a very pleasant place to spend the afternoon.

Coop is one of the larger grocery stores, and there’s one in the Luzern Hauptbahnhof. Being in the middle of town, it’s really crowded. Even with a dozen cashiers and about as many self serve checkouts, there must have been fifty people in line.

We leave Luzern tomorrow on an early train for Munich. We always try to visit Luzern if we can; it’s such a pretty city. We weren’t able to dedicate the time necessary to make the journey up to Lauterbrunnen this year ; it’s a half day by train (each way) into the Alps. Totally worth the trip, but we’re taking some days to travel to Vienna, where we haven’t been for a few years. Some photos have been updated on Flickr

Jesuit Church, originally built in the 1750’s, on the banks of the Reuss river.

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