Pickpockets at Lucerne rail station
My brother almost lost his passport pouch! Two sophisticated looking European youths, boarded the train to Lugano along with our family group and started assisting my brother with his baggage. As my brother was hauling up his suitcase inside the compartment's rack, he suddenly realised that his passport pouch was missing. His sixh sense alerted him and he firmly held the hands of each youth demanding his pouch. Out of nowhere the pouch fell on the floor and the youths quickly got off the train at the station. Thankfully, everything was intact though the zippers were opened up.
It's sad that such youths will compel people to start suspecting other normal helpful people.....there are so many nice people in Switzerland. However, one must exercise caution at all times and not take any place for granted. These people will normally be overtly helpful or create a commotion of getting the bags organised.
Just across the road from the Lion Monument is this shop and panorama theatre - showing film of the peaks in Switzerland, such as Jungfrau, Pilatus, Titlis etc.... It was only for 15 minutes and cost Sfr 5 - although lovely to see its much better to see in real life and hike some paths alongside if you are able.
Not all Watch stores are created equal
Upon hitting Lucerne we were taken to the 'accredited' watch seller of the tour firm we were travelling with. Make sure you shop around as often is the case you are going to the preferred supplier because the tour guide and/or company are getting kick-backs for sales.
In Lucerne you are best to have a look at Bucherer for a guide to prices then take a walk. Incidently, Bucherer often give away free spoons - to collect you need to go to the top floor and walk by the 'extensive ranges' to get it. Get your spoon and walk on after a quick browse!!
Fun Alternatives: Have a look at the major stores then wander around for price comparisons. The smaller stores will often bargain better than the large stores but try your haggling skills not matter where you are. Prices will be similar but some shops may throw in engraving etc for free if you give them the right nudge!!
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
Stadtkeller is a folklore restaurant for tourists. This is really only something for you, if you're really into the tourist-thing or a folklore freak. Otherwise, I would advise you to eat your fondue in a "normal" local restaurant. It will cost much less and taste much better. A good restaurant for local specialities withouth the tourist-joddle-show is "Restaurant Taube" (try the älplermakronnen) or "Galliker". If you have a lot of money to waste, also "old swiss house" is excellent, but like I said, very expensive.
This is only for sommer season. Off-Season Stadtkeller is a nice Rock/Pop Concert Hall with a good lineup and much appreciated by locals.
Unique Suggestions: Realize that wine prices in swiss restaurants are very high. It is not uncommen to spend way more money on wine than on food. If you have to look after your money, drink beer or soda. Or make sure you order the "house wine" or other "open wine", it will be cheaper than a bottle.
Fun Alternatives: In and around lucerne, there are always real "folklore" events, such as ländermusig concerts or Schwingfeste. Aks the locals, the personal of your hotel or the tourist information for a real event, that is visited by locals for the real deal. It will not only be much cheaper, but also a real culture experience.
Lucerne's Picasso Museum
My wife really wanted to see Lucerne's Picasso Museum, and so we hunted dilgently until we found it in a tucked-away alley on the north shore of the river. Despite being described in one guidebook as "Extraordinary collection of important works by Picasso from the last 20 years of his life," I'd have to say that while this museum may not qualify as a rip-off, that quote is certainly an exaggeration. It consists mainly of about 100 photographs of the artist, his wife, and his dog hanging around his cluttered house in those prison-stripe pants of which he was so fond. You can see pictures of him reading the newpaper, eating dinner, etc. If you are looking for artwork by Picasso, instead of pictures of Picasso, then this is not for you. (I'd underline the "by" and "of" in that last sentence for emphasis if I could.) And with an entry fee of 10 CHF per adult, it was not what I thought I was getting.
- Museum Visits
Bourbaki Panorama Luzern
I expected a nice museum and a breathtaking painting. But it is really not worth to go there. The Entrance for a student is CHF 6, for adults CHF 8! Save that money and buy something else...
Fun Alternatives: The Lions monument and Glacier Garden is very close. Go there instead!
Swiss restaurant checks INCLUDE service
Don't forget most restaurant bills include service so unless service is exceptional there is no need to add anything further. Many Credit Card vouchers are left 'open' expecting the unaware to add a further 10 - 15%!
My advice? Don't think and...
My advice? Don't think and assume that just because you're in Switzerland, the Rolex and Swatch watches here would be considerably cheaper. Not true. In fact, the Swatch watches here are MORE expensive than in other countries! Alot of consumer products cost a bomb here in Switzerland (Lucerne included), so... enter the department stores and shops with your eyes wide open (not shut)!!!
You need a very strong heart to survive in Switzerland. Either that or you must be a distant long-lost relative of the Onassis... Otherwise, like the rest of us lesser mortals, you'd find that the standard of living here is VERY high and you'll need to earn lots more $$$ in order to survive or live comfortably - without being in debt or maxing out your credit cards! :-(((
The maps we had didn't clearly...
The maps we had didn't clearly show how to get to the Towers so we walked around and around trying to get to them. We could see them but the the roads would be closed or non-existant or gated. We should have asked for directions.
Also, we saw what we thought was a castle up the mountain (see the picture) and climbed up there just to find a run down hotel. I don't even think it was open anymore!
I discovered rather quickly...
I discovered rather quickly that I was not the only visitor in Lucerne in early July 2000. Busloads of tour groups had descended upon the city for apparently one reason, to visit the monument that Mark Twain called 'the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world.'
Here's the gist: In honor of the Swiss mercenaries killed in France in 1792, the people of Lucerne commissioned the carving of a nine-meter long lion, who as he dies, continues to protect the French fleur-de-lis. The lion is carved directly from the sandstone cliff face, and honestly, it does possess a particularly impressive lifelike visage. Unfortunately, it's infested with hordes upon hordes of tourists.
'Oh, my, that's certainly a big lion, isn't it, John?' one middle-aged American woman asks her camera-toting husband.
'Why yes, it is, dear,' John replies, clearly perplexed that the monument is too big to fit in his viewfinder. He takes a few steps back.
'Isn't it funny that 'lion' and 'Lucerne' both start with 'L'?' his wife ponders.
Click. Wind, wind, wind. 'That is funny, dear.' He readjusts his camera for another shot.
'I wonder if there are lions in the mountains here. I hope they don't attack the bus,' his wife continues to ponder. I am not making this conversation up.
It's a very attractive monument, but the tourist crowds do make it a bit hard to stomach.
The gift shop next to the...
The gift shop next to the Lion monument. Typical markups on all items just for the fact that it's the closest shop to the monument. Just go somewhere a little further down to road to save 40%!
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Shopping for Clothes. I loved...
Shopping for Clothes. I loved Lucerne, but it is not really the best place to shop for clothes. It is quite expensive and the selection was nothing extraordinary.