Old and new
We’ve been home a week or more but somehow I’m still sorting through Swiss stuff and it’s all still very much in my mind.
When deciding how to spend my Saturday I mused on a few possibilities before settling on pootling over to Luzern for a bit of a meander around. It was a relatively easy train journey - just the one change in each direction, previously documented here.
I have so many memories from here, that wherever I step brings them back again. I crossed over the road in front of the station, half expecting to see our sweet Swiss friends standing under that arch, waiting to meet me. Not today - but it didn’t stop me thinking about them and reliving happy times spent here.
It was a sparkling day with a clear blue sky and bright sunshine with enough of a breeze to be comfortable. I walked over the bridge into the old town and was immediately transported to some thirty-odd years ago when we stood in this very spot with Edward in his pushchair and the air very tense indeed.
Forgive me if I’ve shared the story here before, but on that day we’d been up there to that mountain, the Rigi, and my Hero had been complaining of stomach ache all day. With a small child in tow, I did not want to hear this non stop whingeing and standing here, I spoke sharply to him: “If you feel that bad, then we’ll stop at the hospital on the way back”. We were staying in Sarnen, a short train ride away and sure enough that’s what we did. The surgery for appendicitis was completed that night and Edward and I flew home a few days later, leaving my Hero in the care of a variety of Swiss nurses. He followed on as soon as he was cleared to fly - not exactly the holiday we’d planned!
I find that travelling alone makes me reminisce and remember. Wandering through the busy riverside marketplace I stopped at several points and wanted to share something I spotted, but with no-one to share it with, I just took a photo instead.
I was fine - I manage perfectly well independently but do quite like the company of my hero, I’ll admit!
I don’t linger in quite the same way, but walk quite briskly where I can and tired of the crowds of people walking way too slowly for me, I turned right, into the small streets of the old town and enjoyed looking at the murals, the signs and the other street scenes here. The scaffolding and building work was never far from sight, though.
I love this mix of old and new, ancient and modern.
I had stayed fairly close to the river and reaching Mühlenplatz, I spent a while appreciating the hydro-electricity operation there.
Yes, a medieval wooden bridge - the Spreuerbrücke - supported by a concrete hydro electricity structure, all blending well together and proving that form and function can be successfully combined.
A brief English explanation at the bottom of the sign explained the significance of the water jet which was not only künstlerischer Schmuck (artistic frippery) but an indicator of the current power production.
Since I was here on the Spreuerbrücke, I might as well continue over it, running the gamut of the photographers.
From the bridge, the power of the water flowing in the river was evident. Don’t fall in!
The wooden bridges are thankfully very secure and don’t wobble at all. For the education and entertainment of those crossing, there are triangular paintings above each beam, telling the story of the Danse Macabre - death is always present!
If, by the time you are half way across and in need of some comfort, then a small chapel offers an opportunity to make an offering and beg forgiveness.
Me? I had other things on my mind. It had been a while since breakfast and walking through that market had set my tummy rumbling. Thankfully, the museum on the other side of the bridge was having a fund raiser and the grill was hot hot hot!
Well, I had to offer them my support, didn’t I? (Yum!)
Bratwurst enjoyed, I wandered back towards the river, loving the details of this building, though it was rather too close to get a decent photograph.
Squeezing into the doorway of the giftshop opposite to get as much of the building in my picture, I spotted and quite liked these cute felted hot water bottles, too.
I thought that I’d make my way back towards the Kapellbrücke and maybe cross over the river again there.
Though it was time for the market to be closing, some stalls were still doing brisk trade.
Not far across is a small sign referring to a fairly recent event in the history of this bridge, though I was surprised it was twenty five years ago!
I remember hearing about it on the news so clearly, for it happened shortly after one of our visits.
Though all is restored, the evidence of the fire is still there to see.
Just like on the Spreuerbrücke, there’s a series of paintings in the gables of the bridge too, though some were lost in the fire.
Those that remain, be they copies or originals, are definitely more colourful than the Danse Macabre!
I reached the other side of the bridge and looked around, hoping to find the Sturzenegger shop I remembered was there, selling fine Swiss linen and handkerchiefs, but it was gone, replaced by expensive Swiss watches and designer labels. Never mind, the little lamp fitting on the corner was worth five minutes of my time, wasn’t it?
With half an hour or so before my train was due to leave, I had time for an ice cream by the lake. I sat and watched the century-old Gallia paddle steamer leave
shortly followed by the ultra modern Bürgenstock Express. I wonder if it will still be sailing these waters in 2118?
On this visit, more than ever, I’ve noticed the rapid pace of change here. Every day is filled with bright, new, modern design and technology is at the heart of much of these developments. But somehow there’s still a traditional charm, an old fashioned grace and elegance underpinning all the progress.
We love Switzerland just much as we always have. When I travelled here for the first time in 1967, on my first foreign holiday, little did I know that this country would maintain such a special place in our hearts.