3 days in Lucerne | Itinerary & Tips

Before I start off blogging about my trip, I would like to share a few travel tips based on my experience there. It will prove to be very useful to keep these in mind (and also big points for saving money in Switz!).  

Travel Tips for Lucerne/Luzern

1. Avoid paying 2CHF for using the toilet at Lucerne train station! Save your coins and use the toilet on the train instead or walk out of the station to find another public restroom or toilet in the nearest shopping place (like Manor or Coop City)/restaurants/hotels.
2. Avoid paying 6CHF for luggage storage service at Lucerne train station. Instead, walked around town to find a hotel and ask for that service. I stored mine on the last day at Hotel Krone and it was FOC
3. You can buy attraction tickets at the Tourist Information Centre. Yes, they do sell most attraction entry tickets there most of the time. I'm not sure if it is necessary but there was no line at the TIC and also the attraction ticket counter when I was there (during month of June).


4. If you have a transparent phone case like me, best be creative with it. Store your tickets like this to reduce the chance of it getting lost and for easy reference. Before this, I just stuffed my tickets in my pocket but I accidentally dropped it when I was taking my phone out. I almost lost my 80CHF Mt Pilatus ticket on my way there but luckily I backtracked and found it lying on the floor. I was having a heart attack.

5. Cheap dinner (10-15CHF) can be found at Manora Restaurant, on the top floor of Manor. I kid you not! It's cheap and they offer a rooftop view of Lucerne city!
6. I also found that Manor has the cheapest price for Lindt chocolate. They also have other brands as well but not much. The Lindt chocolate corner is located at the -1 Floor.
7. Wondering what brand of chocolate you should buy? It's best to ask one of the locals (like your hostel/hotel staff). I've heard many praises for Lindt and Läderach. You can also try Ragusa, Torino, Cailler, and Frey (only found in Migros).
8. Coop is a backpacker's best friend. I've also discovered Migros Hofmatt (just opposite of Bellpark Hostel) which has cheaper prices. I bought a sandwich and a pack of blueberries on morning and it lasted me till dinner for only under 9CHF. 

9. Make use of your bus/train tickets! You can travel to anywhere inside Lucerne (Zone 10) for 4CHF and it is valid for an hour. If you have a round-trip train ticket, you can travel back and forth for more than 1 time and you can stop at any station in between. In my case, I have a round-trip train ticket for Lucerne-Meiringen. I still had time after visiting Meiringen so I stopped at Sachseln to enjoy the lake for awhile before going back. 
10. Sending a postcard home? Why buy them when you can get free postcards instead?!? Look out for free postcards in the Tourist Information Centres. Frankly, they looked better than the ones being sold. It costs 1.90CHF per stamp (international), you can buy them at the Post Office or Kiosks. 
11. It is best to use credit/debit card there, as there are no extra charge for using them. You can find a lot of shops accepting Euros too, but they will give you the change in Swiss Francs. Money exchange can be made at banks but note that they charge a min fee (5CHF per transaction). Euros can be exchange in most of the bank but as for others (like AUD, as I have them on hand) you can change it at SBS (inside the train station) or UBS bank (opposite of Lucerne Station). 



Thursday, 11 June 2015
7000ft above. 

As soon as I got off from the train, I went straight to the TIC to buy the Silver Round-Trip for Mt. Pilatus. I wanted to start off at Lucerne and end in Kriens (since my hostel is in Kriens) so that the ticket is cheaper but the staff apparently made a mistake and I didn't notice that until I left. They sold me a ticket that ends in Lucerne, so I need to pay more. Sigh, I should have trusted myself more. I questioned the staff but they said it's the same, but apparently not when I saw the ticket prices again after I left. But oh well, I made use of the ticket and went into the city for a short walk and dinner in the evening. 

The round-trip takes you to every stop as you can see in the picture above. I was quite confused before the trip because I thought the trip would only take me up Pilatus Kulm and then back down without stopping anywhere. I missed the chance to get on the slide-ride at Frakmuntegg because the last cable car was at 5.45pm, I didn't have enough time for that.

At Alpnachstad station/Pilatus-Bahn. Getting on the World's steepest cogwheel railway.

Now I can say that I have experienced love at first sight


This cute little hut that serves as a WC (toilet)



up, up, up the mountain

down, down, down to the cave
 





Looking at the white building in the middle of nowhere, I was very tempted to hike there because the public "safer" walkway is just very short and was full with tourists. There was a small gate to get out of the walkway and enter into the hiking area but it has a "Dangerous pathway. Enter on your own risk" signpost next to it. I decided to get past the gate and walk around for a bit with my trembling feet. The idea of climbing down and up again with my heavy backpack was not really appealing. So, I actually left my bag under a random big boulder and then hiked down..... for like 5 mins. Then, I just stood there staring at random hikers. There's this one guy who skipped his way down like it was nothing. "Wadaheck, is he provoking me with his amazing hiking skill or something??". I was worried that my bag would fall off or somebody might steal my belongings (plus I was really afraid to go down, it was so steep!!). I chickened out and walked back to the main building... but haven't chickened out completely yet. I found a luggage storage area, and dumped my bag there. Tied my sweater around my waist and walked back again to that very gate.



I wonder why there's old Belarus flag all over the hiking area, but they are usually found at a turn-point so hikers know when to make a turn. 

If only I could concentrate on where I step and enjoy this view at the same time

Small white parish and a cross.
And I made it. I'm so proud of myself. I took around 45 minutes to get down there. To my surprise, I didn't need my jacket that much. Yes, it's cold up there but I think it's the comfortable kind of cold. 


Found an edge where I could just chill for awhile

... now, to get back up again.. 

I think it's the pressure up there that made my hand all swollen up. I kept feeling numbness in my fingers. I didn't manage to see a mountain goat when I was hiking but another hiker who was before me said he saw a glimpse of one but it ran away quickly. I think even if it was in front of me, I wouldn't be able to see it because I was concentrating so hard on not falling off the cliff.  


It was raining a little when I was going down 



I walked to Bellpark Hostel after visiting Mt Pilatus. The hostel is just 15 mins walk from the Kriens Pilatus Bahn. It costed me 70CHF for two nights in the 4-bed female only dorm. There's free tea and coffee for everyone, the breakfast was really good, and there's even a shared kitchen. They have really great Wifi too. I was lucky to stay at the first floor so I have very good Wifi reception from my room. Not sure about the other rooms though. 
I still have time and I have a unused ticket to Lucerne so I took the bus to the city center. 

Chapel Bridge



Spotted a lot of painted buildings there too.



I asked the staff in my hostel about some recommended restaurant he could give me, all he suggested was the restaurant along the river.. Which was super expensive and me thinks, a tourist trap. I don't know. Everything was 30CHF and above. So, I walked around to look for much cheaper option. Then, I saw Manora Restaurant which serves food from 11CHF onwards. I'm so lucky to have found this by chance, not only is the food cheaper (than the restaurants), they also offer a rooftop terrace view. 
You know, normally I would find yummy local food, but Switz is just too expensive for me. I was basically broke because of the bus tickets. Should have travelled illegally without a ticket on the bus, I could have saved 24CHF. 

That night, I also met my dorm-mates. Two from Korea and one from China. I made friends with 2 of them as we clicked quite well. The conversation we had was so funny, we were talking till midnight. It was really nice to have met both of you Su Yeon & Xiao Yu!
Korean travellers are so interesting, they really put a lot of effort into prettifying themselves even when they are travelling. You should have seen the luggage they were carrying with them. Me, I was so lazy. I didn't even bring my contact lens. HAH! It was too much work and I wasn't even bothering how I looked. My gosh, I must look like a "no-no" for them. Doing mask at night, waking up early to make-up, choosing what clothes to wear that day (apparently, colour is a very important aspect, and you have to match your clothes with the make-up look). Gosh, I wish I had the will to do that. 


Friday, 12 June 2015
Blue and green. 

Woke up to this Asian breakfast
This is the first time I've ever seen a breakfast like this. Normally in the hostel or B&B that I've been before, they only serve the normal simple buffet breakfast (cereal, bread, milk and all those simple stuffs). But this, they even use short grain rice. It just feels so familiar to me because it taste like yam rice/nga pou gai fan. But I found out that they used potato instead of yam and there's no chicken in it. Hahaha. Honestly, it was the best food I've had there. I'm glad I get to taste some homemade Asian food.

On this day, I headed towards Meiringen. I took a half an hour walk to Kriens Mattenhof train station and it takes about one and a half hour to reach Meiringen.



Enjoying blueberries on the train and the beautiful panoramic view. 


Even in Switz, they are also using dwarves as decorations. I even saw a witch-&-dragon-themed house. 

Walking from Meiringen train station to the entrance of Aareschlucht



Again, I bought the tickets at the TIC at the train station. It cost 15CHF for the combo tickets to Aare Gorge & Reichenbach Falls. 







I walked from the west to the east of Aare Gorge. The ticket allows me to walk back to the west again but I decided to use another route back. It's called the "Lamia forest route". Well, it's not much of a forest I think. It's not really an exciting hike too. It is better to stick to walking through Aare Gorge since the view is much more impressive. But anyway... 

I had an embarrassing moment during the walk. I have to remember to go to the washroom whenever I have the chance. Nature's call can't be ignored you know. Luckily there wasn't much people using the same route. Sigh, some times I wish to be a man. It's so much easier to pee while standing. 

Lamia forest trail

Next stop, Reichenbach Falls

Getting on the funicular ride

I present to you, the famous waterfall from Sherlock Holmes. 
You know, I never really thought much about Sherlock Holmes, I mean whether if it's real or not. At first, I thought it was just a fiction story and a tv drama. Then, when I went to this waterfall, all I can see is Sherlock Holmes story. This is where he and the villain jumped down and... disappeared? I don't know. Then, I thought Sherlock Holmes were real. But then I went to google him up, and it turns out.... it is a fiction after all. I'm so confused. I've never really read the book, I think I'll be adding that to my to-read list.

And then, I'm hiking up again. My thigh were killing me. Man, having a weak leg is not ideal for this trip. 



Going back down.
It was just a short visit for me, as I didn't hike all the way up to the hotel. I hiked halfway and then went back down to catch the funicular ride again. It was SUPER windy, I was literally stumbling even when I was standing still. Probably not a good idea to use an umbrella here, unless you want to say goodbye to it. I think I missed the chance to walk on a very long hanging bridge. According to this blog (where I based my itinerary from), there seems to be a bridge there! Ah, it's really too bad. I wanted to experience that.
And then I was off to the train station. At least walking on flat ground doesn't hurt my leg. It was actually still early, so I wanted to stop at the lake where I passed by before. I didn't know if I could do that with my train ticket so I went to ask the staff at the train station. It was legal to stop at anywhere along the train ride, so I stopped at Sachseln.



I didn't actually get a good night sleep. So, I decided to take a short nap on the bench next to the lake. Was very tempted to sleep on the grass... but I'm just afraid there would be dog piss or bugs all over it. LOL. The nap was very relaxing. 

Be free! My little toes!

Jealous of the people who owns a house next to this lake. Some are even having a lakeside party!
And back again I go. Time to walk around Lucerne again. Actually I was waiting for the sun to set so that I can see the night view of Lucerne city and the Chapel bridge. It is summer now, so the sun sets around 9.30pm (or much later). I was soooooooooooo tired, I gave up waiting at around 9.15pm. LOL. I know, just a few more minutes, but I just couldn't bear it anymore.

The Spreuerbrücke. Quite an ugly bridge compared to the Chapel Bridge but it is still one of the POIs of Lucerne. 


But the painting on the bridge is very interesting . I think they tell a story, if only I can read and understand them.
I noticed there were undeads in all the pictures. I wonder what is it about. 

The dam at the bridge. Kind of hypnotic if you look at it for awhile

Evening view of Chapel Bridge



I wasn't really hungry as the sandwich I bought for lunch was really big. So, I had desserts instead during the evening. I was back again at Manora Restaurant. 


Saturday, 13 June 2015
Saddest lion monument on Earth. 

The Lion Monument


This is a must see if you are in Lucerne. The monument was bigger than I thought, it looked really small in the pictures that I've seen. It is kind of a touch-and-go place but I decided to sit there for half and hour. It was fun to stare and admire the piece. If you looked really carefully, the sculpture actually has a lot of details. The sad eyes, the wound on it's body, the shield that it was protecting, the lifeless paw and even the tail. Dayum, those curves. Okay, ignore me. The artist in me just want to blabber. 
It was actually quite fun to people-watch there as there were many tourist groups coming and going. I even took the chance to eavesdrop on the English guide, although it was kind of a fail attempt. Can't really listen to them very well without being suspiciously close to the tour group. The people were looking at me like I'm a weirdo. LOL. And the Korean group were so funny. There were so many couples and they were wearing either matching shirts or pants. Gosh, how lovey dovey can they get? And right after the tour guide finished his explanation, all the Korea couples started to take out their selfie sticks and lost control of their Asian selves. Selfies. Selfies everywhere. Selfies 45 degree up, 45 degree to the side, and tilt the camera 45 degree down. I can't contain my snort of laughter. I wonder how the others see me. Am I the same as them? My gosh, I'm so embarrassed. 

Hofkirche St. Leodegar. Churches don't impress me anymore. I've seen too much of them. 
Wandering aimlessly and sat at random places. 


If you are in Lucerne on a Saturday, be sure to check out the farmer's market in the morning along the Reuss river! They are quite fun to looked at. I even bought some cherries. I finally put my German to good use. I think I'm getting the hang of it!  

Even bought a yogurt Strudel

Okay, it was really bad. I should have just stick with Apple strudel. I didn't like it. And it costed me 8CHF.

Jesuitenkirche was under construction. Bad timing I guess. 

Up I go again. Man, all these going up is really taking a toll on my thighs.

I've also visited the Museggmauer (aka Musegg wall)

Medieval towers


Clock work
Clock Tower
Since I had so much time on my hand, I decided to take a nap again out in the open area. And this time, I actually fell asleep for almost an hour. HAHAHA. I wonder if I looked like a hobo. My train ticket was only valid for an exact train time, so I had to wait until 6pm. Lucerne is a very small city, I think you can actually see everything in under 4 hours (even if you take your time). If only I knew, I would have booked an earlier train. There's also quite a few shopping places in the centre, so I killed some time window-shopping and trying out clothes in H&M. 




One final stop before getting on the train. Läderach shop. The chocolates are very damn expensive, it is considered as a higher-end brand of chocolate therefore the price. I haven't tried the chocolate yet. I thought of trying it with my mum and bf when they come here for our Europe trip. Hopefully, it is worth every penny. The lady sitting next to me commented that it is the best chocolate when I was taking a picture of it. If the local said so, then I bet it is true. Can't wait to taste it! 

That concludes my 3 days trip to Lucerne. Switzerland is now officially one of my favourite country in the world. Hopefully, I can come back again to explore the other places. Mountain Jungfrau! WAIT FOR ME! 


Fin. 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome pictures you have here. I'm sure you really had a good time. Thanks for sharing! By the way, I have friends who had a 5 day itinerary in Hanoi and said it was amazing. You should try visiting it sometimes too.

    ReplyDelete