There’s a lovely Alpine lake in the small town of Cham, Switzerland a short distance from Lucerne. It’s my third trip of the day to the lake and after utter calmness all day, the wind has picked up like a banshee when I started this blog.
Last night, we walked to the lake and had a drink and visited before going to dinner. It is a huge lake and three different hunks of the Alps show up in the distance. I hope the pictures convey the beauty of the scene. Mike, our friend and Alex’s new boss, has been to Cham a number of times, but last night was the first time he discovered the lake! It is that thing of seeing what is around you. Depending on where you stay in a city, your view is of this or of that. Change hotels and an entirely new city can be discovered—even one as small as Cham (around 14,000 people).
An elderly man was swimming in the lake when we arrived around 7:30. The water is about 50 degrees! He got out, went into the building and came out shortly attired in dress clothes including a vest and tie! He and his wife strolled off.
Due to the wind, I relocated to the hotel. Our room is along a wide canal that runs through town. There’s a charming walkway along it the to the lake. It’s a nice room to hang out in except that a backhoe has been running throughout the day a mere hundred yards away as they work on the foundation for a new building. Have you ever watched one of those at work and thought: really? It doesn’t look like what they’re doing is logical. But then, I’m not a construction worker.
Mike took us for a lovely dinner—at an Italian restaurant he has eaten at before. Does our reputation for loving Italian food proceed us or does he just love it too? I had ravioli filled with spargel (asparagus) and with chunks of spargel served alongside it. Delicious. If I ever die in the middle of an Italian meal, you will know I went out happy.
I’m trying to take a lot of Seester-I-Spy pictures. Those kind help me remember the moments more than the shots Alex takes of buildings and such. Not that those aren’t often lovely, but if the picture I snuck of the old man with the cane comes out clear, it will remind me to tell you: I saw an elderly man on the river walk. I passed him by, smiled, walked a ways and sat for a bit, moved to a different bench and sat for a bit and then there he was, finally getting to where I was. It might have been a quarter of a mile, but he did it. He smiled and greeted me with the Swiss greeting. It’s something like “Gertz-ing.” He smiled at my version of that and my reversion to the German, Guten Tag for good day. So he sat for a bit and rested and then he went off in the other direction, perhaps making a big circle.
So, if my pictures like that come out, I will remember the characters who cross my path.
Like the photo I took last night of the tiny Fiat in the entrance to the restaurant. They lifted it in through the windows for the sheer fun of it!
It’s very warm here–we expected it to be a bit like Montana in May. Not so much. Apparently this spot does not get much snow and had basically none last winter. Interesting, eh?
Switzerland is very expensive for food. The exchange rate is similar to the Euro against our dollar and I hate that our dollar is weak. I had a cup of coffee at a little joint at the lake…it cost 4 Francs! That’s about $5.50! For ONE cup of coffee!
On the other hand, Ace packer forgot to pack mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I remembered lotion, at least. Most European hotels have shampoo, not so this one. I washed my hair with bath gel and worked like heck to get the knots out. I made a trip to the Co-op (great stores from here to Italy) for shampoo and conditioner, which cost about the same as back home, so I don’t feel bad about having to buy it–it will get used.
Impressions of Lucerne…it is quite beautiful, very clean, the streets are crazy disordered because of the age of the place. The people are very nice and helpful. There is a lot of English here; there are tourists from every where.
It is extremely, extremely expensive. It is more expensive here than in Italy—even in Milan and Florence when you dine away from the main tourist areas.
We had Chantal as our waitress today at the Casino Lucerne’s outside eating area. She was delightful. Has been to the US because her grandfather lives in Columbia, SC. She went to NYC for two or three days. Overwhelmed by the bigness of the place. She was charming, with dimples and a big smile and very good English. I think she could have sat with us and visited throughout our very good meal.
The Swiss like too much salt for our taste buds. My meal had sautéed arugula in it and it was too heavy with salt. For our evening meal we shared a salad and fondue since it is a Swiss dish. It was okay, but very salty.
Walking along the river a man behind us ordered us out-of-the-way. I turned, surprised. Then saw his get-up and he had both a cane and one of those mini scooters kids put one foot on and scoot themselves along with the other. He was telling me I could jump in the river and swim and Alex would come in after me. Yeah, right.
He got ahead of us to the steps and gathered his things to go up. When I got there I asked if he needed help. He said, “No no. For 100 francs you can help me.” Then he said something like, I could only help him without my husband around because I am a beautiful woman and he doesn’t need Alex there. Something like that. It was hard to understand his deep voice and heavy accent although his English was good.
Other snippets of people and place: