Originally published November 15, 2009
In Switzerland, my tour group stayed in a little chateau nestled in a valley and across a walking bridge from a nearby town. It was supposed to be a chance to relax and explore before driving into Italy, and it was definitely worth the stop.
The weather was slightly chilly by European summer standards, which basically meant that a person needed to wear a sweater and socks. (I will point out, however, that this was the first time I had worn socks since London. I didn’t care for socks very much at the time).
The countryside is absolutely gorgeous. Switzerland looks similar to Austria, with mountains and crystal clear lakes replacing the large, rolling hills we had just left. Waterfalls shower down from the highest peaks, and a light fog blankets everything. It’s hard to describe how beautiful it is, and pictures don’t do it justice.
One afternoon, my brother Chris and I wandered through the town. One of the highlights of our walk was stumbling across an old cemetery. Some of the gravestones date back to the early 19th century. Each stone is different, yet they all are large and impressive looking with a large bouquet of flowers on top.
And, not just some of the gravestones have flowers on top. All of them do. Chris and I wondered if there was someone who did this on purpose, like a hired caretaker, or if family members actually visit often enough to replenish the flowers. I’d like to think it’s the latter, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. I took roughly 50 pictures at the cemetery, and I hope you think it’s beautiful too.
We also stopped in Lucerne, which is the most photographed city in all of Europe. After spending some time there, I understand why. The entire city looks like it could be a postcard. It doesn’t matter which direction you look, it’s beautiful everywhere. I spent a good 15 minutes just staring around wide-eyed, and my brother had to force me to start walking again.
What really stopped me in my tracks in Lucerne was a bridge covered with flowers. It is just sitting there, in the middle of the city, and I’m pretty sure it’s been there for a long time. As I walked across it, I felt like I had crossed over into some beautiful, ancient and alternate universe.
I will tell anyone planning a trip to Europe that they must visit Switzerland. Lucerne too, if they have time. On my next Euro trip I’d like to stay for a week.