Thursday, November 1, 2012

Switzerland on the cheap?

Traveling like a native Switzerlander or whatever, wherever we go is always a fun challenge.  Last week we traveled from our current home base in Basel, Switzerland to the resort town of Lucerne, Switzerland about an hour away.  We bought the round trip train tickets that morning for both Ryan and I and the kids were free (Family of four travels in a second class car for 120-CHF) Then in Lucerne we walked around the idyllic lake town to the Lion monument (Löwendenkmal, free) and then had a picnic on the water front.  Lucerne is an ancient town with medieval ruins littered about town.  There's a historic part of town just a short walk up from the train station.  We walked along the lake shore and across one of the many bridges that are an integral part of downtown.

After a small lunch, we took the local train over to the only working artistin glass factory in Switzerland.  Check their website here.  The tour is free and for a 15-chf charge my daughter got to blow her own glass christmas ornament.  We took time to watch the highly skilled artist create plates, candles and pictures for their store for the Christmas season.  Next we went into the glass museum and walked through the glass labyrinth, saw a fairy tale with glass and mechanical puppets, and played outside at the playground on the water front.

The whole day costs less than 150 CHF meals, travel, and extras included.  This is absolutely a great place for the family to visit and our family will fondly remember our time there every christmas when we hang our daughters ornament.  Had we gone at christmas time, the factory has a workshop for children to color and decorate their own ornaments.  (we may just have to return)

Next time we go to Lucerne, I want to take a cruise on Lake Lucerne.  There are many different experiences available, from a 5 1/2 hour dinner tour of the lake and surrounding towns to a 1 hour panorama yacht cruise with audio guides.  As you might guess this would be a more expensive way to see the city.   There is also the famous cogwheel railway up to the top of Mount Rigi and return by cableway or cruise.  As it was an overcast day and my dear husband is uneasy with heights we didn't bother with this option, though I'm keen to try it next trip.

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