Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Day 12 & 13 Venice - Lake Lucerne (2 Nights)

We woke up bright and early and prepared for a long journey into the Alps stopping first in Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet. Aaron and I sat at an outdoor cafe table and enjoed a cappucino and chocolate croissant. We had little interest in seeing the house with the balcony that one could stand and image Juliet residing on, mainly because we were exhausted. The famous story of Romeo and Juliet was created about two feuding families in that historic city city and was by all accounts thought to be very accurate for the time and location. I was surprised to learn from our travel guide, Kevin, that the author, William Shakespeare had never left England in his lifetime though he captured the city so well in his writings. We sat in front of the Verona Arena, which reminded me of the Roman Coliseum I saw over a decade ago but in much better condition. Apparently, a lot of the major cities had built structure like this in Roman times as a symbol of pride & power. Today, the pride & power comes mainly from the high-end designer label shopping in town reminiscent of Rodeo Avenue in Beverly Hills.

We left Verona and for the next few hours, I spent much of the time napping on the coach as I was starting to really feel run down from the constant go-go-go plus we had stayed up late the night before with our public bus adventure in Venice. Many people in our group had caught some kind of flu-bug, and no surprise, we were starting to feel it, too. 

The alps were just as pretty and picturesque as one would think; snow-capped mountains, quaint little villages peppering the landscape, random waterfalls carrying melted snow runoff, cute clusters of cows here and there... It was like a fairy tale. We chuckled at the highway exit signs that said "Ausfahrt" because we are still ten years old at heart. We entered a tunnel straight through one of the huge mountains and I believe it was 14 km long. It was enough to make someone claustrophobic being under ground that long. We stopped at a vacation hotspot on the edge of Lake Lucerne and had some lunch, I bought bottle a few bottles of wine to share at he local grocery store (this was the first grocery store I had seen on the entire trip) and we hung out in the park next to the lake and a large fountain with some of our group. Our next stop, we stopped at another town on the edge of the lake and walked around the shops, I looked at a bathing suit I thought I might buy until I saw the price tag was $200. All the shops were very ritzy!  There were shops you would expect to be in Switzerland; watches, chocolates, jewelry etc.

When we finally arrived to Giswil, it was like stepping into a slice of Heaven. We stayed in the "Moon house" overlooking a tennis court and tall majestic hillsides, there was a heart shape cut into the grass on one above us. We were in earshot of the cow pasture with the prettiest cows in the world wearing bells that chime throughout the day. Every year these cows are sent up into the hills on a journey and when they return, their bells can be heard from far away, this is supposedly where the saying "when the cows come home" came from. There was a quaint little church house that also rang it's bells, early in the morning (5a I believe) and throughout the day as well. The whole town reminded me of wind chimes. Bells, bells, bells...

We welcomed the slow-paced two days in Swtizerland, while our group went off to explore the alps or the neighboring town, Aaron and I strolled along the sleepy Giswil streets and came upon a music store. The owners were very cool and they let us play music for at least a half- hour without interrupting us at all. We had been without our instruments for nearly two weeks and so we were jonesing to jam. The night before I was able to play a mini-concert for our group in the dinner hall on an old piano while we all ate our meal but as my dessert was en route, I didn't play for very long (I wish I had played a few more songs looking back though as it was the perfect opportunity -- darn my sweet tooth).       

The meals at the Hotel Krone's restaurant were incredible, so good, in fact that travelers passing through regularly stop there whether they are staying at the hotel or not. The place also has a bit of a music scene with touring acoustic acts playing there from time to time, in the future, when we stay there I can officially book a gig. Loved this place!!

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