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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

A lion, some wienerschnitzel, and churches Oh, my!!!

We were to take the train from Interlaken West to Interlaken Ost(East) and then change trains to Luzern. This is the scenic way up through the mountains. Unfortunately, our train to the Ost station was 13 minutes late due to technical difficulties. So….we just changed directions and took the less scenic way through Bern. Oh, no, the German train headed to Berlin was the train we took to Bern. The German trains have a history of being late!!! Interlaken Ost was the starting point for this train. It arrived on time in the West station and some how in the 50 minutes to Bern it lost 4 minutes. We would be arriving at the F section of gate 6 and have to be at the A section of track 8 to get the train to Luzern. That is a long way to get there fighting crowds of people getting on and off the train. We knew we originally had a 8 minute layover to change train but that changed into a 2 minute layover. So… we train surfed through the whole train well before arriving in Bern which we knew would get us to the A section. Then, we only had to go down the ramp and find track 8. Sounds simple doesn’t it!

Lots of industry to see along this route from Bern to Luzern as we took the IR, inter regional. We could have taken the regional train with its numerous stops through the Emmental region but it takes longer. This is the region for Emmental cheese.

Lion monument (Löwendenkmal) is the symbol of Luzern.

The “Lion of Luzern” is nestled in a rocky grotto in a delightful little park setting Ten new interpretation panels outline the history and multilayered significance of the monument. The information is in German and English, while French and Italian versions are available by scanning a QR code. The Lion Monument is visited by around 1.4 million people every year, though few of them are aware of the tragic story behind this imposing work; this can be remedied by taking a journey back in time.

The 32 x 20 ft (ten x six-m) work was created in honor of the Swiss Guards who died in the Storming of the Tuileries in Paris in 1792.

Switzerland of faith and virtue

On August 10, 1792, 1,000 Swiss guardsmen were protecting the life of King Louis XVI of France with unconditional loyalty and bravery. The revolutionaries stormed the King’s residence which the Swiss were defending, leading to the virtual annihilation of the Swiss Guard. The Lion Monument, a powerful memorial, pays homage to the selfless heroism of these men.

One of the guards, who happened to be on leave at home in Luzern on that fateful day, was the officer Karl Pfyffer von Altishofen. He spent years brooding the tragic loss of his comrades-in-arms. He then initiated the creation of a fitting monument to the fallen men, proposing the cliff below the Wesemlin as a suitable location. The city raised funds for this major project.

The sculpture of a larger-than-life lion, designed by the famous Danish artist Bertel Thorvaldsen, became a reality in a little over a year and was inaugurated in 1821 – a masterpiece that continues to exude worldwide appeal to this day. The American writer Mark Twain praised the sculpture of the mortally wounded lion by saying, “The Lion of Luzern is the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”

Many years ago, we took the city tour where we learned an interesting story how the lion was turned into a pig. The old tale says the sculptor wanted more money to finish the project. The city refused. He said he would then turn the lion into a pig. Can you see it?

Look at the outline around the lion. Can you see the snout, the ear and the tiny tail?

When Michael and I say wienerschnitzel, our friends know we are talking about the Old Swiss House in Luzern.

Yummy! Tasty! Scrumptious! Delicious! Mouth watering! Are there words to describe this meal?

For many, many, many years when we first started visiting Luzern, we would pass by the Old Swiss House on our way to see the Löwendenkmal. We thought the building looked like a tourist trap. Were we totally wrong!!!!! This is a favorite place of the locals.

This is what the "Old Swiss House" write about themselves. "Some 140 years ago, Jean-Anthelme Brillant-Savarin wrote in his book, "La Physiologie du Goût": "I have lived long enough to know that every generation says the same thing, and that the following one scoffs at it."

This is far from being the case here at the Old Swiss House. This is where professional hospitality and joie de vivre unite in celebration. We live in the here-and-now, yet never lose sight of tradition. On 16 December 1858 taxidermist Samuel Stauffer received permission from the City Fathers to build a half-timbered house on his plot of land called "Weymatte". The property was bought in 1888 by Kaspar Hirsbrunner, who lived in it and installed his photographic workshop there.

Wilhelm Buholzer became its next owner, and in 1931 transferred to it the Hotel Mohren’s inn rights. Managed by his wife, Ida, the establishment soon acquired the character of a restaurant. Generation after generation followed until Philipp, a fourth-generation Buholzer, took it over.

The present Old Swiss House restaurant possesses beautiful rooms, fit for all occasions. The numerous antiques collected over the 147-year history of the house mesmerize our guests and imbue our establishment with an ambience all its own."

This is the Old Swiss House's famous collection of bottles from the renowned Château Mouton Rothschild. It is quite unique! The collection is on display near the entrance.

Philipp Buholzer, owner, came over to speak with us as did Oliver Vaglio, managing director. On a number of occasions, Mr. Buholzer has prepared our wienerschnitzel at our table.

Their popular house specialty is the deluxe wienerschnitzel, very tender cutlets of veal dipped in their own top-secret blend of beaten egg, Swiss cheese and herbs. The cutlet is then coated in specially prepared breadcrumbs and cooked in pure butter at your table. The wienerschnitzel is served with half a lemon and fresh egg noodles.

The meat is pounded thin. It should fit perfectly between the tines of a fork.

We previously have had Pia as our server. The wienerschnitzel is prepared at your table. Now, that is quite a large amount of butter. She used almost all of it.

Copper pan works best!!

Bird's nest shape plated buttered noodles and buttered bread crumbs on top. Mr. Buholzer told us they started serving, about a year or so ago, a cranberry compote with this dish. I loved it!

They have been serving this specialty for more than fifty years; with up to one thousand servings per month. It remains their most popular dish!

The recipe…

  • 150 grams of best-quality veal, pounded till very tender

  • Five lightly beaten eggs, 50 grams grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper

  • Homemade breadcrumbs

  • A generous quantity of butter, 80 grams per person

  • Half a lemon

  • Serve with: fine egg noodles garnished with roasted breadcrumbs

This wine from Bale, Switzerland just compliments the wienerschnitzel so well.

For dessert we had Sgroppino which is lemon sorbet with vodka and prosecco. The blueberry and raspberry started to freeze some in the sorbet. Delicious!!!!

Michael has made this meal at home for the holidays. Amazing!!! My sister gave me her copper pan for when we make this.

The Jesuit Church of Luzern is the first large Baroque church built in Switzerland north of the Alps.

The Jesuit order, founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1534, were active participants in the Counter Reformation, the Catholic fight against the birth of Protestantism. Protestant reformers such as Zwingli in Zürich and Calvin in Geneva divided the predominately Catholic Switzerland. In response, the Jesuits were called in to Luzern by the city council in 1573 to establish a college. Ludwig Pfyffer, mayor of Luzern, offered annual financial support to the Jesuits out of his private funds. The Jesuit College of Luzern was established in 1577 in Ritter Palace, a building originally erected in 1557 as a residence for mayor Lux Ritter.

They were also practicing for a concert at the church. Enjoyable music.

Construction on the associated church began in 1667. By 1673, the shell of the church and the main façade were completed. The church was consecrated in 1677, though the interior was not yet really finished. Several side altars were still missing and even the high altar was only erected four years later, due to financial problems. The onion topped towers were not completed until 1893. The vault was redecorated in the mid-18th century.

Prayers said - intentions written candles lit

The original vestments of Brother Klaus, a famous Swiss patron, are stored in the inner chapel.

Old Town is located on the right bank of the Reuss. All of the old center is free of traffic, leaving it for the hordes of shoppers and sightseers.

The water is very clear. However, those are some interesting weeds growing.

Known as the “Lake of the Four Cantons”, Lake Luzern is a stunning body of water with an irregular shape. The lake has four arms going off at sharp angles, with epic mountains on all sides.

Luzern is especially well-known for its wooden bridges. Today, the Chapel Bridge runs from the New Town on the southern bank of the Reuss to the Rathausquai in the medieval Old Town, zigzagging as it passes the impressive Water Tower.

Luzern's landmark is considered to be Europe's oldest covered bridge. It was built in 1332 and was originally a part of the city fortifications. The pictorial panels, which were incorporated in the 17th century, contain scenes of Swiss history as well as the Luzern's history, including the biographies of the city's patron saints, St. Leodegar and St. Maurice.

Two men were cleaning the bridge.

Flowers smell so sweet.

Luzern’s water tower is a powerful yet attractive construction. This octagonal tower - over 34 meters high (111.5 ft.) - was built around 1300 as part of the city wall and used as an archive, treasury, prison and torture chamber. Today, the middle floor is home to the headquarters of the Luzern Artillery Association. Meanwhile, a colony of Alpine Swifts has been roosting under the rooftop for decades. When these black and white birds return from their winter home in Africa, they bring springtime back to Luzern.

At the outflow of the river Reuss, a historic needle dam, built in 1860, regulates the water level of the lake. The nearby Old Town boasts a town hall which dates back to the Late Renaissance as well as a Jesuit church, Switzerland's oldest Baroque church.

At the outflow of the river Reuss, a historic needle dam, built in 1860, regulates the water level of the lake. The nearby Old Town boasts a town hall which dates back to the Late Renaissance as well as a Jesuit church, Switzerland's oldest Baroque church.

The Church of St. Leodegar (Hofkirche St. Leodegar), Luzern’s medieval Romanesque basilica, was burned down during the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century.

Casting the devil out.

So while the war was still raging in the1630's, the city built its new church, and it was one of only a few churches to be erected north of the Alps in that period.

The architecture is in the late Renaissance style, but there are elements from the original church, like the pair of towers and some medieval and Renaissance ornamentation in the interior.

On the north side of the nave is the polychrome Maria-End-Altar, which was rescued from the fire and was crafted in the 1500's. It shows a dying Virgin Mary surrounded by the Apostles.

Someone was practicing on the organ for the concert entitled "Storm".

Notice the black marble high altar and the exceptional carved wooden choir stalls.

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