Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Last Day

Swiss countryside as seen from a moving train.
On our last full day in Switzerland, we spent a lot of time in moving vehicles. We took a train from Nyon to Lucerne (and back) and a ferry around Lake Lucerne. It was foggy and sometimes rainy, and I took a lot of pictures through the windows of moving vehicles.

I really need to stop doing that. Although the human eye can ignore specks, drops, and reflections on windows and adapt for some of the movement and actually see the magical scene, the camera cannot. But it's so hard to resist!

After arriving in Lucerne (or Luzern) by train, we grabbed a quick lunch then hopped a cruise boat for a tour of Lake Lucerne.
There are mountains behind that white building.
Our time on the water was blemished by grey, drizzly weather, but there was a nice little restaurant on board, where we had a glass of wine or beer and a hot drink.

I popped out of the cabin periodically to snap pictures of the clouds veiling the steep mountains around the lake.

The architecture in this area of Switzerland has a decidedly more German feel to it. My sister Pat explained that most of the eastern and central parts of Switzerland are more German than the area where she lives (close to Geneva), where the influence is very French.

Here's a funny thing I saw as we were disembarking from our boat.

Seriously, dude? I've had bladder infections
and still made it to a proper restroom.
You can do better than this.
I was speechless. Moving along . . .  We followed a walking tour from a guidebook and headed for the covered "Chapel Bridge," one of the dominant features of old Lucerne.

Bridge over the Reuss River
The structure is ornamented (inside) by paintings.

Both sides of the river are flanked by gorgeous old buildings.

The hotel des Alpes
As we walked, the clouds gradually lifted, and we popped into the beautifully adorned Jesuit church.

The Jesuit Church at far left in this photo (with the two onion domes).

It was here that I [knowingly] saw my first "holy relics" -- bones of a saint.

"Bedazzling" has been around for quite some time.
Back outside again, we came to the "needle weir" -- an old-fashioned dam made of pegs that are raised and lowered to control water levels in Lake Lucerne.

The water flowing around this barrier was so pretty -- I got a little fancy with my camera. This may be my favourite picture of the whole trip.

f -16 | 1/30 second 
Sometimes I take pictures and just kind of cross my fingers and hope that the camera captured what my mind's eye saw. This time, I really planned the shot, set all the controls, found an improvised tripod (a railing) and snapped. And it captured the abstract, rushing feeling, the satiny feel of the flowing water. It looks like a painting.

For contrast, I also took a shot on a really fast exposure.

f-1.8 | 1/1600 second
Can you believe the sharpness? Click on the picture to see the bubbles in the foam. I still like the more abstract version better. But this was cool, too. (Meanwhile, Pat was watching the clock -- we had a return train to catch. Sorry, Pat.)

After this, we crossed over the river and made a rather hurried tour of the old city.

First stop: the wine market.

Would you look at the tiling on the roof?!
Many people who see this facade mistake it for the Last Supper, but it is actually the Wedding at Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine when the host ran out of wine. (Jesus's mother made him do it.)

CALL 1-800-H2O-CANA*
*Not really. Don't call them.
From there we proceeded to (I think!) the town square. Or perhaps it was the grain market?

We were running out of time and had to hoof it to make our train, where I took this picture -- which is why I keep trying to take pictures from moving vehicles.

I was captivated by the colours and the clouds. So I blame this picture on God.

And this picture.

The Lavaux vineyards
It's a crappy picture (you can see the glare on the glass), but the late-day sunlight on the vineyards, and this perspective (which I could not have gotten anywhere other than the train) were worth the shot.

This was our final evening with Pat and Ross, so we went out for a wonderful Moroccan dinner with them. On our way to dinner, the sky put on a little show.

I call these "clouds of God."
Yes. Another picture from a moving vehicle. Sometimes, you just have to go for it.

We enjoyed a delicious meal with more slow-cooked lamb than we could possibly consume.

It was a perfect end to a marvelous visit.


  1. Ack, I am forever taking pictures with my cell phone from the car. What else is there to do when hubby is driving? The foggy pictures are really nice, but YES - those water ones - especially the more abstract one are Perfection!! Love them.
    The detail is just amazing inside those buildings. I cannot imagine the time and money put to use.

    1. I doubt that I'll ever really stop taking pictures from moving vehicles, but I will definitely manage my expectations.


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