Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lucerne, Switzerland

About a month and a half ago towards the end of May, Kyle and I took a short trip to Lucerne, Switzerland. We were really busy for a while after the trip, so now we're finally posting about it!

Lucerne is a gorgeous town on Lake Lucerne, pretty much in the center of Switzerland. It's only about a two hour and forty-five minute drive from our house. We have driven by the lake several times on our way to other destinations, and we have always been stunned by the beauty of the turquoise water with snow capped mountains seeming to grow right out of the lake. We were very excited to actually head there as our destination this time! We actually had another reason to head in that direction. Our choir director, and one of our favorite teachers from our show choir days in high school, is now the director of the Purdue University Music Organization. Several of the choirs from Purdue were touring and performing throughout Europe this spring. We definitely wanted to see a performance, and catch up with Mr. Griffel, whom we hadn't seen since our wedding in 2007! It worked perfectly for us to see them in Switzerland!

We spent the first two days of our trip sight seeing in Lucerne. It's a small town, so it was easy to walk and see all of the attractions. It was nice to be able to relax a bit, and not worry about trying to squeeze everything into a short amount of time like we usually do in big cities. Unfortunately, our weather did not cooperate at all. There were a few dry minutes with some peaks of sun on our first evening, but other than that, it was pretty much a washout. We still managed to really enjoy the city, just from under our umbrellas! I had hoped to take a hike on one of our days there, but since the mountains were covered in fog and clouds, and we would have been hiking through mud with no views, we decided to do that next time. Mud sliding down an alp along with our dog Gizmo did not sound like an appealing option!

Kapellbrücke, or Chapel Bridge, is Europe's oldest covered bridge.  It dates back to 1333.  Unfortunately, a fire destroyed much of it in 1993, so a lot of it is not original.  Some of the paintings on the interior are still original and date back to the 17th century.  It's very beautiful! 

The Lion of Lucerne is a  serene and sad monument commemorating the Swiss Guard who were killed during the French Revolution in 1792.

Tired puppy!

Our third day we spent in the small, beautiful and less touristy town of Altdorf, where we would see the choir performance. We stayed in a very nice hotel in Altdorf that evening, and apparently one of the Spice Girls (Mel C) had stayed in our room! The owner of the hotel seemed very proud of that! We spent the afternoon walking around the quaint little town before the performance that evening.

The performance was at a very cute little theater. A Swiss choir sang before the Purdue groups, and they were a lot of fun. They sang mostly American pop music, like a medley from Grease. As much as it pains me to say this being an IU grad, the Purdue performances blew us away! The girl's choir, the Purduettes, performed, followed by the bell choir and finally the Glee Club. They were all absolutely wonderful! We've heard that Swiss audiences are usually polite, but don't really show much emotion. This audience was not like that at all! They were really into the music and you could tell that they were extremely impressed!

Theater Uri

After the performance we were able to spend a bit of time catching up with Mr. Griffel and the new Mrs. Griffel over a bottle of wine. It sounds like their whirlwind tour through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France was really successful. Their final performance took place in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. How amazing is that? Here is a quick video of their performance at Notre Dame. (Just turn your head sideways while you're watching it :-) It's absolutely beautiful!

Switzerland is such a beautiful country, and we're very glad that we live so close to it! We will definitely be planning another trip there, hopefully that involves a lot less rain and much more nature and hiking! We still enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, and we were so happy to be able to see the Purdue choir performances and catch up with Mr. Griffel. It was definitely worth it!

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