Fünf Fotos-Rhine Cruise Day 1May 26, 2022 in France ⋅ 🌙 16 °C
Although we're on the boat we have remained docked as planned for the first day. We slept well, and we were up early to have breakfast and get ready for our departure by coast.
We began the day with about an hour drive to Lucerne, Switzerland. We learned from our guide that today is Ascension Day, a clerical holiday in Switzerland that celebrates the Christian event of the ascension of Christ forty days after the resurrection. Most businesses are closed on this day, and we learned that truckers are not allowed to operate unless they are transporting food.
Lucerne is a preserved Medieval city in central Switzerland with beautiful Lake Lucerne at its center with a backdrop of the Swiss Alps.
When we left the coach we walked across a beautiful wooden covered pedestrian bridge, Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) that crosses the Reuss River. The bridge was first built in the 14th century and it contains many paintings from the 17th century. We learned that a large section of the bridge was destroyed by fire as well as many of the original paintings. The Kapellbrücke is the oldest coveted bridge in Europe.
We enjoyed walking the streets of the Altstadt (Old Town) and the river serves as a dividing point between old and new. We also enjoyed the rather quiet streets due to the holiday.
When we returned to the coach, we headed for Wilderswil, a town near Interlachen, a beautiful town surrounded by glacier fed turquoise lakes. At Wilderswil, we made our way to a historic cog railway that took us on a 45-minute steep path to the Schynige Platte, a small mountain ridge and a viewpoint in the Bernese Highlands. The views of the glacier-covered Alps from this 7,000 ft. viewpoint was magnificent. We were blessed by a beautiful sunny day with mostly unobstructed views of the moutains.
I have to admit that my view of the fields surrounded by the backdrop of the snow-capped mountains took me back to my six-year old self viewing the opening scene of Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. It was magical, and I remember wanting very much to be in that field when I was little.
We noticed off to the background a few musicians playing the alphorn, the twelve-foot horns made famous by the Ricola commercial. We decided to wander further up the slope to view the different vegetation. I kept my eyes focused for edelweiss, but I learned that it's too early in the season from one of the passengers who is traveling from the UK.
At the appointed time, we made for our descent down the mountain to our waiting coach for the two and a half hour return trip to Basel. The sights were indeed beautiful. It's not every day that you get to see rolling hills with a castle scattered here and there. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, it was a bit too long a day on the coach. It's reinforced for me that I generally would prefer to be traveling at our own pace instead of with ninety-five of our "closest friends".
That brings me to our efforts to try and find connection on the cruise. It appears that nearly all, if not all, of the passengers are from the UK. They look like us, they're the same age range as us, but it appears that we're the only couple from the States as well as the only gay couple. It's interesting feeling more like outliers in this experience than in other countries that we have visited to date where the language, culture and skin tone of the people is markedly different than ours.
We've been trying to find ways to strike up conversations, and most of that has been a bit of a miss so far except for Daniel, one of the bartenders who is from Romania. Daniel has grown weary of the hospitality industry, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19. He is studying to be a truck driver because he likes to drive and he sees it as an opportunity for me freedom in his life. I don't think he's much younger than me. I'm optimistic that we'll have more opportunities to meet other folks and have deeper conversations as the week progresses. The few folks we have spoken with to date have had some connections to Portland through family and friends. Multnomah Falls is a universal hit. 😊
We did have another great dinner, and at this writing, I'm staring out at the floor to ceiling glass doors of the French Balcony with the man I love at my side. At some point this evening, we should launch north on the beautiful Rhine. I'm ready. Guten Nacht!Read more
Sweet dreams 💖 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜 🤎 🖤 ✨
I'm not sure why the travel tracker says France as we we still in Switzerland although this morning France is to the west and Germany to the east.