Yesterday was tiring. Thank god I decided to turn in early. By doing so, I managed to sleep for a decent 11 hours (just in case you’re wondering; no! That is not the longest I’ve slept, not even close!).
Breakfast today was good; pancakes, waffles, maple syrup, eggs Benedict, hash browns, sausages, beef bacon, cereal, juice, tea, coffee, etc. (Of course, I didn’t have each and everything!).
After having a scrumptious breakfast, I checked out of the hotel and again roamed around the city. Luckily, it wasn’t raining but it was just as cold as yesterday.
Today, I bought a ticket for a tram (a rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets) which gave me a tour of the city (Lucerne/Luzern). I visited many sites; the Swan Lake, the torture chamber near Swan Lake, a couple of churches, etc. But the most beautiful and architecturally ingenious site which I visited was the Dying Lion of Lucerne. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris, France. Mark Twain praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”
The monument moved me. The pained look on the face of the lion, the broken spear piercing the lion’s gut, all the tiny little details could be seen. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. And the fact that there was a true story behind it made it look even more beautiful and majestic.
After completing the tour, I started looking for things I could buy. Till now, I was just awestruck by the beauty of Europe. It was only now that I realized that I had €200 in my wallet and it had to be spent. This is one of the things I don’t like about myself; if I know that I have money to spend, I end up spending it as soon as possible. But most of the time, I spend it on things I really need or want. So, after passing God knows how many shops, I entered a shop which sold Swiss Army Knives. I didn’t really want the traditional knife, so I opted for the Swiss Card thinking that I’ll use it in my Biology lab for dissection.
Time flew in Lucerne. Before I knew it, it was 4:15 p.m. and I had to catch a 5 o’clock train to Zurich Airport. The best part about the trains here is that you never get tired of them. They automatically become a part of your life. In India, you’d think twice before travelling on a local train. I mean sure, they are convenient but it’s the crowd that makes all the difference. Here, I don’t have to worry about someone pick pocketing me or pushing me onto the tracks. Also, no one has to stand in these trains. There is sufficient space for everyone to be seated comfortably.
The train ride back to Zurich was as thrilling as the one to Lucerne. This time I managed to see the Alps in all its glory and beauty. Words can’t really describe the feeling you get when you see something so majestic, so powerful. You feel like you are living in a dream (or trapped in the Matrix if you will).
It took 2 hours to reach Zurich Airport. Now I need to collect my boarding passes to Paris. Although, I could have travelled to another city in a different country (like Venice in Italy), I had to follow the Schengen rule which stated that I had to spend more time in the country from where I had gotten my visa than any other European country. As I had gotten my Schengen Visa from the French Consulate in Mumbai, I had to spend more time in France. But I really didn’t mind. Once you visit Paris, you always feel like going back.
The flight to Paris was lovely. I thought that the sun would still be up in Paris but I was wrong. By the time I landed, it was about 11:15 p.m. and the sun had set. Paris looked equally beautiful in the dark as it did in the day (if not more stunning).
The cabbie took me to my hotel “Novotel” which was located in the heart of Paris, overlooking the Seine River and just a stone’s throw away from the Eiffel Tower. By the time I checked into my room, it was past midnight. But I didn’t feel sleepy, not even a bit (probably because I had slept enough last night). When I looked outside my window, I saw a group of people to my right playing soccer. It was 1 a.m. and these people were playing soccer? Whoa! I love watching the sport as much as I love playing it. The players weren’t the regular amateurs you see usually. They were, in a word, skilled. Everybody knew everybody and their co-ordination was just superb. This is the first time I saw “LIVE” Street Football. I didn’t watch the whole game but they were playing till 4 a.m.
I made myself a cup of Green Tea and started watching T.V. I saw a few music videos like “Panic Station” by Muse, “Let Her Go” by Passenger, etc. I think it was around 5 a.m. when I felt drowsy and fell asleep.