On Saturday, we are saying good-bye to the Berner Oberland and traveling in the Marti Bus, we drive via the Brünig Pass in direction of Zürich. With beautiful weather we passed by the Sarnersee and arrived in Luzern, where we enjoyed a 3 - 4 hour stop allowing us to visit its sights and have some Swiss style lunch. The below pictures show the various sights which of course include the Kapellbrücke, originally built in 1365, with its beautiful historic paintings from the 17th century on wood panels attached to the ceiling of the chapel bridge. Unfortunately, during a fire in August 1993, 86 of the original 111 paintings were destroyed.

Some of us proceeded to visit the Löwendenkmal also called "the dying Lion of Luzern". It was carved out of natural rock in memory of the heroic deaths of the Swiss mercenaries at the Tuileries in 1792 (French Revolution). Mark Twain described the Lion of Lucerne as the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world.

Those interested in some more Swiss History visited the Bourbaki Panorama. While after the Battle of Marignano in 1515, the Swiss pledged themselves to neutrality, important wars and battles continued in Europe around Switzerland. So the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71, when the Germans defeated the French which included the "Armée de l'Est" commandeered by General Bourbaki. His troops were in the most desperate condition, owing to lack of food; and out of 150,000 men under him when he started, only 87,000 men with 12,000 horses escaped into Swiss territory. Swiss troops were present at the border to oversee the crossing and the subsequent disarmement. Red Cross and other volunteers provided first assistance, followed by the dispersement of the "Bourbakis", as they were called, to approximately 190 communities in 24 cantons throughout Switzerland. The Swiss population received them warmly. It was the most important humanitarian effort of that time. Swiss population at that time was about 2.7 million, so the "Bourbaki" refugees represented more than 3% of the Swiss population. Despite the enormous assistance, 1700 soldiers died, and after a few months, those who survived returned to France. More on this and the subject of Swiss Neutrality at "The Internment of the Bourbaki Army in 1871".

The Panorama is a 375 x 30 feet circular painting, commissioned by an industrialist, realized in 1881 in Geneva and presented since 1889 in Luzern. The pictures below provide a limited impression of this "chef-d'oeuvre".


To enlarge, click on the pictures below -- and click "Start Slideshow" !!