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Mary in Lucerne early in the morning of our second day there, the only cloudy day of our trip. It was snowing lightly, which made for spectacular snowcovered scenes at the higher altitudes during our train ride through the Alps later that morning.

A view of Lucerne's famous Water Tower in the distance. Built in 1300, it has served as the archives, treasury, prison and torture chamber. It is Lucern's trademark and the most potographed monument in Switzerland.

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Rick standing on a bridge over the River Reuss with our hotel behind him on the left and the Water Tower and Chapel Bridge in the background. This area is in the older section of Lucern, which is now filled with shops, hotels and resturants in restored buildings hundreds of years old.

Our hotel, the Hotel des Balances, is in the center of the picture. Built in the 12th century, it is a picturesque ten minute walk along the River Reuss from the train station. Behind the hotel is the center of the restored Old Town, which is now several streets of shops and resturants.

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Another picture of Rick's favorite travel companion near the Kapellbrücke - "Chapel Bridge" in English. As you cross its 650-foot length, you'll see 120 captioned triangular paintings from the early 1500s that chronicle the city's history. The paintings feature St. Mauritius and St. Leodegar, the patron saints of Lucerne. The stone Wasserturm, which means "Water Tower" - is believed to have once served as the lucerna, or lighthouse, after which the town was named.

Our preferred way to travel is by train. Watching the scenery go by, being able to stretch out and relax, and taking an occasional walk up and down the length of the train, such as to the diner for breakfast or dinner, are huge advantages over crammed airline seats. Here's Mary, enjoying all that space while sipping a hot tea, on the train between Geneva, Switzerland and our destination in Lucerne.

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The year we visited Switzerland we traveled by train between all of our destinations within Europe. The first trip was from Paris, France to Geneva, Switzerland, where we changed to another train to Lucerne. From Lucerne we took a train to Milan, Italy, then another to Venice. A train from Venice took us to Florence, and another took us to Rome. Here is Rick, with a big contented smile, on the train between Lucerne and Milan. Outside his window was some of the most spectacular and beautiful scenery we've ever seen. Thanks to the snowfall during the night, every scene looked like a picture postcard.

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