From mountains to monastery
This past week has been a busy one, but full of fun experiences. Last weekend my Aunt and Uncle came to visit us here in Luzern, to kick off their 25th anniversary travels in Europe. I LOVE having visitors, especially when I can show family and friends from the US my new home. Since they only had 3 days in Luzern (before heading south to Interlaken and Italy), we packed in as much as possible.
Every day the weather forecast predicted rain and yet we saw mostly sunshine, with only a few evening showers. Weather apps are officially the worst. I gave them the usual Luzern tour, stopping at all the key sights: Lion Monument, Chappel Bridge, Hofkirche, Jesuitkirche, Old Town, City Wall and a walk along the lakefront. On Saturday we took the gondola up to Mt. Pilatus, where we were treated with amazing views of Lake Luzern and the surrounding area. Yes, it's expensive, but it really is a once-in-a-lifetime view (unless you live here and then you get to see it every time you have visitors). Once you're on the top, there are 3 small walks you can take to see different viewpoints. We even witnessed an engagement proposal!
On Sunday, we kept up with our intense walking program. First we took the bus to Meggenschloss (where Warren and I had our civil ceremony!), explored the castle, vineyards and small animal farm, then began the hour walk back to Luzern. It's one of my favorite walks - it isn't difficult, but it's so beautiful to follow the lakefront back to the city. You pass secret beaches, beautiful homes and even a mini version of Rio's famous Christ the Redeemer statue. It's a nice escape from the large crowds of tourists surrounding downtown Luzern. We finished the weekend with dinner at our favorite pizza place in Udligenswil - also away from the tourists and with a great view of the mountains. Of course we each ordered our own huge pizza, because that's WHAT YOU DO in Europe. Plus we had spent the weekend accumulating about 30,000 steps and 26 flights of stairs each day. We deserved it.
Monday was a public/catholic holiday (this time of year, it really feels like there is a holiday every week - we have one next Thursday too), and my relatives left to continue their travels, while we rested and packed for the next adventure. I spent Tuesday - Thursday at a remote monastery in Austria (as you do). It was actually for a Management Offsite event, which I had helped coordinate. So while I wasn't a participant, I was there to ensure everything ran smoothly. But what a cool location!!
We stayed at Propstei St. Gerold, which used to be a working monastery (with monks), but now is set up more as a quiet retreat for visitors. The rooms are very basic (some don't even have toilets or showers), but it's a really special and unique place. The setting is amazing, among the Alps, with great hiking trails (we did a 10k hike the second day), a horse stable, large garden where they grow their own food, a wine cellar and even a small pool. If you have to travel for work, this is the place to be. The days were busy, but the entire atmosphere was really peaceful and rejuvenating. Plus when else would I get the opportunity to live at a monastery!!
Now it's back to real-life for a few days, before we meet up with my Dad and his girlfriend next weekend in Konstanz (Germany)!