You might think that the short, relatively speaking, distance between Vals and Luzern would mean a train ride of about two hours, but the high mountains get in between. So we took the bus down to Ilanz on a narrow, snaking road above a gorge, through old Romansch villages, and then a train to Chur, heading north along the border, more or less, nearly reaching Zurich, until changing trains and heading south again.
From there, the 45 minute train ride to Luzern took us through Root where I’d worked on a farm long, long ago. I recognized the stables and fields and farmhouse as we whisked by them. Alongside them now were many housing developments and companies selling all sorts of things from cars to what looked to be cement.
Herr Bucheli, the farmer I had worked for, owned a lot of the land and sold it over the years, and now Root is more or less a suburb of Luzern.
From the station to the hotel, it was a short walk along the lake. It was my third stay at the Palace, and it has only gotten more beautiful since the renovations.
Galliker. At last! I had reserved a table from the States nearly a month ago. It’s on the other side of the Reuess river, in the modern part of town, which is ironic given that it is a many centuries old Stube or pub, family owned for about two hundred years. When I’ve been to Luzern before, it’s been closed, and I’ve always wanted to go.
A crowded, low ceiling room, one of two, with tables of laughing Swiss, speaking loudly, and a staff of older women dressed casually as if they are at home. A cold small beer, eine Stange, to start, and then delicious soup, a puff pastry holding fresh porcini, and a flat piece of veal schnitzel. Good Pinot Noir from Graubunden. Perfect, just perfect.