Erynn and I decided to spend the long weekend in Switzerland to watch the World Rowing Cup on the Rotsee in Lucerne. Our friend Anna who is a current member of Case Crew has been in Europe for a few weeks and accompanied us on the trip. We started out with Friday afternoon in Zurich and then headed off to Lucerne for Saturday and Sunday. We had last been to Lucerne in 2001 to watch the World Rowing Championships also held on the same lake. It was nice to come back and reminisce a bit. And we followed a similar pattern of watching rowing, climbing a mountain, and taking some photos in the Lucerne city centre.
We had a fairly inauspicious start to our trip with a stop at Burger King. In the US we seem to prefer McD's but in Europe we tend to gravitate to BK. It only gets a mention here because our travel companion, Anna, had never been to a Burger King in here life. Above you can see her sinking into her first Whopper and Doug holding his daughter... so cute! Greta was born just a couple weeks prior and already starting her "countries visited" list.
We only spent a couple hours in Zurich. Our real target for the weekend was Lucerne and this was a nice stop to break up the trip. The above panorama shows the Limmat River in central Zurich.
Here's a panorama shot of Lake Zurich on the other side of the bridge (the Quaibrücke) from the previous photo. It was a beautiful sunny day.
We took a short stroll along the waterfront and tried to stay in the shade. The left photo is a view back to the Quaibrücke where I took the panorama photos. After a bit of walking Erynn sat down for a minute in the shade to let Greta cool off a bit. It just happened to be next to a nice pink Vespa. Shout out to Joey!
There really are some nice views walking along the waterfront. The left photo shows the Grossmünster (large church) from across the Limmat River, while the right photo shows some of the architecture along Börsenstrasse (stock exchange street).
We finished up our afternoon with a light late lunch by the water and walked back to the car before it started to rain. We had our snack at the Hotel zum Storchen (Stork Hotel) and on the way back to the car Erynn spotted this bench made to look like a piece of sashimi. Erynn really likes sushi and was prevented from having any during the pregnancy. Even a wooden bench made her mouth water...
We were then off for a couple days in Lucerne...
The A-level finals for the World Cup didn't begin until the afternoon so we decided to spend the morning at the top of Mount Rigi. On our last trip to Lucerne we went to the top of Mount Pilatus on the other side of the lake.
Mercifully, since we had baby Greta I wasn't forced to climb anything on this trip. Typically Erynn has a great idea to climb a mountain or to the top of a church spire on one of our vacations. On this trip we took the relatively civilized cog railway to the top of Mount Rigi. We embarked in Goldau and went all the way to the top.
At the top the views were amazing...
We hiked a bit up from the train station and took these incredible panoramic shots of the mountain and Lake Lucern below. The view made the time and expense (the Rigibahn is the not cheapest thing in the world) of the trip worthwhile.
Where we took the panorama photos from was pretty steep as you can tell from these pictures. We were standing only about 10 feet apart when we took the above photos, but the drop was significant...
Rathburn family portrait on Rigi Mountain.
Some other interesting views from the mountain. Clockwise from upper left: The Rigi Summit Hotel and TV Tower, View of the town of Lucerne, view of the Lauerzersee, and the view from the Rigi Staffelhöhe train station.
If God himself designed a rowing lake it would probably look much like the Rotsee. Straight, 8 lanes wide, only big enough to host 2k rowing races, and perfectly sheltered on all sides from the wind. Heaven. And the place elite athletes prove they are the fastest in the world. Times on the Rotsee are generally consistently fast and repeatable (a difficult feat in rowing) and thus can be compared from year to year.
The photos above show the grandstands from across the lake and from the spectator area. On Saturday seating was free, but not free on Sunday. We paid to be under the tent on Sunday -- a good decision to be out of the rain, wind and (sometimes) sun.
Above are the Regattazentrum and the Empacher tent. The Empacher factory is only about 55km from our house in Viernheim.
The Swiss love their cowbells...
I ike events like this because I get to play with the 70-300m Nikon zoom lens. Like from behind the barrier I could get a nice shot of the medals. Also of the guy from row2k.com The had a REALLY serious lens. Someday I'll have one, but they're about $8,000!
Some shots of Saturday's rowing. Clockwise from upper left: Romanian Women's 8+ ready to launch, German Women's 8+ on the dock, Mahe Drysdale (in the rain) for New Zealand, Lightweight women's sculler from Ireland sporting the national federation's new blade design. Did I mention I love my new zoom lens?
Remember there are a ton more photos in the full resolution gallery here.
It was a long day with Greta who was only two weeks old at the time. She had been to the top of a mountain, watched her first rowing regatta, and we now wanted to see the Lucerne town centre. It was late and the weather was rainy, so we ended up looking around for a few minutes before grabbing dinner before heading back to the hotel.
The center of Lucerne is dominated by an old wooden bridge and water tower called Kapellbrücke (or Chapel Bridge). As you can see from above it's quite pretty.
Here's a photo of Rigi, the mountain we summated earlier.
And my one task was to duplicate one of my favorite photos. Erynn and I weren't married very long when we first visited Lucerne, and our photo in front of the Kapellbrücke is one of my favorite. So we replicated it with our growing family 10 years later...
On Sunday, our agenda included watching the finals for the Olympic events at the World Cup and then head home. Greta was an angel all weekend, and I think we made a true rowing fan out of Anna.
Some parting shots of some US team crews. I love my zoom lens...
US Women's Pair
US Men's 4-
US Lightweight Women's 2x
US Women's Quad
US Men's 8+
All of the full resolution photos plus podium shots here.
© 2011 Doug Rathburn