Friday, December 18, 2015


 Our full day in Lucerne, Switzerland could be told in three parts.  Each part was different than the others.  Three different moods.  Three different situations.
 The first part was the trip to Mount Pilatus.  We took a railcar up the mountain to the top.  There were ravens flying around, and it was cold.  I had a jacket.  We had come from 130 degrees in Israel to around 50 degrees in the Alps.  Our main group of the four girls wanted me to take a picture of them sitting on a wall with the mountains in the background.  As I was about to take the picture, Mr. Vivian wanted two other girls, who we didn't associate with, to get in the picture.  It was a bit uncomfortable.  The picture illustrates that some were smiling, while others were not.  We left the mountain on a ski lift. 
 After lunch, the second part of the day occurred.  I got to watch swans eat whole apples and see them slide down their necks.  They seemed to like it.  The girls and I went shopping.  The stores were very modern.  Crystal, watches, and giftware.  In each shop we entered, they had long stemmed roses to give to the customers.  I kept mine all the way back to the States, but the customs folks took the flower off of the stem and kept it in case I was trying to smuggle in any weird bugs.  I still have the stem.
 The third part of the day started around 5pm.  Sandra and I were tired of having to hang around the others all the time.  It was getting kind of old.  There was a movie theatre next door to the hotel, and they were playing a French film.  As I knew French pretty well, I asked Sandra if she wanted to go to the movies that night.  She said yes.  There was just a little too much drama between her and another girl on the trip.  The other three girls were going to spend that night writing postcards, so it was a perfect time for the two of us to get away from the others.  At dinner, one of the girls said she wanted to go to a toy shop across the street from the hotel.  Sandra looked at me, and I said we were going to do something else, but Mr. Vivian reminded me that I had to go where the majority wanted to go, because I had to be their protector.  So, no movies.
 After we left the toy store, we started to walk toward the old bridge and shops that we had seen that afternoon.  What was Lucerne like at night?  After our rough time in Jerusalem at night, you would think we had learned our lesson about strange cities at night, but no.  Three of the girls were walking ahead of me, and Sandra was slightly behind me.  All of a sudden, I heard her scream.  I looked behind, and there were five drunk Swiss soldiers in a circle, and Sandra was in the middle of the circle.  She was being passed around from soldier to soldier.  They were laughing.  She wasn't.  As I knew some elements of karate, I put my hand on the shoulder of one of the soldiers and pulled back hard, putting him to the ground.  I said "Cool it!".  I grabbed Sandra, and we ran toward the other girls and away from the soldiers.  Thankfully, they didn't chase us.  I could hear one of them say to me, "Oh, big man".  The one problem from that was than Sandra's hair was on the shoulder of the soldier, so when I pulled him down, I pulled Sandra's hair, too.  She said it hurt, but she was glad we got out of there.  We ran several blocks, so that the soldiers wouldn't know what hotel we were staying in.  When we got back to the hotel, we were all out of breath.  Once again, we had to lie to Mr. Vivian about where we had been. 
 I really liked Lucerne, but we should have gone to the movies.