Back in the day, when I was much younger, I remember playing a game called, “Don’t Eat Pete” for family home evening. It was a simple, quick game. There was a game board with about 12 squares on it that each had its own symbol or picture in it. Then you covered each square with something delicious to eat, like an M&M. One person closes their eyes and everyone else secretly agrees on a square to be “Pete.” When the person opens their eyes, they begin to eat the M&Ms. When they reach for the square that is “Pete” everyone hollers, “Don’t eat Pete!” Everyone laughs, and then their turn is over. No real skill is involved except eating. I figured this was a perfect way to kill some time on the long train ride to Lucerne, Switzerland.
After making the game board, both Charlotte and Lucy were really excited to play (maybe because it involved cheerios). What I did not anticipate is just how sensitive my two sweet little girls are. When it was Lucy’s turn and she reached for Pete, we all hollered “Don’t eat Pete!” Her face turned from excited, to fear, and then she burst into tears. Charlotte made it through two turns before telling me that she didn’t like the game anymore. After a quiet minute, Charlotte had a great idea. Let’s call it, “Yes eat Pete!” Now it is a very uplifting game where we congratulate the winner on discovering which square we picked as Pete. I have to smile, give a “Woohoo!” (but not too loud), and clap my hands in applause otherwise Lucy’s lip starts to quiver and the tears start flowing. (It really slows down gameplay when one of the players needs to be comforted after every turn). But with these “house rules”, we’ve made “Yes eat Pete” a family favorite.
As we often do, we started off our tour of Lucerne, Switzerland with a self-guided walking tour (thank you, Rick Steves). Along the way, we spotted some swans in the river. Charlotte and Lucy begged to see the swans and I just couldn’t say no. We spent a few minutes tossing them some cracker crumbs. We didn’t want to stop for too long, so we didn’t let Lucy out of her cage stroller seat. But we made sure she could feed the swans just like Charlotte.
One of the highlights in Lucerne is Chapel Bridge. This footbridge was originally built in 1333 and is the oldest surviving truss bridge in the world (thanks, Wikipedia). But it’s mostly famous because there were over 150 of these triangular paintings underneath the roof of the bridge, some of them date back to the 17th century. Sadly, many of the paintings were burned in a 1993 fire when a boat passing underneath the bridge caught fire. Now there are only 30 or so paintings remaining.
While we were walking along the water front, we would occasionally hear what sounded like cannon fire (we suspected it was a local holiday celebration). We only heard it 3 or 4 times at random, so it was hard to determine exactly what was making the noise. This castle up on the hill was our best guess at where cannon fire would be coming from. And just like with “Don’t eat Pete” my girls, especially Charlotte, hated the loud noise. Charlotte cowered in her stroller with her hands over her ears and talked incessantly about the “boom sound” for a solid 10 minutes.
We took a two hour boat cruise around Lake Lucerne. It is a beautiful lake, and it was nice to sit down and enjoy our lunch while taking in the view. We even, accidentally, enjoyed the seats in first class for a while until we were reprimanded by a crew member and told to go sit with the second class people. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.
We went to the Lion Monument for a quick photo op, but had no idea that Charlotte and Lucy would be the center of attention.
Charlotte and Lucy discovered this fun little water fountain and started playing with the water. Charlotte figured out how to get a drink and Lucy copied her big sister.
Then the tourists and cameras came. Asians just love our little girls. As soon as Lucy noticed she was the center of attention, she froze. Completely paralyzed. She’s in the exact same position in most of the pictures. After a minute I came to her rescue. Surprisingly, Charlotte seemed to love the attention and even willingly smiled and posed for their pictures. It was pretty fun to watch Charlotte pose (and Lucy freeze) for the camera. Charlotte would even wrap her arms around her sister, or hold her hand and encourage her to wave for the pictures. The tourists just ate it all up, and loved jumping in to get a photo with our little celebrities.
The Bourbaki Panorama is nearby, and we stepped in for a quick visit. The circular painting tells the interesting story of the Franco-Prussian war (1870) and how the defeated French found refuge in Switzerland.
They don’t allow pictures, but we also visited the Rosengart Art Museum. It is always hard to keep the kids entertained in an art museum. This time I carried Charlotte around with me and asked her questions about the art and what she thought the paintings looked like. My favorite she described was one that she thought looked like an aquarium. It was a modern painting of nothing in particular (at least not that my incompetent eyes could see anyways) and she saw something that made sense to her.
After our train ride back to Bern, Chris and I got to have another mini date night to the Rose Garden. It was beautiful at sunset and had amazing views of the city.