With sorrow, we left Italy behind and journeyed into the Alps towards Lucerne. The drive there was dominated by fantastic scenery, which was good since driving was basically all we did today. We also had our last meal in Italy at a roadside services. Have I mentioned that even roadside stop food in Europe is much better than it is in America? We had rigatoni in tomato basil sauce and mushroom risotto, and if we weren’t so stingy we probably would have gotten one of the prosciutto platters or antipasto platters as well.

We saw Lake Como, which is apparently some sort of playground for the rich and famous. George Clooney lives there or something. Personally I thought it looked crowded but apparently he lives in the most exclusive part of it. Anyway, along the way Joe tried to prepare us for how exorbitantly expensive it is to live in Switzerland, warning us that a McDonald’s burger would run us about 10 or 11 US dollars. I didn’t believe him, so when we stopped at Lake Lugano (much nicer than Lake Como in my estimation but what do I know), I headed to the nearest McDonald’s to check it out. And almost peed my pants. 12 dollars for a crappy Big Mac, what is going on here. Fortunately our tour included one night’s dinner in Lucerne out of the two nights we were there, and we kind of just resolved to only eat two meals a day. The included dinner was only OK, but I kept reminding myself that every bite of chicken probably cost about one dollar. The dinner rolls were really good for some reason.

The next day we went on a scenic cruise of Lake Lucerne (after eating a huge dinner to get us through the day without lunch), which was fantastic. This cruise was something we opted into after we decided … there really isn’t anything for us to do in Lucerne at all, the place is kind of boring. But it was a really awesome cruise, Joe kept marveling at how fabulous the weather was, how a perfectly clear morning like this was extremely rare in Lucerne. So we got to enjoy truly fantastic views of the Alps, the coastline, Richard Wagner’s house etc etc. The water was so amazingly clean.

After the cruise we didn’t really do anything with our day, just wandered around a bit. Schmoops read his book and I took a long nap. I had been sick ever since London, around Feb. 17th, so I guess I needed a day of rest before tackling Paris anyway. For dinner we decided we shouldn’t be afraid of spending too much money, we were on tour after all, and decided to visit the best Thai restaurant in Lucerne (for some reason there is a significant Thai population there and the food was supposed to be pretty good. Better than Thai food in Madison anyway). However, halfway there we decided not to because 1) Schmoops was way too hungry to make it there, 2) we like our monies. So we got a “cheap” dinner of sub sandwiches for around 18 US dollars.

The next morning, March 1st, we ate another heavy breakfast including their delicious rolls, cold cuts and cheese, then it was ON TO PARIS!