1 March 2016

Fondest travel memories: Coffee in Lucerne

It's not unique to me; all of us have at one time or another experienced moments on our travels which we remember with especial fondness.  I have my fair share of these as I naturally tend to "gather" moments and memories each time I'm on holiday - be it making new friends over coffee in Paris, getting unnerved by the utter chaos of India's road traffic or running in with the law Down Under.


One such memory was made in the spring of '08 when Oi Len and I were in the supremely-charming city of Lucerne in Switzerland.  Like many travel tales, there's nothing remotely dramatic about this one.  It took place over coffee at the quiet, polished World Cafe at KKL Luzern, the city's cultural and convention centre.  We'd just taken our seats by the window; Oi Len ordered a latte and I an ice-cold bitter.  From within the refrigerated display behind us, the most divine-looking piece of red/pink strawberry cake was screaming for our attention.  The flesh was weak; we succumbed to the temptation.  Eine bitte.

It had been a long day of sightseeing on Lake Lucerne, and the beer went down particularly well - likewise the coffee and cake.  This, however, isn't a review of how glorious the coffee and cake were (which, to be fair, was indeed the case).  This is about sharing with you the sheer magic of that moment after we'd taken that first sip; that moment in time when we finally leaned against our high stools... aaaaaah... and immersed ourselves into everything that was happening around us.  Almost immediately, it felt as if time slowed to a crawl; everything around us just seemed to suddenly decelerate.  Literally.


It was late-afternoon Sunday and road traffic was understandably light.  Having said that, this is Lucerne.  Here, you'll be hard-pressed to not find, wherever you looked, big holiday coaches busing in hordes of rowdy Chinese tourists hell-bent on making their presence known as they willfully flash their expensive Rolexes and Fendi bags.

Not today.  Today there was little more than a couple of grey pigeons pecking at food crumbs on the street outside, the occasional fit-looking canine being walked by its fit-looking owner (who walks who, one wonders), the motivated municipal worker taking obvious pride in keeping "his" street clean or the young, fuzzy-haired aspiring artist across the street struggling to hail down a bus with canvas in one hand and well-worn palettes in the other.  Poor thing.  Even the cafe was uncharacteristically empty save for a handful of diners.  And of course there was Ella Fitzgerald serenading us.

The moment was surreal.  No, make that dream-like.  Here we were snugly sat by a cafe window in one of the most beautiful cities on earth, 6,000 miles from reality drinking coffee and watching the world go by in near-slow motion.  Good food in the company of a loved one, an atmospheric drizzle outside and a heartwarming feeling within - bliss; I wouldn't exchange that for anything in the world.  After all, aren't these the little things that make Life's little moments special?  Moments such at these.  I didn't want it to end.



Oi Len and I in Lucerne (April 2008)







What is your fondest travel memory?  Do share.

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