After leaving Lauterbrunnen, we spent a night in Lucerne and then a couple nights in Heidelberg. Before I leave Switzerland here are a few reflections. Views can be very spectacular but not in tunnels. The Alps are like Swiss cheese, we have traveled through many tunnels and some of them are very long. If you were a tunnel digger the last 60 years you were not out of work. There are construction cranes in every city; the building business appears to be very healthy. Lucerne is a city on a lake. The train station comes into town at the outlet river and across the river is the old town. All these cities seem to have old towns and they are very busy. You can get around quite well using public transportation especially in Switzerland and bicycles were very plentiful in Lucerne. I have come to the conclusion that Europeans walk a lot more than Americans. The old towns are car free for the most part and parking is not free so many people use bikes or public transportation. The old town sections of Orleans, Sarlat, Lucerne and Heidelberg have been refurbished into walking malls with many outdoor restaurants and stores.
Food in Switzerland is expensive, so far the best food and best prices have been in Ireland outside of Dublin. Restaurant prices in Lucerne are ridiculous and the quality doesn’t always reflect the cost and be careful about the price of the wine the waiter recommends. Prices and choices are better Heidelberg. In Sarlat the choices were mostly limited to: goose liver (foie gras), ham (jambon) and duck. Many restaurants depending on the city don’t open until 7pm as we found in Orleans.
We have used public transportation. We rode the train into Dublin a couple times. We took a bus from the airport into Paris, one hour standing room only, and then the Metro. We used the metro to go to Versailles and took a train to Orleans. In Lauterbrunnern we bought a 3 days pass and rode the train every day. The trains have all been comfortable and on time.
One curious sight, on the bus ride into Paris I noticed a shanty town with a lots of garbage and what looked like tarpaper houses ....... with satellite dishes on top. Go figure!