Nom de Plumage

June 1, 2013

Emotions in Luzern

Filed under: Travel Journal — nomdeplumage @ 11:49 am
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It has been mentioned many times in my life, that I am a great listener and how easy people open their hearts and confide in me. The joke is that I have really small ears and yet they are a beacon to many a needy soul. Today would be no different. My roommate Nellie woke in an emotional state, overcome with memories of her deceased husband who passed away several years around Christmas. She needed a friend to trust and confide in and I offered what emotional support I could. I left her some time later as she wanted to be alone and I departed to go to the city.

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Luzern is a picturesque city and none-more-so when it is beautifully covered in snow. Settled in a valley with mountains protecting this gem, a lake divides the city in half and offers a home to white swans and other birds. It has stopped snowing but the weather is still very cold. I had no set place in mind to explore and had very little choice in reality because nothing is open due to the holidays. And then something very strange happened. I did not realise that I had inadvertently walked towards a Catholic church settled high upon a hill until the rhythmic calling of the bells for service rang out. Before I knew it, I make the decision to walk up the many stairs and enter the church. I sit down on the very last pew and silently wait for the church to fill with followers and the service to begin. What makes my decision so strange, is that although I was raised a Catholic, I have not sat in on a service for over two decades. Not for my lack of beliefs, rather my disgust at the controversy surrounding the church these days. I believe it is the life lived that determines a good Christian and not whether he/she attends mass. And yet here I am, sitting in a church and listening to mass in another language. My understanding of German (or hock Deutsch) is rudimentary, but then that really does not matter because all Catholic services around the world are similar with a universal language uniting the faithful. My only real discomfort was when prayers or songs are recited and I had no bloody clue. The service was beautiful and I felt emotional (a longing for my family and home) and a little pissed-off when a pair of tourists decide to enter the church and walk around (and even between pews) taking photo’s and disrupting the service. Really!

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Carved exquisitely within stone, the “Dying Lion” is a monument dedicated to Swiss mercenaries who gave their life for Louis XVI during the French Revolution. I have seen many statues during my many months of travelling and only three have captured my heart  – David (do I need to explain why?), a child in Sienna Italy and this one. When a powerful and emotional urge overcomes you and you cannot explain why a stone carving can evoke such feelings, then you know something magical is happening. So overcome, my arms ached to hold the lion and comfort him as he is taking his last agonising breathes. His face is beautiful and heartbreaking in expressing his helplessness and pain during his final moments. WOW!

Lunch was ever  a forgone conclusion on a day when everything is closed except, you guessed it, McDonald’s. Ok, it is cheap, reliable and you ALWAYS know what you are getting and when you are hungry, it will do nicely thank you. But really, I am over it! Starbucks is also nearby and I decide to try my luck in getting a hot beverage and thaw out a little. What I ordered was supposed to be a mocha, but what I got (I think) was hot chocolate with whipped cream on top. Sugar overload! Not complaining as it was hot and I was cold.

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I arrived back at the hostel and walked straight into a game of manipulation and jealousy between Nellie, Lana and myself. The best part about travelling and staying in hostels, is that you get to meet some truly amazing people who even become and remain, great friends. But there will always be that odd fiery fruitcake who has to ruin the party and Nellie played the part beautifully. It all stemmed from my new friendship with Lana and Nellie’s jealousy that I was no longer her sole companion. The atmosphere in our room became uncomfortable with Nellie’s rude and unflattering remarks targeted at Lana. I became appalled at the undeserving bad treatment of my friend and Nellie got the idea soon enough, when she stormed out of the room only to come back fifteen minutes later to remove her belongings. We were left in bewilderment at the opera played out. It left a bad taste in my mouth and bothered me for the rest of the evening and all through the next day. A great shame because we shared two days together and I listened to her story, but at the same time, it gave her no justification to try to control and manipulate my decision in who I wish to befriend or talk to. In my heart, Lana and I did nothing wrong except strike up friendship (as you do in a hostel), but in the end we became good friends and would share some amazing few days together and even find a new friend who with her crazy Brazilian personality, who would leave an impressionable and memorable few days of laughter and fun.


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