In case you missed it, we just returned from Switzerland, where Mark went for a business trip and I got to jump in his suitcase and ride along. Here's a fun recap of our ridiculous trip over there.
Thursday was a day of meetings for Mark, so I signed up for the historical tour of the resort, which was flippin' amazing.
First things first. Here's how you pronounce the name of the resort: byorg-in-shtock.
They say it as if there's a bunch of thick, sticky taffy in their mouth that they're trying to work around when they say it.
I am a little bit ridiculous when it comes to history, especially in this part of the world, and especially the time period that spans the heyday of this resort: turn of the century up until around the early 1960's - probably because of the book I'm working on - so I was geeking out all over the place in this tour.
Some highlights of the tour:
The resort is a collection of three hotels, the first of which was built in 1873.
We stayed in The Palace Hotel, which was built in 1904. The other buildings gained government protection back in the day, which means that, in order to maintain historic integrity, they have very strict rules about changes they can make, as far as updating.
Apparently The Palace wasn't all that special back then because it fell into disrepair over the years and was the only hotel building on the resort property that didn't have government protection.
This meant that it could be completely refurbished and after it changed ownership into the hands of a Katar in 2010, that's exactly what they did, and it is stunning.
They did a fantastic job maintaining the rich, historic feel of the original, while making it feel updated and modern. They kept some of the artifacts from the original building - parts of the ceiling frescos, some of the curled iron decorative finials, for example - and they have them displayed throughout the resort in glass cases.
There’s a small dining room that’s open for brunch on special occasions, and in the middle of that room stands a French island oven, which is from the hotel’s original kitchen and is still used today, along with the original copper pots that hang over its top.
We had lunch at the golf club, which isn't anything like what you’re picturing.
The Club House is exactly that: a house, built in 1928. It’s tiny, with rock walls, tiny wooden tables in a room at the back, and a stack of gray, wooly blankets by the door leading out to the patio, where we ate.
Audrey Hepburn married at the chapel, built in 1897, right outside our window in 1954.
Part of the James Bond movie, Goldfinger, was filmed in Lucerne in 1964, and some of the actors and crew stayed at the resort for more than a month, including Sofia Loren, who loved it so much, she bought a small villa on the property, where she lived until the late 1960’s.
Mini Photo Album
In my next post, I'll tell you all about the town of Lucerne and our brief stay in Zurich.