On our way from Florence to Lucerne, we stopped in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. Honestly, at the time, I couldn't care less. This is because, while walking through the little town, I spotted a sign for a 24-hour pharmacy, and got so excited. Sort of like an 8-year-old gets excited about a candy shop. (I was dying, remember?) It just so happened to be Sunday, and every other pharmacy I had stumbled upon in Italy was closed. Turns out, the Piazza dei Miracoli really is miraculous.
Even though all I could think about at the time was getting my hands on some meds, I snapped a quick photo of the tower in all of its crooked glory.
Once in Lucerne, we lugged our things from the main square to our hotel. Which, come to find out, was originally built in 1862 as a prison. (Notice the bars on the windows.) You should've seen the look on my face when we discovered we were going to be sleeping in an actual jail cell! What fun. (But actually, it was pretty fun.)
Our journey up Mount Pilatus the next day was so beautiful (and just a little scary), we didn't want to ever come down. As you can imagine, the cold air blowing through the peaks was a refreshing break from Italy's heat, and for once, I didn't mind the chill. We spent most of the morning up there, in awe of this magnificent country.
Lucerne was definitely one of the loveliest places I've ever visited, and despite the brevity of our stay, I can honestly say I felt the most at home here. For several hours after our journey back down the mountain, Kristen and I sat in a Starbucks charging our phones (prison hotels don't have electrical outlets, apparently), and simply embraced the stillness. Even though we weren't out adventuring or exploring, I still felt on top of the world. There's something about just being in a brand new city that awakens your soul, you know? And having your best friend by your side—well, that makes it all the more special.
Later that afternoon, on a paddleboat ride across Lake Lucerne, Kristen actually stripped down to her skivvies and jumped in the freezing Swiss water. It was an amazing moment—one of my proudest as a best friend—and I got the whole thing on camera. (I won't share it here out of respect for Kristen's privacy, because I promised I wouldn't.) Being the cold-blooded wuss that I am, I did not jump in after her. Somebody had to man the boat lest it float away, and I was happy to take one for the team.
That evening, while trying to find dinner, we got stuck in yet another torrential downpour (I'm noticing a pattern here...) and took cover in the cutest little wine bar and cafe. For the 100th time since the start of our trip, we discussed the mysteries of life and love over a bottle of wine and another three-hour meal, in pure European fashion. We really do make the perfect couple, her and I. ;-)
And then, before heading back to our cell for some shut-eye, we bought all the chocolate our little hearts—and stomachs—could handle.