Lucerne - Hofgarten


Sitting here at the Restaurant Hofgarten and waiting for my order to arrive, I looked intently at the LCD screen on my camera, going through the images that I had just captured digitally.

I had never been to Lucerne but somehow this picturesque Swiss town looked familiar. When I saw the famed Kapelle Bridge over the Reuss River with the quaint architecture as a backdrop, I thought I must have seen a replica of this scenery in the past. Perhaps it was in a storybook I read as a child, or perhaps it was on a box of Swiss chocolates that was gifted to me. Everything looked pixel perfect, even in the misty rain.

Like every tourist who walked along the Reuss with a camera in hand, I felt compelled to record the beauty of Lucerne for myself. Holding an umbrella in one hand and balancing my camera in another, I managed to snap a few photos. As I took in the view before me—softened by blue mist and illuminated by street lights as well as reflections off the water—I experienced one of those occasional moments in life where I wished I wasn’t alone.

“Guten Appetit!” said the waiter as he set down my dinner, waking me abruptly from my reverie.

I had come to Hofgarten on the recommendation of the hotel staff at the Waldstätterhof. Housed in a charming half-timbered manor house dating from the 17th century, the restaurant is known for offering vegetarian cuisine with an international flair. Its open kitchen affords diners a view of the chefs preparing their orders with locally sourced ingredients. To those who need it, freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices promise an extra dose of vitality.

I quickly tasted the tofu steak in cognac sauce flavored with porcini mushrooms, the lightly sautéed Brussels sprouts, and the golden Spätzli. Everything was indeed wholesome and flavorful. The multi-grain bread was remarkably crusty on the outside and moist yet firm on the inside. By the time I finished my evening meal, the fog of moodiness that had enshrouded me earlier had somehow dissipated.

As I stepped out of the restaurant, I could feel the soles of my feet aching, no doubt from walking on the cobblestone streets earlier today. When I stopped on the sidewalk to open my umbrella, something in the back of a parked hatchback caught my eye.

Amazed by the workings of the universe, I just stood there and stared at this peculiar license plate. Back home in Hawaii, rainbows are supposed to bring good luck. Never had I expected to see a “Hawaiian” rainbow in Lucerne in a drizzling evening, yet there it was...