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swiss saturday: the bell tolls for thee

August 14, 2010

I love my apartment and for what they charge in rent here, I better.  The good thing about Switzerland is that you get what you pay for.  There’s no such thing as a “deal too good to be true” here or arguably anywhere.  There’s always a catch.  That isn’t to say that there aren’t bargains to be had or cheap apartments, it will just be obvious why it was so cheap.

But when I wake up to views like this from my living room window, I realize my rent is worth every penny and then some.

But finding this apartment was a challenge from afar.  More on that some other week.  Spoiler to that story:  friends looked at apartment for us and we chose based on photos.  What my friends failed to leave out was how noisy our neighbors would be.  Meet our neighbors.

view from my kitchen window

Behind our apartment stands Luzern’s Hofkirche, a church that dates back to the 17th century.  It’s beautiful, both inside and out, but let me tell you something, that place makes some noise.  Not one, not twice, no….FOUR times an hour the bells chime.  The longest being on the top of the hour as it announces the change in time (midnight being the toughest, of course).   The funny thing?  You don’t notice a thing when the windows are shut.  So, during the winter months when our windows and doors are closed, it’s blissful silence, but come the warm weather…oh my.  Our first week there, you couldn’t even hear yourself think.  Now?  I don’t even notice them.

These churches are everywhere, each with its own set of bells. Avoiding their tolling is near impossible.  While New York may have its symphony of sirens and honking horns. Here in Luzern, it’s of bells from all corners of the city yelling to all who can hear what time is.  After all, it’s Switzerland and you can’t be late.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 16, 2010 2:43 am

    Your view is to die for!

  2. August 17, 2010 7:27 am


    I’m in Seattle currently, and we’re experiencing our once-a-year heat wave.

    Hanging by that lake around sunset sounds so serene! Jealous!

    • August 17, 2010 10:06 am

      Molly-if it makes you feel any better, hanging out by t he lake sounds pretty nice to me too. The weather has been mid-60s and rainy. Most days, I feel like I pulled a Rip Van Winkle and woke up in October…

  3. August 18, 2010 11:43 am

    gosh, we have even more in common than i thought ! just replace the above photo of hofkirche with st peterskirche and voila, the view from MY kitchen window ! ;0) not even kidding, that thing is LOUD !! and besides the regular bells, it goes extra crazy at 7am and 7pm, for 15 minutes nonstop, quite impressive. after 4 months of searching 24/7 for an apartment, we got SO lucky finding this one here, and didn’t dare worry about the church being so close and those bells being so loud. friends and family visiting us just laugh – of course i open all the windows for full effect, haha !! i love it now ! 🙂

    • August 18, 2010 11:59 am

      How funny! Yeah, for us it’s 7am and 6pm (maybe different mass schedules?) where they go bananas. I do enjoy them quite a bit, but it is a little funny that I have to arrange phone calls around the bells because hearing anything during those 15 minutes is virtually impossible. Friends visiting us love it when they arrive unless they’re staying with us. The guest bedroom is on the church side of the building. Those bells and jetlag don’t make very good bed fellows.

      • August 18, 2010 5:53 pm

        here’s a funny scene for you… lately my modem hasn’t been working. so i have to call cablecom from my cell phone. no service in the apartment due to 3m thick stone walls ! so i’m hanging out the kitchen window to talk to them, running back inside to check the lights on the modem, running back to the window – and of course, with the church bells ringing outside, i can’t hear a THING ! it’s like a comedy routine ! 😉 especially when it starts to rain too… !

        oh, and here, the entire apartment is “on the church side” – we’re literally in a little alley at the foot of the church. when friends or family stay with us, we can hear them just hysterically laughing in bed, incredulous and of course wide awake !

      • August 18, 2010 11:59 pm

        Is it bad that my first reaction to your comment was “You managed to get Cablecom on the phone?!” 🙂

        The bells do give the visitors something to talk about when they go home though, that’s for sure!

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