a swiss folklore experience in lucerne

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“Off-the-beaten-track” is a commonly used phrase when it comes to travel writing. While, “tourist trap” places are often shunned by travellers because it is gimmicky, tacky, overrated and usually overpriced. Then comes the debate about tourist VS travellers etc etc etc.

But this post isn’t going to be one of them, we won’t be going into any persuasive writing piece about what is right or wrong. We just want to share our experiences at what some might call a “tourist trap” while others might call a fun experience. (We are the latter, in case you were wondering).

There we were in Lucerne, and the weather turned UGLY. The winds were blowing, the grey clouds were looming and the raindrops were appearing. And our stomachs were growling because it was lunchtime.


Scurrying through the streets in not enough layers with temperatures in the low teens. We desperately wanted to find somewhere to eat. Like a sign sent from… somewhere, we turn the corner and feast our eyes on Stadtkellar; a traditional Swiss restaurant with a four-course meal and a cultural show about to start. See? It was meant to be!


As we walk in, we were the only patrons under the age of 40 and we were the only two that were not there as part of a tour group – we were entering willingly 😉

Our first course was a Swiss cheese fondue followed by a garden salad. Our main was the choice between strips of veal in mushroom sauce or a homemade sausage, both came with a side of rosti. To wind up the feast, we were served a neringue with applesauce and strawberry ice cream.

IMG_4005 IMG_4029 IMG_4030 IMG_4046

The food was delicious, might we add. Especially the fondue…. we usually try to avoid eating too much bread, but in this instance… the basket was emptied VERY quickly!

While we satisfied our bellies with some traditional Swiss food, we were entertained with folk music, yodelling, alphorn blowing, flag throwing and cowbells. All of these performed  by an ensemble of 6.IMG_4012IMG_4020Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 7.52.43 pm

Much to our amazement, one of the performers was particularly talented – he was able to make music from slapping the backs of two wooden spoons together which we’ve seen before. What had us in awe was how he produced music from what looked like a double-handled tree saw …

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 7.53.41 pmAnd percussion music with a wooden broomstick.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 7.51.36 pm

Of course, we couldn’t forget the random cow that was released into the audience towards the end. We are still scratching our heads over the purpose of this….

IMG_4040It was a fabulous way for us to hide from the rain and the cold winds for a couple of hours so we weren’t complaining.

Are you an “off-the-beaten-track” type of person? Or would you give restaurants like these a go?

Feel free to leave us a comment.



58 thoughts on “a swiss folklore experience in lucerne

    Sarah Ferguson said:
    March 21, 2015 at 1:47 am

    I LOVE tourist-y spots! Not that I don’t enjoy getting off of the beaten track as well, but why not enjoy both?

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 21, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Definitely worth mixing it up so you don’t miss the best of both worlds, right?!

        Sarah Ferguson said:
        March 21, 2015 at 11:58 am

        Exactly! Life is roomy enough for both!

    Deepika said:
    March 19, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Swiss Fondue.. Yumm.. please send some here 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 21, 2015 at 9:02 am

      LOL – we might have to check with out postal service about that 😉

    Sha said:
    March 19, 2015 at 2:36 am

    Oh I go whenever and wherever catches my fancy, even if it’s such a touristy thing to do…haha…so don’t worry too much about it. I can see that you enjoyed yourselves so that should be good! 😉

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 19, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      We are totally with you on this one Sha 🙂 Do everything and anything we want and not label it, right??

        Sha said:
        March 19, 2015 at 4:09 pm

        Oh yes, definitely. ..so many labels going around now..haha…just do what makes you happy…😉😄

    yprior1 said:
    March 18, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    the cow has me wondering too –
    was the cheese fondue made with kirschwasser? If so – that is my fav! and that would be when we would dog the bread too – ha!

    thanks for this flowing post – 🙂 ❤ ☀

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 19, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      Hahaha dear oh dear! Random cow, aye?

      There was kirschwasser – we can confirm that because we got the recipe from the restaurant on the back of the menu 🙂

      So glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for stopping by.

        yprior1 said:
        March 20, 2015 at 6:14 pm

        well that is my fav kind of cheese fondue – and trader joe’s sells aversion of it seasonally for like 5 or 6 dollars – around Xmas – so if you have a store near you be sure to check it out…
        have a nice rest of the week 🙂 xxoo

    Packing my Suitcase said:
    March 18, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    I would give it a go!! Even though I lived in Switzerland I haven never been to a place like this 😀 the food looks very German haha

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 19, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Allane, you can try this place next time you are in Switzerland… and yes, it did taste like German food 😉

        Packing my Suitcase said:
        March 19, 2015 at 7:35 pm

        Yes, I might try it!! hahaha I can imagine 😀 the food is pretty similar in this region between Austria, Switzerland and Germany, they mostly name them differently 😀

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          March 21, 2015 at 9:01 am

          LOL – different names for the same thing. Guess, being in such close vicinities, the cuisine influences one another but to get that uniqueness, it’s called something different??!

            Packing my Suitcase said:
            March 23, 2015 at 7:20 pm

            Yes hahaa, for example, there is the Wiener Schnitzel and Münchener Schnitzel… they are the same thing, but with different names 😀 there are some other examples too, especially the sausages… sooo many types!

    kayrpea61 said:
    March 18, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I am still trying to reconcile “off the beaten track” with a restaurant full of tour groups! :))

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 19, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Oh Ken! That was the point!! This was a “touristy” place to visit and would make those who are “off-the-beaten-track” cringe…. 😉

        kayrpea61 said:
        March 19, 2015 at 3:59 pm

        Of course. In a way, it reminds me of a ‘special local dining experience’ in Berlin. We (two) arrived and showed our voucher with the name of the travel agent. The host asked “where is the rest of your coach?” Apparently that agent had never before sent just a couple. The downside – we had to have the ‘coach menu’ unless we were prepared to pay more. I still laugh at the things that went wrong on that trip.

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          March 21, 2015 at 8:58 am

          That’s great you can laugh at it…. at the time, sometimes it doesn’t seem so funny but when we get the chance to reflect, we just have to shake our heads and smile! Plus it always makes for a good travel story, right?!

            kayrpea61 said:
            March 21, 2015 at 5:36 pm

            Right :))

    the eternal traveller said:
    March 18, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    It sounds like a whole lot of fun to me and the food looks delicious. It reminds me of when we were in Hallstatt in the Austrian Alps and our apartment owner recommended we go to the local hotel down the hill for an Austrian meal and some folk dancing. The food, the dancing and the singing were all great and there was lots of audience participation. We had a wonderful night, just like you did.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 19, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      One of the other readers made a very valid point that it’s about the attitude when going to these places and we agree wholeheartedly 🙂 Stay open minded (especially when travelling) and not to “label” things. We just never know what is around the corner!

        the eternal traveller said:
        March 20, 2015 at 9:11 pm

        I agree completely. That’s usually how the best experiences happen.

    nancy1 said:
    March 18, 2015 at 11:07 am

    How Strange, thats the same place we had an identical night out and some of our group including dad participated in the show, dad was no good at the horn blowing!!! LOve Mum XX

    Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2015 09:03:11 +0000 To: mrsnancymoss@hotmail.com

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      No way!!! Isn’t that funny how we never have spoken about this?? Well, there you go! We laughed and giggled at other people who participated and to think our very own dad was part of it once 😉

    Forestwoodfolkart said:
    March 18, 2015 at 9:50 am

    This sounds divine! What a stroke of luck to happen upon it and be allowed to join the audience. Those are the wonderfully serendipitous moments that independent travel allows. Loved your post, Monkeys!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Hello there 🙂 So glad to hear you enjoyed this post!! Yes…. independent travel : expect the unexpected!! Have a great Wednesday.

    PonderTheIrrelevant said:
    March 18, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Sounds like a good – and tasty – stroke of luck! Sometimes I really think it’s mostly a matter of attitude when it comes to these sorts of things. If you never try them, you miss out on the gems like this 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 7:49 am

      Wonderfully said! It really is about the attitude we come in with and as we like to see it, it’s okay to mix it up. There is no cardinal rule for one or the other because then open-mindedness goes out the door and travel is about having an open mind 🙂

    Diana said:
    March 18, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Looks fun AND yum!… I will go there next time we are in Lucerne…(love Lucerne)….and to answer the question…I like both: the total touristy to the hidden gems…..kinda depends on my mood 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 7:47 am

      Thanks Diana – we agree with you wholeheartedly… a bit of this and a bit of that, never hurt anyone! It also ensures getting a taste of both “worlds” without missing out! Get the good bits from both! Hope you are well.

    Curt Mekemson said:
    March 18, 2015 at 6:02 am

    For the most part, off the track— but given a cold stormy day and a port in the storm… 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 7:46 am

      Hello there Curt, We all have to learn to make exceptions to the rules, right?! 😉 We try to mix it up because we don’t want to label ourselves one way or the other. We do prefer to do things that are not often raved about but we also wouldn’t go to a place and miss on the MUST-SEES just because they are labelled as “touristy”… did that make sense?

      Hope you are having a fabulous week!

        Curt Mekemson said:
        March 19, 2015 at 12:06 pm

        Actually, I try to pick up the must sees, but my preference is off season. You are right, there is usually a reason for the major must-sees. –Curt

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          March 19, 2015 at 1:47 pm

          We are the same… off-season is solo much better with fewer crowds and other surprise gems 🙂

    vannillarock said:
    March 18, 2015 at 4:12 am

    Let’s just say the last time I was in Lucerne I didn’t go there! – look like I missed a gem 😛 ! Who doesn’t love real Swiss fondue?? Loved your post

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 7:44 am

      LOL – Swiss fondue wins hands down, right?! It might not necessarily be the BEST place in Lucerne but it was for folklore entertainment plus food … and maybe we were bias because we were so cold and hungry 😉

      Thanks for reading!

    Rachel A Davis (@vagabondbaker) said:
    March 18, 2015 at 2:50 am

    It’s always fun to peep into the alternate travel sphere and see what other people see! I wouldn’t normally go to places like this but if the weather is truly awful then why not!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 7:41 am

      We don’t generally label ourselves as one type of traveller or the other, we like to keep the options open and although we don’t opt often to go to places such as these, we tend to like to give them a whirl once in a while. And more often then not, we are pleasantly surprised 😉
      But as one of our other readers mentioned, these are like the ones we went to in China! And gosh, the Chinese Opera is probably one we should’ve avoided… 😉

    traveller soul said:
    March 18, 2015 at 2:44 am

    Totally am a fan of going off the beaten track! That’s when you make some of the best discoveries and end up having much more fun!

    You did end up in a fun place with great people and the FOOD! Just looking at it makes me hungry and thirsty! Yum!

    I am sure you were glad you found it and avoided the wind, cold and rain outside!

    Loved Lucerne, such a beautiful town nestled between mountains and lake. We only stopped over for lunch on our way back to Zürich but I have great memories 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 7:38 am

      Switzerland is such a unique and gorgeous place – Lucerne was one of the more “touristy” places we visited, and so was the only spot where we stumbled across such a restaurant. Opportunity presented in times of hunger and cold, so we grabbed it 😉

      And you are right, the best discoveries are made when we walk the less worn… but we try and keep options open – never say “NEVER’ 😉

      Thanks so much for reading!

    Ami (Yearful of Sundays) said:
    March 18, 2015 at 12:03 am

    That meringue with applesauce and strawberry ice cream looks delish! I think I’d definitely peep into a place like this, and if it looks fun enough, I’ll gladly sit down and enjoy the food & entertainment 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 7:33 am

      The dessert was delicious and refreshing especially after the mains which were a bit heavy and the fondue! We don’t do this often but occasionally it just feels right to do it 🙂 And when we were freezing and hungry, it was a done deal!

    joylovestravel said:
    March 17, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    This looks fab – right up my street!! Nothing like a bit of kitschy fun once in a while.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 7:32 am

      *THUMBS UP* That’s the way we see it too… once in a while in a foreign place is good enough reason for us too! 😉

    CrazyChineseFamily said:
    March 17, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    I think I prefer more peaceful restaurants. This is just too much for me I guess same as many restaurants I have been invited to in China with all kinds of performances…

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 7:31 am

      You know, we would have to say that this isn’t usually our scene either but we felt spurred on by the folklore stuff… we can’t help but sometimes be drawn to it. And as you said, it certainly is much like the ones in China that we went to as well 🙂 Maybe you can try more out when you are there in August later in the year 😉 (Just kidding!)

    maverickbird said:
    March 17, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    Oohhh Fondue..

    nomadsojourn said:
    March 17, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    We would certainly give this a go! The cold and hunger notwithstanding 😉

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 7:29 am

      Hahahah – yes, it was rather entertaining and it tackled the hunger as well as the cold for us 🙂

    MiaMusings said:
    March 17, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    You were lucky indeed! I do a lot ‘touristy’ and gimmicky stuff as well along with off-the beaten. Just feel that if its a person’s first time in a city, you are bound to go to some of the well known tourist traps, knowingly so! Just have to tick them off the list 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 7:28 am

      Completely agree with you here on this! That’s how we feel too… we don’t feel like we MUST do something or we MUSTN’T do something. We just do what we want 🙂 Thanks for reading.

    Samjoth said:
    March 17, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    this was lively..!!! 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      March 17, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      LOL – yes it certainly was 🙂

        Samjoth said:
        March 17, 2015 at 8:10 pm

        lucky you 😀

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