I’ve just started my first trip to Europe and I’ve already seen and experienced many new and exciting things. We spent a day in Lucerne, Switzerland where we saw breath-taking views of the Alps from the top of Mt. Pilates. We ascended the mountain on a cog railroad, walked around the top of the mountain and then descended in a gondola.
While many of these sights were astoundingly beautiful, there was one I will always remember…..the Lion of Lucerne. The Lion Monument is a giant dying lion carved out of a wall of sandstone rock above a pond at the east end of the medieval town. It was designed as a memorial for the mercenary soldiers from Switzerland who lost their lives while serving the French king Louis XVI during the French Revolution.
While I did find the history of the statue interesting, I had no idea that a piece of stone could evoke such strong emotion. As I walked up to the lion I was immediately drawn to the details which the artist had been able to render in stone, but when I looked at the lion’s face my heart broke. The look of pain and agony was so real that tears began to flow out of my eyes. I found myself wanting to wade through the pond and wrap my arms around the lion. I know, a bit crazy considering it’s a piece of stone, but the power of the lion’s expression is unbelievable.
Mark Twain described the Lion of Lucerne with these words: “the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world” and I have to agree with him. As I stood among a crowd of strangers staring at the lion, I finally had to look away….It just hurt too much to keep staring at that look of pain.
***If you want to know more about the history of the monument, click on this link: Lion of Lucerne