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Sursee: A detour from Lucerne

The town hall was built in the middle of the 16th century (Switzerland Tourism)

If you are on a rail or motoring tour of Switzerland and want to get off the beaten track - even if it's only for a couple of hours - then Sursee could be just the place.

Sursee is less than 30 minutes north of Lucerne and is on the main rail line between Lucerne and Olten.

The old town centre bursts with excitement during the Gansabhauet celebration each year on November 11.

The event is centred around the beautifully restored 16th century town hall. But the entire old town is very atmospheric and worth a stroll to admire the architecture and decorative wrought-iron signs hanging over the shops.

Sursee was honoured with the European medal for monument conservation in 1980.

A series of children’s games and competitions accompany Gansabhauet. The young ones try their luck shinning up a pole in pursuit of wrapped gifts hung from the top. There are also sack races and face-painting contests.

For those who have worked up an appetite or thirst, market stands are set up selling hot punch, sausages and pastries made especially for the occasion.

Highly recommended is a gingerbread confection, “The Stuffed Sursee Goose”, with a delicious almond, honey and nut filling.

Fine pastries can also be had at “Künzli’s Goose Bakery”.

As for dinner, cooked goose is on the menu of every Sursee restaurant on November 11. But book early if you want to join the feast.

The Christmas market (Klausmarkt) on December 6 is the next big event scheduled in Sursee. A colourful procession ushers St Niklaus into town in the evening.

swissinfo/Dale Bechtel

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR