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Switzerland

SWITZERLAND | Saturday, 26 October 2013 | Views [818]

On top of Pilatus

On top of Pilatus

 

The day after Chris’ Dad, Greg, arrived in Munich, we rented a car and drove down to Lucerne, Switzerland.  Greg and Carol had greatly enjoyed it here and returned a few times while they lived outside of Heidelberg. Greg had a role in the planning of his time with us, so when he mentioned going to Lucerne, it sounded great to us. The drive consisted of mostly autobahn, with amazingly long tunnels built through the Alps that stretch on for miles. However, the drive was relatively short and in only a few hours, we were in the lovely little town of Lucerne. 

 

Lucerne / Luzerne

On the trip we have stayed in hostels, guesthouses, hotels and private apartments.  We tend to use Booking.com or AirBnB.com as these seem the most convenient and thorough way to find a good place.  The one problem with airbnb is that you are not dealing with professionals, and therefore you tend to end up with some confusion about the “check-in” process. This was one of those bookings. Given that we do not have a phone, only access to Wi-Fi when available, we arrived with no way to contact our host and poor directions through email about obtaining the key.  So after over an hour of searching desperately for a Wi-Fi connection (the town was closed down in the afternoon), we stopped a nice lady who let us borrow her phone to call our host.  The key was under the seat of her bicycle outside the apartment (well of course!). The apartment turned out to be wonderful and short walking distance to the “Old Town” portion of Lucerne.  We got settled and headed out to dinner.

Unfortunately, the rain from Slovenia and Germany continued during our time in Switzerland, with only a few breaks.  Therefore, our first impression of Lucerne was somewhat lack luster.  There is a famous covered bridge (Kapellbrucke Chapel Bridge) across the river that runs through town and into Lake Lucerne (which during a clear day, we later found out, was very pretty!). We had a nice dinner by the bridge and went home.  Nothing too impressive.

 

Interlaken

Day two we drove down to another lakeside town called Interlaken.  We had lunch on the main promenade, bought some true Swiss chocolate and drove back to Lucerne.  Again, due to the rain, we were unfortunately disappointed.  We could imagine that the rolling hills, waterfalls and lakes area is beautiful when the weather is good, but we just had a hard time seeing it.  The best part of the day was a stop for gas on the way to Interlaken.  The gas station was attached to a great playground with the longest tube slide I have ever seen (that did not contain water and empty out into a swimming pool).  After several attempts, resulting in chickening out, Jackson finally went down the slide with both Chris and I and loved it (prepping him for the following day’s activities – keep reading…). 

 

Mt. Pilatus

Day three we took a tram (actually two) up the side of Mt. Pilatus, the main mountain that looks down over Lucerne.  The ride up was fun, climbing higher and higher with increasingly beautiful views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountains.  We lucked out with timing, as when we started it was fairly overcast, but after about an hour on the mountain it cleared up and provided a wonderful view of the valley.  Greg had been to the lookout and hotel on top of Pilatus a few times before and reported that this was the best view he had ever seen.  We hiked up a little further to the lookout and were rewarded with clear views to the Swiss Alps – a few I even caught on film!  It was so amazing to be up above it all, I only wish I had a better camera! We had a few warm drinks and headed back down the mountain, stopping half way to play on a gigantic inner tube slide (dry) Chris spotted.  The head adrenaline junkie tested it out a few times before he let Chris ride it, saying over and over “oh that’s too fast” and then adding a layer of rug to slow things down.  When it was ready for amateurs, Chris did a few runs.  The whole time Jackson was yelling “Jackson do it all by himself”, wanting a ride too.  Chris finally put him on his lap and they went down together, all of us expecting Jackson to be crying by the time they reached the end.  (Not our best parenting decision).  Nope, he was laughing and cheering, asking to go again. He rode down a few more times with all of us – even Grandpa Greg. Note: Greg also did a small zip-line with Jackson in the kid’s playground on the other stop up the hill.  Go Grandpa!!

Later that day, Chris and I were able to get out and explore the city while it was clear.  We finally saw the attraction and why it is described as so beautiful and “little Miss Popular”.  We walked along the fortress wall and up into a few towers, allowing us to appreciate the lake view and quaint architecture.  We sat along the Lake at sunset and then met Greg and Jackson for one of the best dinners of our entire trip. Cheese fondue and steak, followed by chocolate fondue for dessert (yum!!!)

Lucerne is very much like many other European cities we have seen (castle wall, old town, river promenade, bridges).  But the lake and the surrounding mountains/alps make it a stand out!  I am personally grateful that I was able to see part of Switzerland, as this is where my mother’s family was from and somewhere I would now like to return to explore more.

Although Chris already blogged about it, we left Lucerne to go back into Germany with Greg for another four days. Our next blog will be from Luxembourg City.

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