October 5 – We’re on a train out of Zurich toward Lucerne before the sun is up. The jump on the day is so we can spend the morning on top of Mt. Pilatus (2132m) before it gets too crowded. We’re planning on completing what is called the “Golden Round Trip”. From Lucerne, this involves a bus to the small town of Kriens, a short walk to a cable car station which takes us to a gondola station in Frakmuntegg. On this part of the trip, the still air is filled with the sound of Swiss cow bells from the cows grazing on the mountain slopes below. The descent involves a trip on the world’s steepest cog railway (48 degrees at greatest slope) to Alpnachstad, and then a 90 minute ride on a lake steamer back to Lucerne. By the end of the day back in Zurich, we’ll have traveled on seven modes of transportation (train, tram, cable car, gondola, cog railway, boat, bus).
The early morning ascent, first from the cable car looking back on Lucerne, then from the gondola:
We arrive on top of Mt. Pilatus with only about 20 other people. It’s perfectly quiet on top of the mountain this morning. There’s no wind, the temperature is just below zero and we emerge above the clouds to spectacular blue skies and sun. Heading outside of the gondola terminal, I see mountains for the first time in my life:
Jodi and I share the moment in almost complete silence, in awe of what we’re seeing. My jaw literally drops at the beauty around me. After a few minutes of taking in this scene, we’re off on a hike around the mountain:
Here’s the two of us as the hike comes to an end and it’s time to head back down the mountain:
After a half hour descent via cog railway, we’re on a lake steamer for the trip back via Lake Lucerne. By now, it’s warmed up close to 20C and the early morning clouds have moved off to reveal another beautiful day. The scenery along the lake is stunning – mountains, rolling hills and quaint towns hugging the rugged terrain:
We spend about an hour on a short walking tour of Lucerne. The city is gorgeous – tree lined streets, German inspired architecture, and of course, their famous Chapel Bridge:
Back in Zurich after the train from Lucerne, we get ready to take in the opera “La Traviata” at Zurich’s Opernhaus. This Verdi opera is wonderful – the symphony is outstanding and the acoustics of the opera hall are first class. Even from our back row seats, we have a great view.