24 June 2019

Alps Trip 2019

Weggis, Switzerland. June 5, we wake up after a long day of delayed flights and late evening arrival at the Beau Rivage hotel. Early in the morning we look out our window to this magical sight:

Lake Lucerne

When day fully dawned, I took another photo of Lake Lucerne.

Lake Lucerne

And another lake view. The grey, snowy peak to the right is Mt. Pilatus, and we will take a cog wheel train up it later today.

Mt. Pilatus

Our bus drops us in the middle of Lucerne at 9:30 in the morning. Below is the street view. Note the peak peeking through the street-gap in the tall buildings. That's Mt. Pilatus again.

Lucerne street

Our guide walks us a short distance from the dropoff point to the Lion Monument. This is an amazing sculpture carved right out of the rock. It is a tribute to the Swiss Guard, mercenaries notable for their service in foreign armies. The Lion Monument denotes a mortally wounded lion, carved for those who lost their lives in the French Revolution in 1792.

20190625-lionmonument5blog.jpg

We continued walking through the Old Town part of Lucerne.

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Below are some photos I took along the way through Lucerne. First, the River Ruess. The day is hot but the sky is hazy. We experienced a lot of brief rain storms during our stay. A land as green as Switzerland gets a lot of moisture.

River Ruess

Below is the Chapel Bridge. It is the oldest covered bridge in Europe.

Chapel Bridge

Chapel Bridge

A big cow with the Swiss flag symbol. Odes to cows are everywhere in Switzerland!

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Chocolate stores are big in Switzerland too.

chocolate store

This is Lucerne Old Town riverfront, showing the buildings, including a lot of restaurants.

restaurants along the riverfront

I like old buildings. And it was amazing - there are no vacant, run-down areas in the areas we toured. Lucerne is so clean and neat and has no graffiti. Bikes are everywhere, in use and also parked, even parked double-decker in some places

The next two photos show the paintings and general fanciness of the Old Town buildings.

Lucerne Old Town

Lucerne Old Town

In the afternoon, we took the cogwheel train up Mt. Pilatus. This is the steepest railway in the world, with a gradient of up to 48%. It was commissioned in 1889. The "cog wheel" is a rotating set of teeth on the train that grab a third slotted rail line that runs between the two outer rails.

And it was amazingly steep! This photo shows the train just before we boarded. You can see the third rail at the bottom left. And you can see how the train even begins the run at a slant up the steep hill.

cogwheel train

After just a few minutes on the train, I shot this photo of Lake Lucerne out the train window.

on the cogwheel train

Just entering a tunnel.

on the cogwheel train

The train comes close to the tall trees next to the rails.

on the cogwheel train

These steep hills are covered with lush green grass. These cows must be sturdy!

on the cogwheel train

Nearing the top. The highest peak on Mt. Pilatus is about 7000 feet. They look as tall as our Rocky Mountains - they rise out of a plain that is about 1000 feet.

on the cogwheel train

We disembark the train and walk to the visitor center. We could take the train back down, but our tour master has arranged for us to take the gondola down. You can see the top of the gondola in this photo, plus the visitor center and the peak behind it.

Mt. Pilatus

Lucerne Lake. This lake is large and has many "fingers".

Mt. Pilatus

It is scary-steep looking down.

Mt. Pilatus

We walk around the mountain on a stone pathway with lots of tunnels.

Mt. Pilatus

Below is the gondola that we will take down the mountain. We will end up on the other side of the mountain, and our bus driver has to drive a ways to pick us up. It was crazy-crowded in the gondola. They kept squishing people in until we could barely breathe.

Mt. Pilatus

Another look down the mountain.

Mt. Pilatus

A little church that looks like it will fall off its perch some time soon.

Mt. Pilatus

View of the peaks in the distance.

Mt. Pilatus

A helicopter swooped in and landed near the visitor center.

Mt. Pilatus

We return to our hotel in Weggis on Lake Lucerne. What we want to do is jump in the hotel outdoor pool or jump in the clean lake! But no, just time for a quick nap or shower and it’s time for the postponed welcome dinner at Beau Rivage Hotel. Excellent. Lobster soup or a salad, Beef in puff pastry, and Weggie cake-cream-ice cream. The restaurant is right on the lake with a fantastic view, and pleasant quiet dining area. We spent 6-9 pm on drinks and dinner! We enjoy getting to know all the members of our group.

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