INDIA VIA SWITZERLAND–Lucerne’s Mount Pilatus

Day 2. To Mount Pilatus 

We took off on the golden circle tour from Lucerne up and down Mount Pilatus, then back to Lucerne.  It was terrific. 

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We began with a 90-minute cruise down Lake Lucerne to Alpnachstad.  We had a perfect view of Church of St. Leodegar.

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While the mountains were still covered in clouds, the area by the water cleared and the trip was relaxing as we made several brief stops–no one gets off.

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We landed in the town of Alpnachstad.

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Where we began our trek into the Alps to Mount Pilates via the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, up 7,000 feet.

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At one point the sign said we were in a 48% grade!  

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The top was spectacular.  

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No clouds and great walks up both sides of the mountain crest.  The area has an interesting history.  During the Middle Ages, the area was said to be infested with well-meaning dragons and spirits.  (Perhaps a troll legend as in Iceland?)  Legend also says the restless ghost of Pontius Pilot found its final resting place in the former Lake Pilate.

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Walking up one side, we had a great view of the Hotel Pilatus-Kulm.

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It was like being at the top of the world.  

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We hiked around more of the mountain trails.

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While we had a bite at the hotel restaurant we kept hearing music.  Our waitress said they often have people wandering with their Alpenhorns.  It didn’t take more than a minute before we found a wonderful old man who showed us his horn..it comes apart in 3 places…and he played a small song.  WOW!

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After lunch at Hotel Pilatus-Kulm, we jumped on the gondola to head down the other side of the mountain.  

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We transfered to the cable car and rode down to the last mountainn stop.

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From there, we walked for about an hour, down a path under the cable cars, through alpine forests.

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And so many cows–all with sweet-sounding cow bells.

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Suspicions confirmed–we really did find a troll gadren at a house on the trail!

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And it appears it really, really gets cold up here….

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We reached “civilization” in the town of Kriens.  I loved their fire hydrants.

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And they had the most brillant red rhododendrons.

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From Kriens we caught the bus back to the main train station in Lucerne.

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Before dinner, I walked around Lucerne and  found another fresco-covered building. 

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Dinner was at a table beside the Ruess river just down from our hotel where I drove the swans mad feeding them all our bread…everyone feeds them, so it’s not a matter of keeping them “wild.”

After dinner we had an amazing treat!  A concert from about 20 Alpenhorn musicians.  I heard music at the end of our hotel back street and ran down to investigate.  I found the men and one woman in costume, playing the Swiss horns.  After some pictures, I recorded some of the music.  They played songs in harmony, a much different sound than we heard on Pilatus.  

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At dusk with the Chapel Bridge in the background!  How lucky can you get!

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Tomorrow we take the train back to Zurich and a quick exploration of a very different type of Swiss city.  I been told it’s a shopping metropolis with a small old town area.  That’s the area we plan to explore before heading off on day 4 to the main part of our trip…India, the tigers of Ranthambhore (we hope), and Agra with the Taj Mahal.

 

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