Mount Pilatus – One of my most memorable places to visit.

How would I describe my trip to Mount Pilatus?

Scary – thrilling – exciting – adrenalin pumping – wondrous – magnificent – spectacular – fabulous – great – cold.

Actually no matter how much I try to describe our trip to Mt Pilatus, I will never be able to help you understand just how marvelous the experience of going there really is. It is a place that you have to go and experience it for yourself to fully understand what it is like.

Now if you don’t know anything about Mt Pilatus, the first thing you need to know is that in order to get to the top of the mountain, you can either walk one of the tracks which will take approximately four hours (if you are fit and healthy), or by the cogwheel railway. In fact the cog railway track up the mountain is the steepest in the world with 48 degrees at the steepest part! The way down is by the same railway or by gondola. The Goldola was being refurbished at the time of our visit so we did the trip up and down via the cog railway.

The highest point of the mountain is 2128 meters and the nextΒ  highest point is 2119 meters. Between these two points is the landing point for the cog railway system, two restaurants and a hotel!

Now I am going to add some photos, they are great, but still not good enough to show the reality of the experience. I’ll just number the photos rather than describe each one πŸ™‚

The base of the mountain and station for the cogwheel railway
The base of the mountain and station for the cogwheel railway
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The crane is there for doing repairs to the Gondola station
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The cogwheel railway coming up the track
The cogwheel railway coming up the track
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Can you see the little church on the top of the ridge?
Can you see the little church on the top of the ridge?
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The views are spectacular! the zig zag pattern you can see in some of the photos are the paths that the trampers use to climb up and down. There is another walk along the peak of the mountain that is very dangerous to walk, but is used by many and it leads to a place that can be reached by road. But it is only walked by expert mountain climbers. We wanted to go up the path on the other side of the restaurant/cog railway station but it was closed because of the snow. We walked up to the highest point on the opposite peak and while we were taking photos it started to snow! It was such a special experience to be there and have it snow as well. Just amazing!

And here is a short video of the view at the top…

 

Amazing Lucerne, Switzerland.

Having just spent a day wandering through Zurich, I didn’t think I could find another city in Switzerland that would thrill me more! But honestly Lucerne is wonderful, especially the ‘Old town’.

On Saturday we had booked in for a bus tour which included a trip to Lucerne and also Mount Pilatus. The tour company picked us up from our hotel at 8.30 am. We met up with the rest of the other tourists, and by 9.30 we had left Zurich and were on our way to Lucerne. The views of Zurich as we climbed the hills were amazing, and the countryside was very typical of the Switzerland I had seen in movies and on television as I was growing up.

Looking back at Zurich.
Looking back at Zurich.
Switzerland countryside. Looks lush and green :-)
Switzerland countryside. Looks lush and green πŸ™‚
Typical housing in a village as we pass through
Typical housing in a village as we pass through
A country Inn dressed up for the Christmas season
A country Inn dressed up for the Christmas season
Mt Pilatus in the distance :-)
Mt Pilatus in the distance πŸ™‚

We arrive in Lucerne and the first place to visit was the Lion Monument. This sculpture was made in 1820-21, and was made in honour of the nearly 700 Swiss Guard who died while defending the King in 1792 during the French revolution. The dying lion is portrayed impaled by a spear, covering a shield bearing the fleur-de-lis of the French monarchy; beside him is another shield bearing the coat of arms of Switzerland. The inscription below the sculpture lists the names of the officers and gives the approximate numbers of soldiers who died.

Me and judy in front of the monument
Me and Judy in front of the monument. Not sure why we are holding hands hehe!
The monument
The monument

From there we were all taken to the Lakeside and given and hour and a half to wander around and have a snack to eat. Lucerne has two wooden bridges that you can walk over that take you from the New Town over to the Old Town, although a lot of the New town is really old as well. The whole place is just a delight to walk around. I took hundreds of photos (well not quite, but nearly). Here is a sample for you to look at and to entice you to visit Lucerne yourself one day πŸ™‚

I’ll start with photos of the buildings…

A super wall art
A super wall art
Tall narrow buildings
Tall narrow buildings
Love these walls
Love these walls
The town is full of magnificent designs
The town is full of magnificent designs
A street fountain
A street fountain
A lovely courtyard
A lovely courtyard
Such an interesting street
Such an interesting street
Lovely buildings
Lovely buildings

And now some photos of the bridges…

One of the pedestrian bridges
One of the pedestrian bridges
Looking through the wrought iron!
Looking through the wrought iron!
The other side of the fence
The other side of the fence
Walking across the bridge
Walking across the bridge
A sneaky view of the Bridal bridge
A sneaky view of the Bridal bridge
The wooden Bridal Bridge
The wooden Bridal Bridge
Love the photo!
Love the photo!
Looking back to the smaller wooden bridge
Looking back to the smaller wooden bridge
The bridge that all tourists come to see
The bridge that all tourists come to see

Other photos from and on the bridges…

Judy walking over the bridge
Judy walking over the bridge
Some of the art inside the bridge
Some of the art inside the bridge
That is the new town side but lots of old buildings
That is the new town side but lots of old buildings
Looking across to the Old Town
Looking across to the Old Town
Looking up from the smaller wooden bridge
Looking up from the smaller wooden bridge
From the bridge view
From the bridge view
One of the views from the bridge
One of the views from the bridge
Mt Pilatus in the background
Mt Pilatus in the background

Can you see why we loved Lucerne? A most picturesque town! We both felt like we were in a dream wandering through the place. The thing that brings you back to reality is the fact that hundreds of other tourists are there as well. As many tourists as the number of people that actually live there… almost daily! It’s still worth it, we loved our visit πŸ™‚

A Weekend in Switzerland!

I cannot believe how simply spoilt I am! I have had a wonderful tour of the Balkans from August to September, and then flew to London to look after my grand daughter, and then while in London I manage to get a fabulous weekend away in Switzerland. I know! So super spoilt and so extremely blessed!

My sister Judy came from New Zealand for three weeks to accompany me in London, and as air fares are very reasonable to Europe from England, we decided to spend the middle weekend in Zurich. Actually we had a variety of places on offer, but Zurich won out. Judy had visited Lucerne and Mount Pilatus a few years ago and she knew I would love to visit them both as well. So a trip to Zurich was booked with a day trip on the Saturday to Lucerne and Pilatus πŸ™‚

So with great excitement and a huge lack of sleep (my mind was buzzing with plans) we got up at 4am to catch our very early flight to Zurich.Β  What a lot of fun. I felt like a teenager doing a big ‘OE’.

Can you see the excitement on our faces? We have landed and we are on the train to Zurich city from the airport.
Can you see the excitement on our faces? We have landed and we are on the train to Zurich city from the airport.

Our hotel was about 2.5kms from the main train station and the best way to get to it was by tram. Zurich has trams and buses that cover the whole city and are very easy to use. So once we booked into the hotel, it was off to do our own ‘Discover Zurich’ tour. We weren’t disappointed! What a wonderful city to see, especially the ‘Old Town’. Have a look at these photos and I am sure you will agree with me πŸ™‚

The Christmas tree at the train station
The Christmas tree at the train station
A church in the old town square
A church in the old town square
The Square
The Square
One of the many wonderful views along the river walk
One of the many wonderful views along the river walk
A view from crossing one of the bridges
A view from crossing one of the bridges
Neat reflections!
Neat reflections!
I loved this photo of the river, bridge and buildings
I loved this photo of the river, bridge and buildings
Love this photo!
Love this photo!
The boats on the river and buildigs beyond
The boats on the river and buildings beyond
We had a beautiful day to wander around
We had a beautiful day to wander around
Neat architecture on this building
Neat architecture on this building
Front view of the building
Front view of the building
Looking through the Autumn leaves
Looking through the Autumn leaves
Another lovely photo of the Autumn leaves
Another lovely photo of the Autumn leaves
Two church steeples across the river
Two church steeples across the river
Christmas lights were strung between the buildings but not turned on until the week after we visited
Christmas lights were strung between the buildings but not turned on until the week after we visited
These church windows are by a famous artist?
These church windows are by a famous artist?

While wandering around we found out that we could climb up the stairs into one of the church towers. The steps started as a concrete spiral staircase and then changed to wooden steps that looked very old, and you could easily see through the steps and how high you are! I think we were very brave to keep climbing up to the top πŸ™‚

The church steeple that we climbed the stairs inside to the viewing platform
The church steeple that we climbed the stairs inside to the viewing platform
Looking across to the other steeple
Looking across to the other steeple
I loved this sight. Especially looking down into the square of the building below
I loved this sight. Especially looking down into the square of the building below
See how tiny the people are below :-)
See how tiny the people are below πŸ™‚
The city of Zurich from the church steeple
The city of Zurich from the church steeple
Amazing Zurich!
Amazing Zurich!
The best views from up high :-)
The best views from up high πŸ™‚
Looking over the river to Zurich
Looking over the river to Zurich

So Zurich was a super town to stay for the weekend. Actually we could have stayed longer and seen much more of the place, but we had plans! Saturday was allocated to seeing Lucerne and Mount Pilatus. We went to sleep Friday night feeling satisfied with all the sights we had seen in Zurich. Little did I know that Saturdays sights would amaze me even more. I’ll share those photos with you in my next blog post πŸ™‚