Today we were on five different trains traveling from Geneva to Lucerne. Our second train was on the scenic Golden Pass line. Below is a picture of my group on the train as we were climbing out of Montreux. That is Lake Geneva out the windows.
It was yet another beautiful day. Weather has been perfect everyday here in Switzerland and the forecast says it will stay that way until I leave on Tuesday.
We took an hour break in Interlaken for lunch. We then had to take a slight detour on our journey. A mud slide closed the route we were going to take between Interlaken and Lucerne. So we had to take the train to Bern and then another train to Lucerne from there. Below is a picture of the beautiful lake near Interlaken.
We arrived in Lucerne at 4:00. It is surprisingly warm here. Sunday it's supposed to reach 90. Have not seen much of the city yet. My hotel is just a couple blocks from the lake and the main train station. It also has a large comfortable bed. YAHOO! The last four nights the mattresses were about an inch thick. Below is a picture of the Lion Monument here in Lucerne the only thing I have seen in the city so far.
Tonight we went to dinner. We walked to nearby Old Town where we walked across the historic Chapel Bridge. This is really a beautiful city. There was lively entertainment after dinner where we learned to yodel and play the alphorn.
The rail tour ends tomorrow and I'll be on my own again after that. I have plenty of activities to keep me busy through Monday. It should be a nice end to a great vacation.
It was another sunny and warm day here in Switzerland. This morning I went to the top of Mount Stanserhorn which is just outside Lucerne. The first half of the trip was by funicular and the second half by an aerial tramway. There was a good view from the top. The far off snowcapped peaks are the Eiger and the Jungfraujoch where I am going tomorrow.
Below is a nice view of Lucerne from the mountain.
Next we went on a horse-drawn carriage ride in the country.
We went to a real working farm where the owners treated us to fresh homemade apple juice and pastries. Everything was delicious.
As you can see in the picture below it was another ugly day.
In the afternoon I walked around town. Below is the famous Chapel Bridge.
Beautiful Lake Lucerne below.
And a closer picture of the Chapel Bridge.
Getting ready to leave for the farewell dinner with the group in about an hour. It was another nice group of people. About half of us were from the U.S. and the other half from Australia and New Zealand.
Today I took a day trip to Jungfrau, Top of Europe. I set out at 9:30 by taking a bus to Lauterbrunnen (2612 feet) where I boarded a cogwheel train. Below is a picture of the climb out of Lauterbrunnen. There is a nice waterfall coming down the canyon wall.
Below is another picture looking back on Lauterbrunnen but a little further up.
In the picture below you can see the train behind us as we were crossing the timberline.
I had to change to another train in Kleine Scheidegg (6762 feet). Below is a picture looking back on the train station at Kleine Scheidegg.
Below is a picture of the last thing you see before going into a tunnel for 45 minutes.
Once in the tunnel the train stops about every fifteen minutes and you can get off and walk down short tunnels to windows for views of the mountains. Below is the view from the first window.
The landscape changed quite a bit at window number two.
After about two hours on the cogwheel trains we reached the top, altitude 11,332 feet. Still completely underground, you walk through a tunnel and then up an elevator to the Sphinx, the highest observation platform in Europe.
Below is the view from the Sphinx.
Next I walked to the Plateau. To get there you had to walk through an ice tunnel. It was quite a long tunnel through solid ice. Below are some carvings in the tunnel.
On the other end of the tunnel is the Plateau where you can come above ground and walk out on the snow. Below is the Jungfrau (13,642 feet).
Below is the Monch (13,475 feet).
I spent about two hours on top before coming back down. I had to change trains in Kleine Scheidegg again. I took a different route down from there. Below is Mount Eiger (13,026 feet).
We were delayed about five minutes for a herd of cattle to cross the track.
Below is a picture looking down on Grindelwald (3393 feet) where I got off the train and returned to Lucerne by bus.
It was an all day trip. I didn't get back to the hotel until 7:30. Tomorrow is my last day in Switzerland and I have another mountain trip planned.
Today was my twelfth and final day in Switzerland, and the sun was shining for the twelfth day in a row. It's hard to believe that I've spent 12 days in a country the size of West Virginia. It sure seems bigger than that. Today I went up Mount Pilitus which is right here in Lucerne. The trip started on a gondola. In the picture below you can see the climb out of Lucerne.
The gondola ride took about twenty minutes.
The next segment of the climb to the summit of 7000 foot Mount Pilatus was on an aerial tramway.
Below is the view from the top.
The view below looks down on Lake Lucerne.
I spent 90 minutes on top and then went down on the other side of the mount on the world's steepest cogwheel railway. In the picture below you can see one of the cogwheel trains starting down.
The incredibly steep ride down on the cogwheel train lasted about 45 minutes.
The cogwheel train let you out on the other side of the mountain 12 kilometers from Lucerne. I returned to Lucerne by boat.
The boat ride on Lake Lucerne lasted a little over an hour.
Tomorrow morning I'll take the train to the Zurich airport. From Zurich it is just under a nine hour flight to New York. After a short layover at JFK it is home from there and back to work on Thursday. I hope I haven't bothered you all too much.
Until sometime next year,
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