Food, History & Traditions, Travel

Travel Odyssey – Sightseeing in Lucerne, Switzerland

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The view over the Vierwaldstaerttersee ( Lake Lucerne)

Part 10

EXCURSION to MT PILATUS

The top of the World… From Mt Pilatus, Lucerne, Switzerland. From there, one can see the Bernese Oberland, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland…fabulous. And this is was our destination this morning, by Cable car and Gondola.

Once upon a time, citizens thought it would bring bad luck to climb Mt Pilatus, but now, millions of tourists visit every year, without any kind of disastrous consequences. In winter, one might see snow at this altitude, but not this year. There was no snow to be seen in early December, at least.

Nevertheless, the views are still spectacular in weather such as this: it was sunny, mild but not cold! Ordinarily, the mountain is covered with fog in the morning, but not so today. The vistas were ours, to be seen.

The entrance to the Mt Pilatus Gondola attraction…

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Our gondola’s wheels whirled and bumped along the track taking us higher and higher. Below, we could see quaint Swiss style houses with ever so neatly packed timber piles, and a summer toboggan run.

Several fellow passengers started to get a bit nervous with the ever-increasing height…. but this was not a time to opt out, so up we went,  higher and higher. “Just look out, not down, or up”, I reassured them.

Up ,UP, UP, the Gondola went until we came to the end of the Gondola cable..DSC00895 DSC00893

But the ride was not completely over, as we weren’t yet at the summit of Mt. Pilatus.

Now we had to squish 40+ people into another cable car, that had the maximum capacity of only 40. Slightly disconcerting to say the least, as it swung back and forth, like the pendulum on  a clock, in mid air. It reminded me of thes cene in one one of those James Bond movie scenes. Was Roger Moore going to pop his head through the roof to rescue us?

And then, the thought struck me, we have to go down in this thing, again with 40 + people.

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The Cable car entrance

Don’t you just love the shadow Mt Pilatus throws in the next photograph?

It looks like some ancient mythological giant..

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The incline suddenly became EXTREME, but it was only moments later that we arrived at the summit…

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The American did a version of Planking: T- balling at 7000 feet. Weird.

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You can see the cable and severe slope it climbs in the foreground.  The summit views were mind blowing!

However we still weren’t standing at the actual summit.  That required a short walk, about 50 steps, that took us to the very highest point possible, where a small hut, possibly containing metereological instruments, is located.

This is where the incredible photo opportunities abound.

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The stairs visible in foreground…

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A small cafe and souvenir shop is located inside the building, where you alight from the Cable car. It was here that I bought a rather lovely Swiss watch, one that had a leather band with edelweiss and the Swiss emblem embroidered on it. And no surprise: it keeps great time! Well, I confess I also did HAVE to get the mandatory T – Shirt,  to say I had made the 7000 ft Ascent. Possibly my highest ascent to date. (We don’t have too many high mountains in Australia).

On the way down, I pondered why the return journey passes ever so much quicker. Then just a short coach ride took us back to the Astoria hotel in Luzern itself.

The breakfast we had earlier,that day, provided by Hotel Astoria, in the building next door, was nothing to write home about, (so much for Swiss cuisine), so we headed straight for the Bakery, opposite Bucherer.

And yes, we did collect both THOSE souvenir spoons, on the way.

What did I eat? I could not resist a Berliner donut, deliciously decadent, and so incredibly unhealthy, don’t you agree?

Sitting on the shores of beautiful Lake Lucerne, in the glorious sunshine, temperature an almost perfect 6 degrees. The moment so fabulous, I decided to text my work colleagues back home in Australia. Just thought I should share. I did not think afterwards, it was the middle of the night and probably woke some of them up. Oops.

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SHOPPING in LUCERNE

If you arrive in Lucerne late on a Thursday night, you will find the shops open til late, but remember many shops such as Casa grande, one of the main souvenir shops, closes during the daytime, around lunch, for 2 hours.

The Swiss are quite protective of their midday siestas.  As for what to buy  here: it is expensive, but if you stick to locally made goods, (ie. Swiss made), you can snag a good buy.

Souvenirs to buy include: Swiss knifes, Swiss watches, Swiss army knives, one for each of my family, with a variety of gadgets suited to their particular needs. I also purchased one of the very best kitchen knifes you could possibly get, at Bucherer.

It is fine quality, not hideously expensive, perfectly weighted, and will last forever! I love it. Also a great souvenir. I made a mental note not to forget to declare it to Customs, as I did not want to tell my husband I would be late home as I had been arrested!

I am repeating something from the previous post, but feel it warrants a seondary mention: You simply must try a Swiss fondue which I had tried the night before

(see previous post)

which more or less constitutes the following recipe:

Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue

Rub a garlic clove around a Fondue pot and heat gently with the following ingredients.

Select a quantity of cheese suited to feed the number of persons dining:

1/2 of which is Emmanthal Cheese, and 1/2 of which is Gruyere cheese

1/2 teaspoon of Cherry Brandy, my absolute favourite spirit. Mind you if I bought it for the purpose of cooking, I can tell you that it would not make it to the pot.

A quantity of stale brown bread. Dip square into the pot and generously coat with melted cheese.

Tastes so good, and so much it could feed a Swiss Army 😛

Next entry: An afternoon cruise on Lake Luzern (Lucerne)