We arrived in Lucerne, Switzerland, yesterday afternoon after a long trip from Venice. We had almost two hours in which to change trains in Milan on the way and it was quite difficult in a crowded station which was undergoing renovations and not a place to sit anywhere. What a change to get on a clean Swiss local train at Arth Goldau for our final 30 minutes into Lucerne!
Today, we decided to go to Mt Pilatus which dominates the skyline behind Lucerne. This craggy mountain is just over 2100 metres and is so named because legend says that the restless ghost of the Roman governor Pontius Pilot had found its resting place in the former Lake Pilatus.
I read that the first person to climb this mountain was Richard Wagner in 1859. Queen Victoria ascended on horseback. We took the easy way – by train. The first part of the trip was on a local train that travelled around Lake Lucerne to Alpnaschtstad from where we took the little cog railway right to the summit. This little railway is one of the oldest cog railways in Switzerland and it climbs at an average of 40 degrees. Its steepest section is up / down a slope of 48 degrees.
The view at the top was spectacular. We could see across the peaks of nearby mountains and across the lake back to Lucerne. Our special treat was to have a hotdog and glass of wine in the picnic area at the summit. Another well timed treat was to hear five men playing beautiful harmonic tunes on their very large alpine horns.
After lunch, we came back down the railway and then came back by boat across the lake. The scenery was superb – little farm houses and barns in what appeared to be manicured meadows. Every cow carried a large bell which clanged as they moved. Many of the little towns along the way had a small dock where we stopped to pick up and put off passengers on the way.
Back in Lucerne, we had a look around the old town and the very famous covered wooden bridge over the river. It is Saturday today and the shops close at four, so to Jill’s disappointment, we couldn’t do any shopping.