On Top of the Swiss Alps

October 2011

A trip to Switzerland will never be complete if you don't get to climb up the Swiss Alps.  And where better to start this adventure than  in Luzern.  I loved Luzern way back when we first took a lift to Mt. Stanserhorn in 2002.   It was an amazing experience and I couldn't wait to try a new conquest:  going up Mt. Pilatus!

We took the train from Zurich to Luzern.  Travel time is about an hour and the roundtrip train ticket costs 46 SFr (2011).  Switzerland is not known for Swiss time for nothing.  Trains leave on the dot and we had to break into a run to get into our cart on time.  If you booked an early train schedule, I would advise bringing along a snack to take on onboard.

From Luzern, you'd have to go to either Kriens or Alpnachstad to reach the Pilatus Summit.  We took the Silver Ticket Option -- which was taking a train from Lucerne to Alpnachstad, a very steep cogwheel railway to Pilatus Kulm, and an aerial cableway from Pilatus Kulm to Kriens.

This is how high the cogwheel railway could go!

Finally reaching the summit was thrilling!  The wind was blowing hard, the air cold but the sun was out, shining on the very white snow.  From Mt. Pilatus, one can see 73 alpine peaks.  We climbed up two of the peaks here in Mt. Pilatus and even though the climb literally took our breath away, it was worth it.  We were rewarded by spectacular views all around.  When we reached the top, we sat on the rocks, nibbled on some snacks and enjoyed the moment of just being there.  Really awesome experience!

The Mt Pilatus summit has a hotel, restaurant and an observation deck.

It wasn't snowing when we went.  To create the snowfall effect,
one of our friends tossed some fresh snow :) 

To get down, we took the cable car and a bus to get to the Old Town.  To say that Luzern is picturesque could be an understatement.  This place may have it all:  you have the mountain ranges, a lake, a river, centuries-old towers, fortified walls, quaint shops that carry Swiss-army knives and Swiss-watches, restaurants and hotels.  Add the cows and sheep that graze the green, green grass!   No wonder this town draws in a large number of tourists all year round.

The most famous attraction in town is the Chapel Bridge, which lies diagonally across the Reuss River.  The bridge features interior paintings that depict events in Luzern's history.  Some of these paintings were just restored after the originals were damaged by a fire.

We walked on the bridge and did more climbing up one of the Nine Towers that are part of the rampart walls that surround the city.  It's a long way up but I think that it's worth it... again!  We got a panoramic view of the city and the tower:

Luzern is a walking city, so take time to stop, catch your breath and enjoy the wonderful scenery.  There are a lot of nice spots to sit back and just take in the beauty of nature.  I enjoyed this leg of our Europe  trip and I wouldn't hesitate to return :)

* Photos are Skycab's own.