Trip up Pilatus from Lucerne - Fantastic

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June 22nd 2018
Published: June 23rd 2018
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Superb day today. All to plan according to Bob's spreadsheet for our trip. One day to take in the special Pilatus mountain trip and to include a boat trip, train ride and cable car.

Had been concerned last night about the weather as rain was forecast for later in the day and didn't want that slipping over into daytime today. Yes it rained and it was very cloudy when we got up, quite early, but absolutely dry again so we were hopeful the clouds would clear.

First part of the trip was across Lake Lucerne by boat and the boat station was 5 minutes away, just past the lido. Nobody else waiting for our boat except a few sleepy swans and ducks. Arrived on time, to the minute, with Swiss precision and away we went across the lake for an hour's trip to the dock for Pilatus.

We were dressed with warmer clothing than of late as the sun was not out and forecast said 6 degrees on top of the mountain. Others were in their winter woollies and obviously expecting a trip to a winter ski resort.

The second stage of the trip was up the mountain right to the top on the steepest cog railway in the world. At some points it goes up at 45 degrees which, I can tell you, is pretty steep indeed. Fantastic. Tried hard to get photos as we were going up but too tricky as it is so steep and the space on either side so narrow. There were signs warning not to hang out the window and quite rightly as in places we passed really close to where the tracks had been hewed out of the rock face. This is a very rocky and sheer mountain.

Trip up took about 30 minutes as the train crept higher and higher and then we were in the clouds and out of the rocks at the top. Amazing. At the top, rather as expected, as weather was exceedingly cloudy, there was no view. No view at all as we were entirely encased in a big cloud. The hotel, reception centre at the top is quite remarkable. Cannot imagine and can only applaud the effort and skill required to construct something as sophisticated as those buildings 7000+ feet up a pretty sheer rock mountain.

We decided lunch was called for while we gave the sun a chance to break through so had some bowls of rosti and just as we finished an amazing view appeared at the window. The sky was blue, the clouds had gone.

Hurrying outside as those clouds were fast moving, we took advantage of the wonderful views. The cloud tended to only clear one side at a time, quickly rising up and then disappearing again as suddenly as it had appeared. A pretty fantastic sight in its own right never mind the panoramic views when the cloud cleared.

Still big lumps of snow in view, below us obviously as there was little above us, we were on the top. There were lots of others up there with us too, all nationalities and all amazed by the spectacle but we are getting totally fed up with the number of people who take photos, selfies of themselves and don't bother looking at the scenery at alI. I take lots (and lots) of photos but they are nearly all of the wonderful things around us. Photos of ourselves are thrown in to the mix occasionally just as a reminder that we were there too.

After we had feasted our eyes on the spectacular views and been extremely grateful for the weather in offering us cloud free views at last we took our 3rd form of transport. A cable car. This descends sheer down from the mountain top in a large gondola, about 40 people per car. The mist was on the cable car side as we set off so all we could see were the cables and the descent was odd as we couldn't see we were moving. Then suddenly out of the thick cloud and just as suddenly into the cable car station part way down the mountain.

Went outside at this point as could see lots of activity and now the sky was totally blue and clear and wonderful views down the green slopes. We came upon a mountain activity centre par excellence. Zip wires, rope paths and whizzing down the mountain was a toboggan run. Once at the bottom of the run the toboggan and driver were dragged back up again backwards and slowly by a cabled mechanism. Fascinating. Lots of lovely flowers here too though not in the same abundance as Rigi. This mountain experience was just as wonderful as Rigi but in a totally different way.

Back into the cable car station we took the 4th stage of the trip in a little 4 person gondola, but fortunately had one to ourselves. This is an incredibly long ride down, must be a hundred cars on the cable. It pulled into a station and we got out then realised we were only 2/3rds of the way down so hurriedly got back in again and carried on down to the bottom.

Then a walk down the hill, following signposts to the town where we caught the No. 1 bus into the Bahnhof in Lucerne and then the no. 8 bus back to the campsite. Loved the buses. Bendy trolley buses, super efficient, running to a timetable shown at the side of the road and to the minute.

As the day had warmed up beautifully, but not too sticky hot like yesterday and as I refused to leave Lucerne without another swim in its gorgeous lake, we went to the Lido and had a lovely swim in the clear waters.

Have concluded that we really love this area of Switzerland and will not hesitate to return here. Even the campsite has continued to grow on us. We can see glimpses of mountains from Tandy and top of boats passing on the lake. As we had dinner we were entertained by Cedric the young Great-tit who was enjoying the food I had put out and was practically walking across our feet to get to it. For a city site this is a pretty green area and the site is extremely well run. Will be sorry to move on but move on we must. Alsace and France tomorrow.

PS Cedric the friendly great tit was so sad to see us go next morning that he hopped onto Tandy's step then flew round us inside for a couple of minutes. Think he was looking for the exceedingly good food I had been feeding him (I always bring a pot of bird mix with hsfe. the eedny'ssdnsn

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