Time to move onto the next stage of our trip. We left Langwiesen around midday for Schaffhausen where we purchased our Swiss Pass for the next 15 days. We then took the next train going to Zurich Airport to meet Brendan and family coming from Auckland and Dubai. They took longer than usual to get through the airport so we had some waiting to do. Finally they arrived and before we got underway for Lucern they purchased their Swiss Passes. They had had incredibly high temperatures in Dubai (42 degrees) so were very pleased to be somewhere much cooler at 24. Our train to Lucern arrived at 4.45 and we were soon dragging our bags up a long street to the Alpha Hotel where there is a family room for the family and we have another on another floor. It is a very average hotel but clean and close to downtown so it will be fine for the three nights here.
After settling in it was time for an introduction to the city for the family and a drink and dinner. We headed for the Old Town and walked over the covered bridge which is a major attraction and eventually
to a lesser street for a meal which was perfect for what we wanted and the sun was still shining. We have been here several times before but it was great to see that Tracey was taken in by the old buildings and the busyness of the place. Shopping is great, the transport is excellent, the setting is lovely and today the weather is perfect. It's a good start to their holiday. For us, we will be mainly tour guides from here on as most things we introduce them to we will have done before. It will be a little more difficult with the kids as they won't appreciate the historical side of things.
We got an early morning wake up from Mila and Deken who had been awake since 4.50. The time zones are messing them up so they were down the street at 6.30 for coffee and hot chocolate to fill in the time.
Our morning was spent getting some food for lunch then the train out to Alpnachstat where the cog wheel train leaves for Mt Pilatus. After some waiting we got our little train up at 12.20. It takes 45 minutes
Pilatus cog railway
Up to 48 degrees at it's steepest
to click and clack and haul it's way up a 48 degrees incline all the way to the top. It seems impossible to imagine why someone would put a railway up such a difficult place. I guess for the money as it certainly is spectacular. Once at the top we had our lunch then walked up to the highest point and looked out to mountains, towns, farms and valleys in every direction. Clouds billowed and fluffed in every now and then making it a little cooler but on the whole it was very warm up there.
We then took the cable car down to the first stop on the other side of Pilatus where we stopped for the family to go on the long luge. It looked great fun so Linds and I found a strategic place to sit so we could get photos of them. We nearly turned to stone waiting for them to come down. They had fun but were held up from an exhilerating fast ride by timid slow riders in front. We were certainly entertained - some flew, some screamed, the heavy ones had plenty of speed, a couple came off at one of the
Pilatus cable car
High above the ground overlooking Lucern in the distance
bends and some crawled down with their brakes on.
After watching some older people on a high rope adventure course in the trees we got the gondola back down the mountain. It must be one of the longest rides in Switzerland or Europe and soared over paddocks, trails, trees and farms. Down at the bottom we caught the bus back into Lucern.
A well earned drinks stop was had by the swift river in the Old Town where we could view all the bridges, city walls and old buildings. This was followed by a walk through the excellent shopping area (must put some time aside for tomorrow), to the Bahnhof looking for a toilet then around the lake front for dinner - an expensive one given the fairly ordinary food. The day was completed by a slow walk in the very warm air back to the hotel hopefully for the family to get their sleeping pattern more in tune with here.
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