The itinerary for the day was full. First, we were to head off by bus to the beautiful Swiss city of Luzern, where we were to have a walking tour. Then it would be off to climb the majestic Mt. Pilatus before heading back into Luzern for some free time before heading back to the chalet for our last night in Switzerland. I had some side plans, as well, which I'll tell you about in my next post, but suffice it to say that this was a day of beautiful scenery and good company.
We got an early start on our walking tour of spectacular Luzern, probably one of the most scenic and serene places I've ever been. Out of all the tours we would go on on this trip, this one was the least boring, and besides, there were plenty of beautiful vistas to check out while you weren't paying attention. Among the many things we learned, two of them stood out. One was the history of this long, cool walking bridge across a sheltered part of the lake which had burned down completely and restored. The covered bridge is picturesque from the outside and even more interesting along its length, with beautiful original paintings depicting Luzern history perched above the walkway.
The other interesting site was this monument in the form of a lion carved into the rock perched above a small lake. The monument was dedicated to all of the Swiss soldiers who had perished in the name of other countries during battles they fought in as mercenaries. Switzerland is a beautiful place, no doubt, but even today you can tell that there is not much of a life to be had in these remote mountain regions. Young Swiss men have historically found being mercenaries a viable trade, as it offered the opportunity to travel and it took them away from the local farms where they'd surely have to find work were they to stay at home.
For the rest of that morning, we simply marveled at the awesome beauty of this place. Luzern is a quaint and peaceful city and we were lucky to have such a beautiful day in which to take it all in. Rather than describe it all in words, I believe pictures would better serve...
One of the things I was looking forward to the most ahead of our trip was Mt. Pilatus. Living here on Long Island, I do not often get a chance to see mountains, which I always found fascinating, and compared to the mountains we have here in upstate New York, an Alp has got to be way more dramatic. Waaayyyyy!!!!
As I had mentioned, the weather that day was absolutely beautiful for early spring. Though the mountain was snow-capped, at the bottom it was all green. We made our way to the first of two cable cars which would take us to a landing much further up. Along the ride we got to see some of the most spectacular views.
Soon enough, we reached the point of elevation where snow began to appear. As we climbed higher and higher towards the second landing, we became surrounded by the white stuff, but it was apparent as we exited the gondola that it was still a very warm day.
Soon enough we were on the second gondola, a larger and newer one that fit about fifty people. The whole crew boarded the vehicle for the last of the ascent, which was very steep, and once we'd landed at the summit, well I'll let you see for yourself what it was like...
That last picture is of a trio of musical performers who performed some decidedly appropriate music in the restaurant atop the mountain. It was a very sweet ending to a very busy and exciting morning, and we were just getting started...