Day 11: Lucerne

On this day most people who had rooms not facing Mt. Pilatus were waiting with anticipation to see what it was like this morning. As it turned out it was clear up top but still quite hazy below. The decision was made to go for it. This trip was the most expensive added option of the entire tour. Most people didn't have enough Swiss Francs to pay for it. So a stop at the only bank machine in Giswil was organized on the way the Mt Pilatus. (It was on the way there.) It really is quite something when you put you bank card from a Canadian bank in one of these machines in Switzerland, enter a PIN number that's never be used outside Brantford before and 2 or 3 minutes later you have 100 Francs in your hand. On to Mt Pilatus!

The most common method of going up Mt Pilatus is up the Cog railway from Alpnachstad (back side of mountain to Lucerne) and come down on the Lucerne side by an Aerial Tramway and as they call them Panoramic Gondolas. Alpnachstad is 436 meters (m) above sea level and the top is 2132 meters. The tramway comes down from about 2100 meters to 1415 m and the gondolas come down in 3 hops from 1415 m to 1026 m to 516 m and finally Lucerne at 435 m. (For those non-metric types 436 m = 1430 ft, 2132 m = 6994 ft, 2100 m = 6890 ft, 1415 m = 4642 ft, 1026 m = 3366 ft, 516 m = 1693 ft and 435 m = 1427 ft.) Both trips take just over 30 minutes. Being the unique group we were we did it opposite, up the Lucerne side and down the other side. (Actually it was a booking problem on the cog railway but the other sounds better.)

Our tour host Randy had been here after spending some time studying in Einsiedeln last year. While here he left messages for us and his friend Brenda (assistant tour host). He took photos of the locations where he hid them and then when we got there he gave us the photo and said find them. Brenda's was found, ours wasn't. What was our message? It was that Rostad Tours would pay for some drinks at the last dinner in Hockenheim 2 nights from this day.

Here are the photos of that. It was pretty impressive even if it was slightly hazy.

Starting up Mt Pilatus.

Further up.

Even further up.

We made it! 7000 ft up. Building in foreground
at bottom is last hop to just right of this picture.

Looking north. Lucerne is to the right.

Similar to left slightly larger. West end of
Lucerne to lower right.

Lucerne in centre.Can faintly make out river
outlet centre right towards centre.

Further east. Lucerne just off left centre edge of
picture. Water is mostly Lake Lucerne.

Max and Beth looking for the message.

Randy and Brenda looking for the message.

Me taken by Pete Byerlay looking south.

Looking more to the southwest. Clouds over
mountains and snow on the mountains there.

Mostly south with some east. Towards Giswil I
think. Most likely to centre left.
Cog railway coming down. Highest incline in the
world. Some spots are at a 48% gradient.

3 down bound cars line up on a to siding to
allow 3 or 4 upbound cars to pass.

These were the 2 cars behind us as we neared
the bottom.

This was my third trip to Lucerne and my third visit to Mt Pilatus. On two of my 3 Mt. Pilatus visits the view has been good. On the second one we entered fog one or two hundred feet below the top on the upbound cog rail trip. You could only see maybe 100 ft on top. As we came down the aerial tramway towards Lucerne about 100 ft below the top we come out of the fog and had perhaps the best view of any of the 3 visits. If your interested in more about this they have a web site located at www.pilatus.com/ .

Having been in Lucerne 2 previous times I didn't take many pictures. The best known feature is the covered bridge but I didn't take a picture this trip. Here is about the only one there is.

This is a lion carved out of a rock wall. It is a
memorial to swiss people who died in war. I don't
remember if it was one specific war or just war in
general. I think it's a specific war but I don't
remember which one.

We also visited Glacier Gardens in Lucerne which is right beside the Lion monument. It deals with the geologic history of this area. It was interesting but difficult to take pictures in. The rest of the day was taken up with free time for shopping ecetra. I bought several Swiss chocolate bars which I haven't eaten yet. I must do that. After the 25 minute return drive to Giswil we had dinner and then, along with the Rostad #2 group were treated to a Swiss folklore show. Here are some pictures of that.

Tour host Randy taking his turn on the Alp horn.

O Canada as performed by Peter Doran. He
only got the first line though.

He just couldn't resist could he!

A swiss dance how it was supposed to be done.

The 2 groups try the same dance.

A musical piece using some unusual instruments.

Peter Doran at it again this time with box and
beater. Other Rostad host Rev. Phil Newman in
background.

Tour hosts Randy and Phil doing their respective
things. We know Rev Randy is not too musical
so he is probably better where he is.
There he is again! Better keep a close watch on
him Brenda!
He's still there. The music never seemed to stop.
Each time we thought it was over it started again.

The audience from the two Rostad groups.

Annemarie and Linda, Just getting that rhythm.

If you haven't been to Lucerne then I recommend going. It's one of the prittyest places around. It is very touristy but somehow you can seem to overlook that because of the scenery and the environment.

On to our last stop in Hockenheim (via the Black Forest) for Rothenburg and Heidelberg.

On to Day 12. Return to Home Page.

Created: August 24th, 2000.
Last Updated: September 1st, 2000.