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Lucerne, USA

Mt. Pilatus - Lucerne - Lake Lucerne Monday, September 29, 2008
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Madison
Zermatt
Zermatt
Wengen
Gstaad
Gstaad
Lucerne
Zurich

Gstaad - Bern - Lucerne - Zurich

Today was our last full day in Switzerland. We departed Gstaad mid-morning and took the train to Bern, then Lucerne. Lucerne is a beautiful lakeside city surrounded by hills, a lake, and a few mountains. Lucerne (Luzern),is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne and seat of the district with the same name. With a population of around 60,000, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland. Located on the shore of Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstattersee) within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne is a big tourist destination. One of the city's famous landmarks is Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke), a wooden bridge first built in the 14th century.

Lucerne - Pilatus

Pilatus

After taking the train to Lucerne, we took a city bus (Nbr 1) to Kriens where you can buy the lift tickets to the summit of Pilatus. For this adventure, we took the Golden Circle Route... up from Kriens by aerial tram, then down the other side via cogwheel, then lake steamer to Lucerne. Kriens - Pilatus - Alpnachstad - Lake Lucerne - City. First take the 3 stage cablecar to the summit of Pilatus. Then, take what is known as the world's steepest cogwheel railway up to Alpnachstad, then the lake steamer back to town. At the Pilatus Kulm peak (2132 meters) you'll see alpine meadows, mountain streams, rugged cliffs and breathtaking panoramic views�over the lakes of Central Switzerland, not to mention the Alps � no fewer than 73 mountain peaks.

(click to enlarge)

The Golden Route

Kriens - Pilatus - Alpnachstad - Lake Lucerne - City. First take the 3 stage cablecar to the summit of Pilatus. Then, take what is known as the world's steepest cogwheel railway up to Alpnachstad, then the lake steamer back to town. At the Pilatus Kulm peak (2132 meters) you'll see alpine meadows, mountain streams, rugged cliffs and breathtaking panoramic views�over the lakes of Central Switzerland, not to mention the Alps � no fewer than 73 mountain peaks.

Taking a panoramic train car back from Gstaad.

An unobstructed view of the rail from the last car.

After spending about 15 minutes looking for lockers downstairs we found the lockers on either side of the train tracks in the Lucerne station.

Boarding at Kriens, after taking the number 1 bus from the station, about a 15 minute ride.

Map of the Golden Circle Route.

Map of Pilatus.

Map legend.

Pilatus brochure cover.

Pilatus fares and timetable.

Pilatus fares and timetable.

Lift ticket - 32 CHF using both aerial tram and cogwheel.

Map of Pilatus.

Map of Pilatus.

Enroute via cablecar to the summit.

The aerial tram from Kriens goes over a few meadows, just spectacular with Lucerne far below.

At the top of Pilatus.

One of two hotels at the peak.

Looking across the small gathering area at the peak.

There are several sun terraces at Pilatus.

Pepe at Pilatus.

The day we were at Pilatus, clouds were rolling in and out partially obscuring the view, but providing a great backdrop to the terrain.

One of the many tunnels on the way down from the summit.

Steep descent from the top.

At mid-point the cars separate.

As the altitude changes, you go from rock, to pasture, to tree line.

It's amazing how steep the tracks are installed on the mountain.

Just about down to the base of the moutain.

The cogwheel station at Alpnachstad.

The lake steamer arriving at Alpnachstad.

The lake cruisers are included with your SwissPass.

The lake ferry makes about 10 stops around the lake enroute to the train station in Lucerne.

We had a light lunch aboard the steamer.

View from the bow of the lake on the beautiful sunny fall day on Lake Lucerne.

When the skipper docks, he moves to the outboard nav station.

A glimpse of the mountainous terrain surrounding the lake.

There are many small villages which populate the shores of Lake Lucerne.

Even on a Monday, the outdoor gathering spots on the boat can get crowded.

One of the lake steamers docked. Note the cogwheel which goes up a mountain to a resort.

As the sunset, it provided a spectacular sunset as our lake cruise ended, on our last full day touring in Switzerland.

Approaching Lucerne.

Passing another lake steamer.

Lucerne has a beautiful city skyline.

Approaching the train station and dock.

Docking at the station.

After disembarking the lake steamer, we gathered out luggage and took the train to Zurich.

We got a room at the airport Hilton, which is about a 10 minute shuttle ride from the airport.

The Hilton was clean, well organized, but pricey.

This is a nice touch - a rubber duck in the shower.

End of Final Full Day in Switzerland

Lake Cruiser in Lucerne

Another adventure packed day ending in Zurich at the airport Hilton. The train and transportation system in Switzerland is amazing. You can scale the entire country easily within a week. What I like to do is hit alot of locations, and find the best to return to and relax the next trip. For a week, all I had was a day-pack and a very small roll-aboard carry-on piece of luggage. If you manage your clothes well, you can pack light and enjoy the trip more. If you're only staying at places a few nights, it also reduces the packing. We lucked out on this trip with little to no rain, so I didn't get to test my new eVent raincoat from REI, but it worked well throughout the trip as a later for the frigid peaks (when layering).

(click to enlarge)

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