Dear Luke and Leia,
Today we took a day train trip from Zurich to Lucerne and nearby Mount Pilatus. Whenever we think of Switzerland, Swiss cheese, snow-capped mountains and gorgeous mountain lakes come to mind. This trip has it all, every icon you can probably think of.
Switzerland has very efficient train service. The train ride was beautiful and we decided to start our day with seeing Mount Pilatus. We took a gondola to the top of the mountain and it proved to be half the fun. Stunning views surrounded us as we climbed the mountain. Higher and higher we rose and it brought the full view of Lake Lucerne and the city around it. Even with the famous Swiss cheese you need cows and we were rewarded with that as well, complete with the cow bells.
At the top of Mount Pilatus
Next on the list was seeing the snow capped mountains that make up the Swiss Alps. The top of the mountain has a visitor's center, an observation platform and a historic hotel.
There are also some really good trails, including one called the Dragon Trail. Nana was fascinated to learn that dragons were once said to live in the caves on Mt. Pilatus. We hiked another trail to the highest point and were rewarded with a view of Lucerne and a 360-degree view of snow capped mountains – even now, in August! And to top it off, far below on the observation platform we could actually hear a busker play an alphorn, that 8-foot-long straight horn you sometimes see in ads about Switzerland.
The best thing I saw was a base jumper riding the thermals with his parachute. His was a far better view than the one we had, stuck on the ground.
The Lucerne part of our day trip
After we had our fill of Mount Pilatus, we returned to Lucerne to see the up-close view of the city and the lake around it. We loved the wooden covered bridge that crossed the azure lake and was lined with boxes of colorful pansies. It's called the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) and was originally built in 1333; it is the oldest covered bridge in Europe.
Because we had to catch the train back to Zurich we had a limited time to explore the city and no time for an official tour. What we did see was great architecture, fun street performers and a fantastic city that makes great use of its lakefront. Lucerne, set against the back drop of the Swiss Alps and a deep blue mountain lake, deserves more than the paltry amount of time we were able to give it.
It is time to close for now and get ready for our last city visit before embarking on our river cruise. We miss you two, as always.
Nana and Pap