*We both had a good night's sleep--hooray!
*I have to mention breakfast. I'm a big fan of breakfast and I was not disappointed. Our hotels all had buffets that included fresh breads and pastries; local, fresh meats (salami, ham) and cheeses (at least 3 varieties); scrambled eggs; bacon; cereals; fresh jams; juices; fruit; and usually tomatoes and cucumbers. It was a great meal to start our day with.
*Ride cableway and train to the top of Mt. Rigi (mountain behind our hotel)
*We hiked all the way back down the mountain. We really enjoyed the first half down. It was an easy trail with beautiful views and some wildflowers. We had lunch at the point between the cableway and train. It was a big mistake to go down the last half by foot. It was very steep and too much to tackle on our first day. It didn't help that we followed the wrong trail and took an "expert" way down rather than an easier path. We were very sore when we got back to the hotel.
*We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at a restaurant by the lake; we choose to sit outside even though it was a bit chilly.
*We walked along the lake and came across a local band made up of all wind instruments including the alp horn.
The ride up
The town of Weggis. Our hotel is on the bump that's in the middle of the picture.
Cog-wheel train (the cogs are in the center of the track and prevent the train from going too fast down or rolling back down the mountains)
Notice the large slug (the pinecone is as long as a finger)--these slugs were everywhere
After dinner walk (ignore the lettuce in my teeth; I haven't edited much yet)
*Up early to catch buses and trains to Mt. Pilatus
*We rode the steepest train in the world to the top of the mountain; it had a grade of 48%.
*We walked around on top of the mountain before riding a gondola part of the way down so we could ride on the alpine slide.
*We went back to the top in order to ride the train all the way back down.
*We walked around the city of Lucerne and saw the Chapel bridge and Mill bridge (very old wood bridges).
*I'll mention here that we skyped with the kids every day. The time difference is 7 hours so we would call about 7-8 pm which was lunch time in Oklahoma. I think it really helped the kids and especially Luke to see where we were and tell us about his activities. I know it also helped Troy and I to relax a bit more to see them each day. We missed them terribly.
At the top
A part of the very steep grade to the top. The train cars were actually tiered to account for the grade.
He played "Amazing Grace" on the alp horn.
Going back up to ride again--you were pulled backwards up the mountain to get back to the top. It was awesome because the view forward was mountains and the lake.
Going down the slide
There were tons and tons of swans on the lake.
Chapel bridge; the tower used to be a prison
On the bridge
Lake front in Lucerne
*We slept in at my request. :)
*We got on a boat tour in the hopes of seeing more of the lake but the weather was bad--cold, raining and very cloudy. It was nice to just sit for a while though and enjoy what we could see, the hot chocolate and each other.
*We rode the train from Brunnen (a small town on the lake) back to Lucerne.
*We walked to the Lion Monument (a memorial to the Swiss Guard who were killed protecting a French King--basically the king knew all the Guard would be killed but he sent them anyway).
*Next, we walked through Glacier Garden. It had glacial potholes from 20 million years ago--in non-geologic terms, holes formed from melt water and boulders under the glacier. We geologists found it fascinating.
*More shopping and touring of Lucerne in and out of the rain.
*We had dinner from the local grocery store in Weggis (food is very expensive in Switzerland).
It was cold! We were the only ones sitting outside.
The photographer :)
The architecture was amazing. Swiss chalets next to much more modern buildings.
The boat we were on was a paddle-wheel. These are the giant pistons the ran the paddles. The boat was built in 1901 and these are the original pistons. It was remarkable how clean they were.
An old boat house
Dreary weather on the lake
The lion was actually carved right into the massive wall of rock.
One of the potholes
Our room is the middle room on the floor below the sign