Another day, Day 7.
The day was to show how ‘unSwiss’ we had remained.
How the wheels go round and round on the Cogwheel Railway!
During breakfast we met the Hotel Waldstatterhof‘s General Manager, Patric Graber who is a good friend of the owners of Holidays on Location and he had been warned of our stay in the hotel. As Patric had worked in the Lucerne Tourist office, we asked him for information such as the best time and way to go to Pilatus Kulm.
After Patric escaped us and we finished breakfast, we went to the station to check the timetable. The train we needed was about to leave so we boarded. We had thought about taking the boat trip but we had earlier discovered they were not operating. We took the train to Alpnachstad and the cogwheel train from Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm.
We had dressed warmly to go to the station but were we really prepared for the assault on Pilatus Kulm. Remember we had just gone to the station to check the timetable.
The passing station on the Cogwheel railway to Pilatus Kulm
The Cogwheel train ride was very scenic and an experience in itself. Along the way we saw people on top of the small peaks as they made their way by foot down to Alpnachstad.
It was exploring time at Pilatus Kulm’s observation decks and the caves, where stories told of the dragon. The lookout at the highest point was a challenge, not to climb but to get a clear photo of the scenery without a Tourist posing in the way.
Strangely, as much as I looked, I did not see any big rubber balls, mats or elastic bands. I thought from the name we had been going to the source of Pilates! Obviously, I now realised I had got that wrong. Rubber wouldn’t last long in these conditions.
Pilatus Klum. Where the Cogwheel railway and gondolas meet.
We had a small meal then took the gondolas to Kriens with some stops along the way to ‘checkout the views’. At one stop the attendee asked us why we were getting off. ‘To see the view” was our answer. I should have should have guess there wasn’t any from the look of his face. When we return he just smiled knowingly. Further along we heard cows bells as we passed over green fields in which they grazed. At the gondola journey’s end, we followed the signs into town where we caught the bus into Lucerne.
In Lucerne we did yet more exploring of the old buildings and bridges. We crossed the old covered bridge and discovered the Hotel Wilden Mann in a street just back from the canal. The hotel is a composite of old buildings, there were two restaurants, one being hundreds of years old but the coffee machine was much younger and did a great job.
One of the sets of gondolas from Pilatus Kulm to Kriens.
We continued our wandering and at the next old bridge, we discovered there were major construction work being done to the old dam system due to flooding over recent years. Craig decided we needed a better city view, so we did a Von Trapp (though they were Austrian) impersonation and climbed what seemed like the mountains to the old city wall. The accesses to the top of the walls were closed due to either the season or the hour of out visit. Great views though from the base of the wall overlooking Lucerne and on the opposite side up the river.
As with mountain climbing, the downhill (down-mountain) walk to the old city was considerably easier and we were soon back to our hotel.
Scenic views on the Pilatus Kulm Trip
We met with Patric in the foyer and he offered to eat with us at a traditional Swiss Restaurant. It’s obvious when your companion is local; the food styles were different and wonderful to the palate but still the fondue had escaped me. Patric proved to be the best Swiss ambassadorand our conversation covered many subjects. Patric’s main point was to base oneself at one hotel in one city and use the Swiss Rail System to do day trips to the other areas. This provides the advantage of reduced unpacking and packing, a valid point for consideration when planning a holiday.
During dinner we had a beautiful, blonde Swiss Girl in traditional attire as our waitress. Was this Heidi? No, she was only in early twenties. But she might be her granddaughter. I asked about her family and there had been no woman called Heidi BUT with this young lady, I had at least found the spirit of Heidi.
Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) and water tower.
After dinner we walked back to the Hotel Waldstätterhof and a good night’s sleep though the Alp Horns had returned. No worries as I sleep contented with good Swiss food and a small achievement.
Next time. Day 8. We return to the rails for the trip back to Zurich. Will we just do the direct route?