How often can one say “I’ve reached the summit?”
We had originally planned on travelling on the Bernina Express while visiting Switzerland. Our travel arrangement to our next destination turned out to be extremely difficult, therefore we had to make some changes. I am a big fan of alpine coasters, so I scoured the internet for such an attraction. It turns out, the best is on Mount Pilatus, not far from Lucerne.
The excursion takes about a half a day. They’ve given this tour the name of “The Golden Circle Tour”. Firstly, when you pay for this 1/2 day trip, it may seem expensive. You have to remember, this is Switzerland, and everything is expensive. However, when you realize what this excursion consists of, you might not find it so pricey.
Its starts our with a boat trip on Lake Lucerne. It was a nice boat, clean and large. There were about 100 people boarding at this time. Most people headed for the interior of the boat, as the weather was quite misty. The dining/bar area was not overly fancy, but was oddly decorated with dead animals. Not my choice of deco, but it was rather effective. We, however, spent most of our time on the bow. This was a day to have a raincoat handy. The boat trip was about 1 hour and quite scenic. The mountains all around seemed pristinely manicured and the waters were calm.
We finally arrive back on shore at our first destination, Alpnachstad. We get out tickets for the world’s steepest cog railway and venture up 2132 metres high. Its a slow ride, but very scenic. Here you can see cows, trees, and occasionally, wave at the hikers who chose to do the trek on foot.
We get off the cog rail, and we are immersed in fog. Well, not really fog, it’s a cloud. The air is crisp. Not too cold at first, however, when the cloud blocks the sun, the temperature did drops. Here, there are several direction you can go. There are two hikes to choose from. Both taking you up, to a point. The climbs are a little steep at times, and I had to take a short break. When we reached the first lookout, we were amazed at the views once the cloud passed. We could see other summits in the distance, which seem surreal to me. The second climb took us to the summit of Pilatus. This is where I can now say honestly, I’ve reached the highest point. May no be in the world, but it is in Lucerne.
After spending about 2 to 3 hours at the top, its time to head back. The weather still was very hazy, cold and wet. We make our way to the first arial cableway called the “Dragon Ride”. This takes us to the level where the alpine coasters are. We stop for lunch. Due to the weather, the alpine coasters are not running. A minor disappointment, however understandable. After lunch, another cable car ride to Kriens. We were the only ones in this car as it seats 4 people. This part was quite nice as we seem to glide through trees, watching the other cable cars pass in the other directions. The weather started to clear up and we finally get to see the ground below, and the view ahead of us. This last cable car takes to the ground where we walk 5 minutes to catch a bus. This bus takes us back to our original destination.
We made back by 4PM which gave us time to visit other parts of Lucerne. Everything about this excursion was very easy to follow. And looking back at the journey, the price, as mentioned, is not so bad.
I would like to do this tour again, and hopefully when I do, I will have better weather.