Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus, Switzerland

October 9, 2015

Next on the agenda was Lucerne. We stayed in the old town south of the river at the Hotel Wilden Mann. A small boutique hotel, the location was great except for one problem .... street noise most of the night .... from people leaving bars, to people arguing in the street, to the sound of rolling suitcases bouncing over the cobblestones. (We spoke with our tour guide but the small ... 44 room ... hotel was full on this Saturday night and we had no other option.)

That said, the evening we arrived we were on our own. Jerry and I headed out (without cameras!!!!) towards the wooden covered bridge to cross the river, only to find out it was under construction and closed 1/2 way across. No problem. We picked another bridge and wandered around the old city section north of the river. Looking for a place for dinner we stumbled on Mamma Leone Ristorante. Because it was a bit cool out, we ate inside. We started with Nona's combination antipasti, a three tiered selection of meats, cheeses and olives. With glasses of white wine and a shared pizza, we had a great meal for a reasonable price, considering we were in Switzerland, probably the most expensive country in Europe. And by the time we were done, the restaurant was full and we were the only English speaking couple. Nice to know we managed to pick a non-touristy restaurant.

A walking tour of Lucerne was scheduled for the next day but the group was presented with an optional tour for the morning. We could go up to Mt. Pilatus using the world's steepest cog railway in the world (at one place 48 degrees), with the trip down via gondola and cable car. Thinking hard about the way down, we decided to give it a try.

Day dawned dark and cloudy but a phone call to the hotel at the top told our guide it was clear up there. So off we headed for a great experience, up the side of the mountain with heavy clouds over the landscape.

then through the clouds and out into brilliant sunshine.

And the reverse on the way down ... both of us a bit nervous about the cable rides but we did it and enjoyed it.

Afterwards, we joined up with the rest of the group for a bus ride to see the Lion Monument, carved in memory of the Swiss Guard of Louis XVI. Back in the city, Jerry and I excused ourselves from the remainder of the walking tour (we had wandered the area the previous night) and headed back to the hotel to rest, in preparation for a special evening.

That night, our tour included a Swiss folklore show and dinner at Stadtkeller. It was an evening of eating (cheese fondue!) and drinking and a stage show of yodeling, singing and dancing.

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