Saturday, July 8, 2017

Switzerland: Luzern to Mt. Rigi

With temperatures rising on the Palouse to near 100F, cycling in the early afternoon sun can cause the mind to drift.  Even though my daily 24 mile route began late morning, temperatures reached nearly 99F before I returned home to cool down.  As seen from the graphic below, Thursday was a hot one.  Friday was not much different.
Stats distance vs temperature
While the mind drifts while cycling out in the heat, thoughts often turn towards more refreshing times.  Thursday's ride was one of those brain cooking, mind wandering 90 minutes.  
As the temperature built, I thought of our recent trip to Switzerland in early May.  Only two months ago, Nancy and I stood on the top of Mt. Rigi across Lake Luzern from the city, itself.  At the summit, the weather was clear and cold with several feet of snow on the ground.
Having a Swiss Travel Pass, planning for the excursion from Luzern to Mt. Rigi was a snap.  We boarded a ship at the Luzern dock at 10:00am and set off across the lake for a 45 minutes cruise.
Weather was pleasant on the lake with temperatures in the mid-60s F.  The ship crossed the lake making several stops before arriving at our disembarkation point in Vinzlau.  Vinzlau is a small, picturesque town that provides the embarkation point for the cog train up to the top of Mt. Rigi Kulm.  The journey up the very steep track takes about 20 minutes and the views are unbelievable gorgeous.

Once at the summit, Nancy and I detrained.  Putting on gloves, hats, and scarves, we buttoned up our coats and made the short trek up to the summit to take in the sweeping panorama.
What views they were!  Besides terrific views of the Alps and Lake Luzern, we could also see Lakes Zug and Lauerz.  Stunning.

Following about 30 minutes wandering around the summit, I suggested we take the foot path from the summit to the Rigi-Staffel train station below.  The nearby signpost stated walking time to be about 20 minutes.
After arriving at the Rigi-Staffel train station, we got the next train heading down to Vinzlau.  Back in Vinzlau, the next boat would not arrive for 40 minutes so we grabbed a light snack and drinks and wandered the shores of Vinzlau.

Seeing our boat round a point far in the distance, we turned back to the dock to meet the incoming boat.  After boarding and casting off, we enjoyed another 45 minute cruise back to Luzern in wonderful weather.

Total excursion time was about five hours.  With a Swiss Travel Pass, the cost for this enjoyable outing was $0.   

I feel cooler already.    


  1. Spent many extended gunnery and maneuver deployments to the Yakima Firing Center, so have a sense of the climate in Eastern WA. Didn't have Switzerland to conjure, but when the horizon was clear, I remember dweling on the snowbound cone of Mt. Hood in the distance.

    1. Ed! I Yakima is a bit hotter in the summer than Spokane but the climate is similar. It can get darn hot in the summer!

      Focusing on Mt Hood is a good distraction too! Lovely volcano.

  2. WoooW! Excellent travel with perfect scenery :)

  3. Beautiful images, Jonathan! The best I plan to do today is take a walk with the wife and pooch at Pt Defiance - with a fish & chips snack :)

    1. Dean, a walk with a stop for good fish and chips sounds very good to me!

  4. Great images Jonathan and this post brought back many memories for me - I was there thirty years ago, but didn't see as much as you as the day I went up the mountain there was a lot of low cloud. But you are right the countryside is stunning.

    My visit to Lucerne got me interested in the history of the area and brought to my attention the Swiss Civil War (known as the Sonderbund War or the War Amongst the Cantons. - see in 1847. At this point my fertile wargamer's imagination kicked in and the thought of setting a wargame in those picturesque valleys with chocolate box houses was very appealing. I even began to research the armies. But when I realised that the whole conflict lasted less than a month and only resulted in a few minor skirmishes, sanity returned and the idea faded.

    1. Glad you like the images from Mt Rigi, Mark. The day we visited was full sunshine and we could see for miles.

      I have the same affliction regarding travel sparking a new period. A temptation that is difficult for me to fight. At least one of us has a modicum of will power.

      We thoroughly enjoyed our recent visit to Switzerland and Nancy is already wanting to return.

    2. Next year I am actually doing things the other way around. We have scheduled a trip through Alsace and Lorraine where I will visit four the of the battlefields of the Franco-Prussian War, so instead of gaining gaming inspiration from a visit, a gaming interest is inspiring the visit!

    3. Sounds like a fabulous battlefield tour, Mark! FPW battle sites are on my To Do List too. The same motivation moved me to tour the Northern Italian battlefields of the 1859 campaign as well as the Eastern ACW battlefields. That is, existing gaming projects and an interest in the period drove me to visit the battlefields.


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