Destination Two on our adventure through Switzerland.
We took an hour train ride from Zürich to the Swiss city of Lucerne. We knew we’d be going up some mountains when we got there but as always, our last minute decisions made for the best kind of day.
We realized, thanks to the information desk girl at the hauptbahnhof, that since we had a Swiss Travel Pass we could go up Mount Rigi for free, including the boat ride it takes to get there from Lucerne. Chris had originally planned for us to take a cable car up Mt. Pilatus because it was easier to think about – but classic us choosing to take the more complicated route, we were going to be taking a boat, cogwheel, train & sled all in one day.
We dropped our luggage off at our hotel & immediately headed towards Pier 2 to catch the boat to Vitznau. Rigi is located entirely around Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug & Lake Lauerz, hence the need to hop on a boat to get to the foot of it. From Vitznau, we cogwheeled our way up the mountain! What we saw up here was totally unexpected – growing up in a place where friends and family had to drive a good amount of way to even go skiing or snowboarding, I never was exposed to this kind of winter sport life. Along our way up Mt. Rigi there were a bunch of stops where we kept picking up skiers and sledders!
When we finally got to the top of the mountain at Rigi Kulm point, it was seriously so cool. Filled with snow and bright sunshine, almost 1,800 meters in the air (5,897 feet to my Americans), ABOVE THE CLOUDS, was a whole community of people skiing and sledding
down the slopes and hanging out in the sky. I just couldn’t wrap my head around how cool it was that these people were skiing in such a crazy part of the world and it was just second nature to them. No big deal. Even though we weren’t skiing ourselves, (nor can we try, since Chris is still in-season!) it made it feel like a more cultured experience getting to see skiers on the frickin’ Swiss Alps doin’ their thing!
While I hesitated at first, Chris talked me into sledding down the mountain from Rigi Kulm top point to Rigi Klösterli – about 3.1 kilometers and a 432 meter descent. They said it would take twenty minutes but I think Chris and I took a little longer because we had to keep stopping because we were so bad at sledding and controlling ourselves to not fall off the edge. 😂 Needless to say, this was the absolute highlight of the day. First of all, when else can you say you SLED down the Swiss Alps?! The view going down while terrifying, was absolutely beautiful. And two, we made more hilarious memories together because we were being passed by little kids. In our defense, Swiss children are born for this! I think they start wearing ski boots at birth and sled to school. 😉
By the time we got to the end of our sledding trail it was time to head back down the mountain to make sure we made the last boat back to Lucerne. We took the other way down the mountain going to a different town of Weggis (me and Chris kept calling it Vegas) via cable car and the ride back down below the clouds was actually the trippiest feeling. All day long, we spent it in complete direct sunshine (my face is sunburnt)(oh and classic me left my two pairs of sunglasses in the hotel so Chris bought me cheap ones at the tourist shop at the top of the mountain because otherwise the sunlight was BLINDING), clouds below us and even though we were surrounded by snow, we were warm. As soon as the cable car passed through the clouds again, the whole lake and town of Lucerne was completely overcast and grey and gloomy and the complete OPPOSITE of what we were just in. We decided that we are going to live permanently above the clouds to have days like that every day.
We were exhausted and hungry on our boat ride back to Lucerne. We ended up going to get a traditional Swiss fondue meal – starting with the cheese fondue with bread & potatoes, then to the meat portion where you cook it in bourguignonne and then dessert with some creamy Swiss chocolate & fruit. It took us three hours to finish our meal and our waitress really stressed eating slowly. Finally, my slow eating habits fit in somewhere!