Heavenly Switzerland Part I
Day XV: World’s Best Capital City, Lucerne
We boarded a train to Lucerne via Zurich. Even before knowing the meaning of travelling, I wanted to go to Switzerland. That too, specifically in Euro Rail. Just because of the movie DDLJ! Switzerland was completely different from all the countries we had been to in Europe. It was a paradise for nature lovers because of its untouched snowcapped mountains and high-altitude lakes! Architecturally, I had been to better cities than Lucern or Zurich. Thought the Villages of Interlaken and Jungfraujoch had their charm! Anyways, even after spending more than a few hours on the Swiss rails, I couldn’t able to believe I was travelling in Switzerland via Swiss rail!
After changing two trains and 6 hours of the train journey, at around 2:00 PM we reached Lucern. During the Journey, we have seen countless gigantic Lakes including Zurich Lake through the large windows of Panoramic Express! I was surprised when I found out cruises operated in the Lakes of Switzerland. But After seeing these lakes, It didn't surprise me anymore! You know, even the Titanic could run and sink in these lakes :P. We hardly ate anything since morning's apples & sandwiches. This was why we were starving and the moment we stepped onto the Lucern train station, we headed straight to the Burger King. Thankfully, we got Chicken Burgers :D!
Our Airbnb was only 10 mins walk from the station. Upon arrival, we came to know it was another self-check-in Airbnb which required our passports to be submitted in advance. As I missed their notifications, we had to complete the online check-in procedure from the footpath :P. Even After completion, we had to wait 15 more minutes to receive the apartment entrance code. Because one of the customer representatives of the Airbnb chain informed us that the code flew from Poland to Switzerland that was the reason for the delay! बंदे ने Computer Science की Definitation की माँ बहन एक कर दी! I was like "Dude, Are you Kidding me!!! :("
Finally, the code landed, and with that, we entered the hotel. It was our 15th travel day. From my early blogs, you might realise, we belonged to those crazy traveller community who loved to take on different adventures and activities. The downside with that kind of travelling was, it would consume a hell lot of physical as well as mental energy. At times you would feel exhausted or even fall sick! Well, Aayushi felt a bit feverish. Hence we decided to take a rest and leave after an hour if she would feel good!
The best thing about European summer was, the days were longer than the nights. Even at 8:00 PM, you could see the Sun. That's why, despite starting at 5:00 PM, we were able to explore the entire Lucerne before sunset.
We began our excursion from the mesmerising Charles Bridge! I wasn't sure if it was built by the King Charles IV of Prague. Please correct me If I was wrong. Though it wasn't as fancy as the Charles Bridge of Prague. Also, It was made of Wood, and half of it was burnt a few hundred years ago. Hence half of the bridge looked black!
We crossed the famous Charles Bridge and reached the tiny yet beautiful old town of Lucern. We found multiple restaurants with a great view there. We observed a lot of people soaking in the sun with beers or wines. Though It didn't surprise us because by now we too, had understood the significance of it :P. After soaking up the old town vibes we headed to the famous Lion Monument, "A beautifully carved Lion's statue in the Mountain!" It was one of the 2 things I was looking forward to in Lucerne. Unfortunately, It was closed when we visited it due to ongoing maintenance work. अब इतना डर आया है तो थोड़ी देर बैठना तो बनता है! Meanwhile, we observed a few crazy Chinese travellers clicking selfies with the plastic :P. Could you believe that? :P
During a trip, I would always go for a hike, If a place could offer mind-blowing views! Lucerne Wall was one of those places. Also, It was the other destination for which I was super excited. Luckily, This was open. In 20 minutes, we reach the entrance. There were multiple watch towers and all of them were open. I didn't know why but we entered from the furthest watch tower and exited to the nearest one :P.
The moment I came out of the watch tower gate, I got stunned by the view! Wow! I always wondered why everyone talked about Lucerne. But I realised why! The city was located in the foothills of the Alps and surrounded by stunning snowcapped Alps. On top of that, It had a gigantic lake Lucerne that was formed from the glacier water. One of the most important items on my bucket list was checked...
We started spotting the different places and routes we took to reach here. such as Charles Bridge, Lake Lucerne, Train stations, Churches, Old Town and so on. As we entered from the last watch tower, we walked to the first one and then exited from it. The watch tower from where we exited was the tallest of all. I found steps leading to the top of the watch tower. I climbed them to see the view! The wooden steps were scary might be because it was built at least a few centuries ago, some of them were even broken. Still, At the end of the day, it gave me a moment to remember :D!
We still had at least an hour with us, so we decided to enjoy sunset from the Lake Lucerne. The Lake offered one of the best panoramic views of the Alps. After the sunset, we were hungry and went to one of the good restaurants we spotted in the old town. We ordered Pizza & Lasagna. which was delicious and worth every penny of 50€ :P While returning to our hotel, we again crossed the Charles Bridge. Under the lights, It was looking even more beautiful than the daytime!
Day XVI: A Day trip to Mount Titlis
We wanted to visit Mt. Titlis & Jungfraujoch region on our Swiss excursion. Lucerne was well connected to both of them via beautiful Panoramic trains which was the reason why we stayed in Lucerne and not in Zurich. Also, these trains weren't covered by the Eurail network which was why we bought a three-day Swiss travel pass to travel within Switzerland. With this pass, all modes of commute be it a train, bus, tram or cruise were free!
Time to conquer one of the famous mountains of the Alps, Mount Titlis. We reached Lucerne train station and boarded the first available train to Engelberg. Trains on these routes generally operated from either Platform 12 or 14. It was one of the most scenic routes of the trip and because of the panoramic express, we could able to enjoy it fully. The train had large glasses on its sides and roof. few of the side windows could even be opened. Throughout the train journey, we witnessed some of the most beautiful glacier lakes and Swiss villages. Houses of these Swiss villages were made up of wood and were one of a kind. The entire journey felt unreal, like a set of a movie!
Unfortunately, the weather forecast for the day was showing heavy snowfall throughout the day. The moment we got off the train, drizzling and hailstorms started which was later converted into snowfall. Our first snowfall btw! From the train station, we boarded a bus and reached Mt. Titlis Cable Car Station. we entered the luxuriously looking cable car station and purchased tickets to the Top of Mt. Titlis. It cost 96 €/pax which included two cable car rides and a Rotairs ride. Because we were Swiss travel pass holders, we got a flat 50% discount. There was also an option to buy a 12 € chairlift ticket which would take you beyond Mt.Titlis. Due to heavy snowfall, it wasn’t operational on that day.
We boarded the first cable car. Initially, It was just drizzling hence the view was clear. But later it got converted into a hailstorm followed by a snowfall. with that, the visibility was reduced too. we got down from the first cable car and got into the next one. We found so many cable cars in different parts of the mountains. They were carrying many skiers to the starting points of the different skiing tracks from where they would descend. I had watched it over the television but watching it live was thrilling. I slipped multiple times while walking in the snow and trust me, it was scary. Then imagine, sliding in the snow from a significant height with a reasonable speed! Wouldn’t it be thrilling? I wished I knew how to ski :(
we got down at the second station and went to the Rotairs ride. The second station was much bigger than the first one. On a clear sunny day, this would have been one of the most beautiful experiences but under current circumstances, it was just another lift that would take us to our destination :P. We were disappointed in the beginning but "Views काफ़ी देखे life मैं, लेकिन snowfall पहली बार देख रहे थे!" I told this to Aayushi and instantly we became happy. On any day, I would trade any view for the experience of a lifetime!
Mt. Titlis stations offered many activities including walking in the Glacier cave which to me felt unbelievable! In India, one had to track for weeks to put a step on the glaciers and we were walking on it without needing to track, wasn't it incredible? Inside the cave, they had carved statues of different wildlife animals, as well as a throne where one could sit and feel as if He was a king of Mt. Titlis! Certainly, I felt that way :P
After coming out of the cave, we went to the top of the terrace where they kept a cut out of Raj & Simran from the movie DDLJ. This was the movie that made the entire India fall in love with the Swiss. I had walked and played in snow many times as well as experienced hailstorms a few times but snowfall or you could say snowstorm like this, I was experiencing the first time. Hence, we came out of the building and started running and dancing in the snowfall. It felt refreshing!
After hesitating for a while, we decided to do a crazy thing. we went to the cliff bridge which was around 300 Meters of walk from the terrace. All of you might be thinking, What's so crazy about it right? Well, imagine walking in a snowstorm where the temperature was -10° and visibility was less than a meter. It was one of the crazy things we did in Swiss! With great difficulty, we reached the bridge and started walking towards it. The bridge started shaking. it was shaking a lot especially, when we reached the middle of it. I felt an adrenaline rush at that moment. walking on the bridge was tough but the return journey to the terrace was the scariest part of the day. Snow was hitting our faces because of this we couldn't look front. on top of that the temperature was -10° but because of strong wind, it felt as if it was -20° :P. Even after wearing multiple layers of clothes, we were shivering. With great difficulty, we completed our adventure and didn't get up in front of the heater for 15 minutes :P A lot of our energy was gone in those crazy activities which was why we were starving! So we went to the restaurant and had pizza, fish & potato chips with a fruit beer. the beer was the worst I had on the trip but the food was delicious.
The return journey to Engelberg itself would talk more than an hour and then 90 minutes of panoramic train to follow hence we decided to head back home after lunch. The view on the return journey was pleasant too, but we were running out of fuel so we took a nap!
When we reached Lucerne, it was raining heavily and personally, I hate rain. So we skipped the cruise ride in Lake Lucerne and headed straight to our Hotel. On the way, we picked Pizza for the Dinner!
For Heavenly Siwtzerland Part II which is also known as DDLJ Flavour of our Euro trip is here 👉 Heavenly Siwtzerland Part II