The morning began with a wonderful ride down to Luzern/Lucerne and a visit to the famed Lion Monument (which is rather impressive!), and the covered bridge (unfortunately a fire in the late 1990s resulted in the destruction of some of the artwork within). A short walk down to the water and we borded our luxurious boat for a leisurely drive down the lake toward the mountain we would be ascending. Not only was the weather perfect, and the boat an absolute luxury, but the scenery was amazing!
The Stazelhorne mountain was ascended by an old cogwheel train car for the first leg (actually there used to be cogwheel rail cars going up to the peak but a lightning strike burnt the hotel that used to be at the top of the mountain down and ruined that segment of the rail). When I say old, I mean well over 100 years here (1890s?). The next leg was by gondola to the top. The ascent was wonderful as we saw the Swiss cows and heard their bells in the mountain and also saw quite a few hikers climbing the mountain via narrow goat-path-like switchbacks.
At the top of the mountain was a great restaurant (I ate a FABULOUS dessert AND amazing pasta dish that was unbelieveable. I so wish we had such things at home!), where we ate outdoors. The panoramic view was startlingly amazing. A short hike to the peak of the mountain meant some running around in Heidiland (there really is a Heidi house!) and some Marmot viewing (they're cute!). I wandered around some more of those goat-path like things and saw some paragliders (I want to do that someday!), some butterflies, and some more goatpaths. If only we had more time to explore and hike about (yes I can hike about in flip flops and a skirt, thank you very much).
Anywho… we returned to the city for some shopping and other free time… whereupon we walked to a second covered bridge (less famous but with paintings that featured skeletons!). The swans in the lake are so prolific! This was followed by some actual shopping (yes indeed, the first time on the trip that we actually successfully bought souvenirs). I essentually did all my shopping at Bucherer (so I could get the tax discount among other things). I bought a woman's pocket watch to go in my purse (given the nerve injury I don't like wearing watches anymore) plus chocolate a small cow bell, a stuffed animal Marmot who plays the accordion, and my mom got some kitchen tools, chocolate, Swiss army knives (engraved with my brothers' names), and such.
More wandering resulted in some warm juice (ice isn't as big of a deal in Europe as it is here), and some gelato (I ate more gelato on this trip than at any other time in my life)!
A bus trip back to the hotel was lengthened impossibly because a rock fell off a mountain into the road. We ate dinner and then returned to town for a Swiss culture show. Complete with those really long horns, accordion, strange instruments, spoons, cowbells, and other craziness, the show was highly entertaining (and of course involved audience participation). The cheese fondue wasn't the best that I've had but it was worth trying. We also had complimentary beverages. Remarkable how in Europe things don't get measured in ml but in cl instead. Such innovations! 🙂