Thursday, 6 August 2015 – Day 12 – Lucerne Area – Interlaken – Lausanne – (Day 58)

Thursday, 6 August 2015 – Day 12 – Lucerne Area – Interlaken – Lausanne (156 miles/250 Kms)  – Day 58

This morning wasn’t quite so early. Wakeup was at 700 and after breakfast we were on the coach at 8.30 heading into this beautiful city centre of Lucerne.

Our drop off and pickup point was at the Rolex building. Certainly a city of watches.  Was a leisurely stroll around – into the souvenir shops and then coffee with Wayne, Lou, Steve and Gay before we boarded the boat for our River Cruise at 11.00.  What a way to spend a couple of hours.  Scenery just gorgeous as usual. There were lots of little bays, it offers superb panoramas of the surrounding lanscape.  A commentary was given by one of the crew staff who explained the history of all the enchanting villages and some Swiss History.

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After the cruise, had light lunch before boarding the coach and we were now heading towards Inverlaken.  We followed Lake Luzern – the water was so crystal clear and turquoise in colour.  Of course there were villages dotted all along the way.  Passed through a couple of tunnels.  Each day there was a helicopter flying around and we then realised it was the Swiss helicopter doing tours. What magnificent sights the passengers would have seen. The scenery was spectacular as we drove along.

We stopped for a photo at Ofwalden/Lungern. Around this area we were told that there was the highest railway station in Europe.

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When we arrived in Inverlaken (between two lakes) it was very hot and had a short walk into the town.  Some of our time was watching several para gliders taking off from the nearby mountains and landing on the open area. There is extraordinary mountain scenery including the famous peaks of the Eiger, the Moench and the Jungfrau.  Alyssa and I had a refreshing drink before it was time to join the coach.

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We headed off to Lausanne following the shoreline of Lake Thun.

Dest_Lausanne_MapWe arrived in the extremely picturesque town of Lausanne, the second-largest city on Lake Geneva, –  a dynamic commercial town with the locality of a holiday resort as there is the lake for cruising and water sports and the mountains for skiing. The capital of the canton of Vaud is also a lively university and convention town. Sports and culture are given a high profile in the Olympic capital. The International Olympic Committee has been based here since 1914. The town is built on three hills, surrounded by vineyard-covered slopes, with Lake Geneva at its feet. Rising impressively from the opposing French lakeshore are the Savoy Alps. The old town is dominated by the cathedral, which is regarded as Switzerland’s most impressive piece of early Gothic architecture.

Lake Geneva is a lake on the   north side of the Alps, shared between Switzerland and France. We did not stay too long in the city. We went down to the International Olympic Committee Museum building and fountain but did not go in.

 Lausanne

 Kevin and I had some entertaining fun in the water !  Yes, a magnet to the water.

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 olympic rings
Our accommodation in Lausanne was at the Novotel at Bussigny located just 2 minutes off highway A1. A lovely hotel with lots of facilities but we took advantage of sitting around the natural swimming pool.  Was a bit slimy but several of us went in.

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After the refreshing swim we had our dinner in the pleasant area outside. On the menu was horse steak so some of us tried it and was quite tasty – just like a piece of steak. 0530_ho_01_p_1024x768
 Another late night after more talking and drinking.

What more can I say about today – just another beautiful day.

 

 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015 – Day 11 – Lake Como – Lugano, Switzerland – Ticino – Lucerne Area – (Day 57)

Wednesday, 5 August 2015 – Lake Como – Lugano, Switzerland – Ticino – Lucerne Area (137 miles/220 Kms) – Day 57

Another early morning start – 7.00 wakeup and after breakfast we left at 8.00. We followed the  beautiful Lake Como and we had stunning views of the mountains/alps. Lugan We reached the Swiss border (Dogana Gandria) about 8.40 and is known as Confederation Helvetia (CH).  Berne is the Swiss capital. The currency is the Swiss Franc and has the highest wealth per capita. The country is made up of 75% mountains.

We reached beautiful Lugano. The city lies on Lake Lugano, surrounded by the mountains of the Lugano Prealps. This is where the company Globus/Cosmos that operates our tour is  and it all began back to 1928 in Lugano, Switzerland. The founder, Antonio Mantegazza, more than 85 years ago purchased a row boat to transport visitors across Lake Lugano, Switzerland. Today, the Globus family of brands is a global company reaching every corner of the world, yet remains family-owned and steeped in the values Antonio had when he set out across Lake Lugano to enlighten travellers by showing them the very best of the destinations we know so well.

Lugano is a city in southern Switzerland, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, which borders Italy. It is the 9th largest city of Switzerland by population, the largest city in Ticino, and the largest city with an Italian speaking majority outside of Italy. A vast majority of the residents live in Ticino as it is cheaper to rent and work in Switzerland. It is compulsory for the Swiss to attend military school for six months.

Our journey was quite slow for awhile as we were approaching the Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland and is 16.9 kilometres (10.5 mi) in length below the Gottard Pass. It is the third-longest road tunnel in the world.

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 The scenery was breathtaking as we came out of the tunnel – houses changed from stone to chalet style, saw a chairlift going up the mountains and the Alps were beautiful with snow on them.

This was the day I had been waiting for – visit the STANSERHORN!

It is a perfect day – 32 .  We arrived at the Cabrio Cable Car Station in the village of Stans, where we boarded the oldest functioning funicular. Dating from 1891, the wood and wrought-iron funicular has a charm of its own – its vehicles adorned with frosted glass and curtains.

 

The funicular first opened in 1893 with a maximum rise in altitude of 63%, capacity for 40 people and it took us the 45 minutes duration ride to the middle station at Kälti. We then boarded the cable car, called Cabrio, a double-decker cable car, reportedly the first one in the world. The cable car, christened The Cabrio, soars up to the top of Stanserhorn Mountain at a height of 1,850 meters carrying 60 passengers at a time, with room for 30 on the open-air top deck. Most of the group came up on the top deck. The Cabrio is the only one with an open-air deck that offers magnificent and unobstructed view of the valley below.
The cable car base station sits at 711 meters above sea level. The length of the cable car is 2.3 kilometers.The lower deck is made entirely of glass wall and gives passengers an equal sense of vertigo, minus the whipping wind.Our journey on the cable car travelled at an impressive speed of eight meters a second. Six-and-a-half minutes later we were getting off tthe Cabrio. What a fantastic ride!! Would have to be the best views in Switzerland. You see down to the green valley floor with its farm roads, farm buildings and cows, lakes and snow capped mountains, Lake Lucern, across to Mount Rigi, the St Gotthard Pass, and Mount Titlis.
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We took a walk up the path to get an even higher view. A wide view unfolds. You can see the Mt Pilatus and Lake Lucerne in the north, and the Bernese Alps in the south.  I went as far as I felt comfortable with and watched as Wayne, Lou, Steve and Gay go to a higher point. I enjoyed the scenery around until they joined me.
In 2001 the first revolving restaurant in central Switzerland opened on Mt Stanserhorn – the “Rondorama”.  Since Mt Stanserhorn is known as the five-star mountain, it was built in a star-shaped ground plan. It seats up to 200 people.  Out of those, 80 people enjoy the view from the revolving platform. The panorama of the Alps revolves in 45 minutes and you get 36 degree panorama. We had a lovely meal and drink and soaked in the scenery.

It was time to come down off the mountain in the cable car, get the funicular and join the coach to descend to the shores of Lake Luzern. It was a wonderful way to spend a perfect afternoon.

We made a stop at the Lion Park. This is a statue erected in 1820 in honour of the massacred Swiss guardsmen who fell in Paris in 1792 during the French Revolution. You almost cried as the lion was so sad, but it was a sad event. There was a chance for me to put my feet in the water of the pool.

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We then booked into the Drei Konige hotel in Luzern about 4.3o.

Luzern is a city in central Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of the country. Lucerne is the capital of the Canton of Luzern and the capital of the district of the same name. One of the city’s famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge(Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century and is the oldest wooden bridge in the world.  The Kapellbrücke is a covered wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss River in the city of Luzern in central Switzerland. The 1993 fire damage is still evident in the reconstructed Kapellbrück.

I wandered up to the nearby street to get adaptors but no success.  After freshening up Steve, Lou, Wayne and Gay and I had a drink and then we walked to a nearby Stadtkeller Restaurant for our dinner.  Was downstairs and the interior was very beautiful.  Once again it was a good night’s entertainment although not as intimate as our very first nights dinner. There was a band and they played quite a few instruments.  Also there was interaction with the crowd and James, Anne, Kevin and Alyssa were asked to blow the very long horns and partake in some beer drinking.  Lots of yodelling by the entertainers.  We left about 9.00 after another good nights entertainment and the meal was quite nice.

We walked on the landmark 14th century bridge over the Reuss River and took in the sights of the Towers of the Musegg Wall. We had our usual goodnight drinks and then had to pack in readiness for another days travelling.

Cannot express today’s feelings – certainly far outweighed my expectations.