Mt Rigi trip

Yesterday we went to the mountain. We were very fortunate that the day was clear and sunny, which made for the best possible viewing. If we had got up there in the morning it would have been even better as a slight haze developed later.

We went to the tourist information office and bought tickets for a boat trip to the staring point for the rail trip to the summit, the rail trip itself, and tickets to cover bus and train trip home.

The cruise on the lake was very beautiful in the sunshine.

We travelled from Luzern to Vitznau, as shown on the map.

We then caught a train like this.

Just kidding, this is a tourist train that goes around the city. We went on a rack railway up the mountain.

At the top, after leaving the train, there are walk, including going up to the very top of Mt Rigi where there is a communications tower.

An odd thing to find on a Swiss mountain.

Even up this high, there were meadows where cattle were grazing/

We walked for about 20 minutes down the mountain to catch our train at the next station. Families were walking down with babies in prams. It was fairly steep and I don’t think I would have like to have done that/

Here two women were holding the pram together.

There was no difficulty with catching the bus, then train to the city. We had bratwurst at the station and salad at home. We were tired and a little shaky, both affected by the relatively quick changes in elevation, we think. Plus sunburnt.

Stephen experiences an odd vision change sometimes and he had it last night. He reminded me where to find the emergency medical phone number which is posted up in our corridor. Quite a worry! Anyway, he’s OK.

A cure for museum legs

In the photo, a cup of black coffee with cream at the museum kiosk.

We began our day with a dilemma, whether to move to another location near Lucerne or stay where we are. When I tried to book for nights here on AirBnB there weren’t any vacancies, so we booked somewhere else. I had a couple of long winded communications from our new host that were a bit off putting in terms of rules and conditions and unclear instructions on how to get to the house.

We spoke with our host here who said he always has a couple of rooms free for people who want to stay on. He went away and we thought about it. Was the ease of staying in our present location where we know our way around worth losing one night’s fee, the cost of a late cancellation.

Our host then disappeared for a couple of hours and only got back to us around checkout time of 11.00 a.m. We packed up in case we had to leave, which worked out well because we had to change rooms. In the end, we weren’t ready to leave for work (museums) until midday.

We had lunch at a small bakery in a shopping centre near the Lion Monument. They don’t just have bread, but rolls and salads.

The following quote from Wikipedia explains the significance.

‘The Lion Monument (German: Löwendenkmal), or the Lion of Lucerne, is a rock relief in Lucerne, Switzerland, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen and hewn in 1820–21 by Lukas Ahorn. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris. It is one of the most famous monuments in Switzerland, visited annually by about 1.4 million tourists.[1] In 2006 it was placed under Swiss monument protection.[2]

Mark Twain praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”[3]

The above is my photo, not one from Wikipedia. I agree with Mark Twain, this is a very moving sculpture.

We had our museum pass from the previous day and visited the museum near the monument. This was when I had a first bout of museum legs for the day.

My score card for the two days. Not bad.

Our next museum of the day was the Bourbaki Panorama. Once again this was war related, this time a celebration of Swiss humanity and the beginning of the Red Cross organisation.

Our third museum for the day was the Transport Museum. It was fantastic and full of children. I wished I was a child myself as there was so much that was interactive.

Afterwards we walked along the lake to the Bahnhof where we found an open supermarket to stock up a little on food for the next couple of days. We bought a lasagne and salad for tea, plus a cake to share. Yesterday was Stephen’s birthday and we were celebrating in a modest way.

The day was cloudy and cool enough at times for jumpers. Very good for sightseeing.

The swimming pools on the lake provide another way to swim. We saw a couple of middle aged men swimming in the lake as we walked along.

Even though our new room is two floors lower than the other one we still have a glimpse of the mountains.

Looking out and looking in. You can see our bed in it’s couch phase, a section pulls out, one of the mattresses is transferred to it and we have a double bed.

A very wet day in Lucerne

Today it has rained all day. It’s been cool, but not cold, with only a slight breeze at times. When we finally went out after lunch we took umbrellas and raincoats and were happy to enjoy the day. It took us a while to get going and have breakfast.

Our lunch, as shown in the above photo, was very simple. We did some washing, learning to operate a rather different washing machine with folding metal leaves at the top. I think the action would have been like that of a top loading washing machine, going round and round.

Then we talked with Matt on FaceTime. Ian and Marianne were visiting and it was nice to chat with them as well.

We decided to take a couple of extra nights here in Lucerne and had hoped to stay where we are. But when I went to check, there were no vacancies here and we’ve had to book another space. That means we lose time, packing up and taking our luggage to a new place, but we can still go to the Transport Museum tomorrow and then take a cruise on the lake to visit Mt Rigi on Tuesday.

We set off from the house with a plan to go to four museums, but ended up going to two. Stephen managed both, but I had a severe case of museum legs after the first one. It is a small museum about Lucerne, but over four levels. We were able to put our wet umbrellas in a special place, hang up our wet coats, and put our bags into lockers. All very civilised.

We liked the museum, perhaps for what is revealed about the local people more than the information. It is a very ??? place, I’m trying to find the right words because it reminded me of museums in small towns in Australia, full of ordinary objects from the distant past up to the present, good for kids with quizzes and stories to follow on iPads. We went around with iPads as well, taking scans of barcodes to find out about the objects. There was a birthing chair, very uncomfortable looking with lots of holes for obvious and not so obvious purposes.

One of the museums was a bit out of town, so Stephen decided we probably didn’t have enough time to go there as well, and another was not covered by our ticket. Stephen went to the Natural History museum and I sat in a little pub across the way. Totally lacking in character, but comfortable.

On the way home we went to a little supermarket at the bahnhof, the only one open as far as we know. When I checked on Apple Maps everywhere else seemed to be closed for Sunday. We chose some healthy food for our dinner, plus some mousse type deserts, fruit, and a few other items.

Once home we bought a bottle of beer from the communal fridge to go with our meal. We are tired.

We walked along the river on our way to the museum. There are a few rain drops on the camera lens.

The crane rather spoils this photo.

Enjoying Lucerne

Yesterday Rob and Rita picked us up in their motor home and we had an excursion to a restaurant with a view

and an abbey, Einsiedeln. The Abbey is very elaborate and beautiful inside, but we were not permitted to take photos. We enjoyed walking around trying to take in the details. The Abbey is part of a large complex of buildings, surprising conservative in design after the interior.

We also went to see an old house which has been set up for viewing with a commentary. New wood has been used to replace most of building, but there are many of the original beams.

This was a small chapel nearby. It appears to be in use.

This area is famous as being the site of a victory of a small number of peasants over Austrian invaders. They used rocks rolled down the hill to defeat the army on horseback, with armour and weapons. The steep hillsides and narrow pass made it possible.

A tower nearby.

This goat stood so still that we thought it might be carved, until eventually we heard it’s bell and saw it was moving.

We had views of the mountains and lakes along the way. We also had afternoon tea at a good bakery, coffee with cream and apple strudel for us and a more traditional pastry for Rita and Rob. I bought some bread for our breakfast and it served two families as this morning our neighbour came to ask if we had any to spare because the local bakery was closed. We gave her half and used our half for breakfast and lunch today.

In the evening we went back to their campsite on the lake and caught a bus into town. It was the last night of a music festival and there was live music and food stalls. It had begun raining late in the day, but it wasn’t cold, and after drying off some seats with tissues we were able to sit and eat our food.

A view to Mt Pilatus over the river.

And on to the next stop: Lucerne

Although we arrived hot and tired and sweaty the city is immediately appealing and there is lots of see. The humidity and heat are probably because rain, and possibly a storm, is on it’s way.

Here in Lucerne we have a tiny apartment, with some shared facilities in a student complex. We haven’t seen any music students yet, just travellers like us wanting inexpensive, self catering accommodation. It’s the first time we’ve come to an AirBnB with lots of signs outside yelling AirBnB.

When we caught the train this morning we had to retrace our steps for the first couple of hours. We were glad to go through the same scenery in sunshine, sitting mostly in the shade on the normal train. It was very slow going as the line twists and turns and our train sometimes had to wait for trains coming the other way.

Altogether we had three train changes today. We passed by a couple of very large lakes, some flatter landscape, and returning to mountains. Lucerne, of course, has a wonderful lake and we plan to take a cruise on Sunday.

We didn’t buy any food on the way here, hoping that there would be a shop nearby, but no such luck. We were told about a bakery nearby, but were too busy settling in to get out right away. There were pizzas available in freezer in the shared area. We are allowed to use the food and drinks and on an honour system, paying for them by putting money in a box.

We’ve had a pizza and some beer. We walked down to the river, but found there was no path along there and had to climb up lots of stairs to get to the street. We walked back along the way the bus came and found the bakery still open because it is also a restaurant. We bought milk and croissants for breakfast, plus ice creams. It was almost dark by the time we got home.

We have a bed with a slide out section that makes it into a double bed at night, but can be used as a couch during the day. It’s an excellent set up for a very small space. We have a couple of comfortable chairs and a dining/desk area.

There is no air conditioning here and we have a door that opens normally, or sits on an angle for night time use – no one can get in and we have some airflow. We also have a small fan.

This is a view of the rear of our red train snaking around the right bends.

Slumming it in St Moritz

Well, not exactly slumming as we are paying about $150 for our hostel room, but it’s hardly luxurious. When we arrived here after our eight hour ride on the Glacier Express through the mountains and valleys we were able to buy Pre packaged food and long life milk. At reception they provided us with a kettle for our room. Although there is a common room in the hostel there are no kitchen facilities. We have our own plastic spoons and that’s that.

The hostel is part of a large hotel complex with a range of different types of accommodation. They have a restaurant but we felt it would be too expensive and we have simple needs. They provide a free shuttle bus to and from the station and I have to say that the staff we have dealt with so far have been just as friendly and helpful as if we were ‘the rich’.

The train journey was through stunning scenery, but my photos and videos are rubbish because we don’t yet have the technology to get rid of reflections on the large viewing windows. You can hold your camera against the glass, but that usually means you can’t frame the photos to take in the scenery. We took a little walk after our evening snack just carrying our phones and got some good photos of the mountains and fields where we are staying.

We were in the sun on our side of the train for most of the journey, it was worth it because we also had the best views a lot of the time.

Stephen takes some rest.

Food and drinks were served throughout the journey. We had a main course each, plus we bought water and coffee. We had a chocolate bar for desert.

Isn’t Stephen prepared for going through tunnels with his safari hat and sun glasses!. Actually, most of the tunnels were very short.

They provided earphones and some short commentary as we went through different regions. A gong would sound to alert us to put on our earphones when the commentary would start. It even allowed time for us to get ready.

This was late in the day when we had some clouds and a shower of rain. But it was fairly clear by the time we arrived at our hostel.

There were some beautiful homes on our evening walk.

Cow bells, of course! We are in Switzerland.

Our AirBnB stay in Brig is our favourite so far. The apartment was large and dare I say luxurious, although furnished very simply. The views from all of the windows were of mountain scenery. Best of all, we had one host and he had spent time in WA when he was young, a home stay visit for a month. There was a photo of wave rock amongst the travel photos in our room. He was very hospitable and seemed comfortable with having guests to stay, which helped to put us at our ease. In the morning he went out early which meant we had the place to ourselves to have breakfast and get ready.

A New Ambassador for Australia

We travelled by Lake Lausanne, then up through the mountains to a little town called Brig. From here we catch the Glacier Express, a sightseeing train, to St Moritz. We felt that today was a sightseeing train journey, especially the second half.

Travelling First Class to Brig.

I took a lot of video as we travelled, with mixed results due to reflections. It is still hot here, despite the elevation, but tomorrow’s train journey and our next destination should be cooler and the present heat wave will be almost over by the time we reach Lucerne on Friday afternoon.

We are staying in an apartment AirBnB here in Brig. Our host greeted us and settled us in when we arrived. We will need to buy some milk and yogurt for our breakfast tomorrow and there is a supermarket just across the road from here. We have less privacy, but more space.

Later, when it is cooler, we will be able to open the shutter and see the view.

View from the train, except we were going through a tunnel.

Three children got on the train and travelled for a couple of stops. They had lots of bags and a huge case, which the two bigger girls manhandled up to the overhead shelf. The rest of us only put small stuff up there. I couldn’t help applauding. We had a very friendly ticket officer on board and she made sure that when they arrived at their station they waited for her help to get it down. Girl power all round.

And now, just a couple of photos from Brig. It’s a lovely small town of town of about 10,000 people, with newer apartment blocks and a wonderful older town section, with lots of restaurants. It has been a very warm evening after a hot day, even here at a much higher elevation, but it was perfect for wandering around and sitting for a while having a beer. The mountains dominate the town, with some snow even in this hot summer.

We sat on the balcony for a little while on our return and caught the beautiful sunset.

Albi to Lyon

We had a complicated journey to Lyon. We travelled south to the coast, the north again to Lyon, with four train changes. All went smoothly until the third train, which was delayed for about 15 minutes or so. It meant that it was hit or miss whether we would make our connection. In the end, it was only because they slightly delayed our train that we and the other people didn’t miss it.

The last train was the only really fast one and we had paid a reservation fee on our seats. It was an very comfortable first class carriage, with little lamps and well padded seats. We had made a mistake with the seats and we weren’t officially seated together, but as there were spare seats we managed. There was a snack bar on the train and Stephen bought us a Croque monsieur, which he thought was unique to France until I assured him that we can get them in Perth. A bit deflating. But delicious to eat.

I want to add more photos but it is late and I need to sleep.

Arrival here in Lyon was a bit of a kerfuffle at first because our host had only a short window of time to let us into our tiny ‘apartment’. It’s really a room with en-suite and a kitchen, and air conditioner. But so nice to have our own space again. And our own bathroom.

We went to a local supermarket and bought food for dinner, very simple stuff so we didn’t have to cook, plus milk, yogurt and fruit. After a short rest we went out to the confluence of the two rivers, the Rhone and the Saone, you will have to imagine the punctuation here.

We loved being able to catch a few glimpses of the ocean on our train journey. Surprisingly we didn’t find today’s journey tiring, although we are tired now from our little outing.

The building where we are staying in Lyon.

Catching the train at Albi yesterday morning.

Watching for the train at Albi.

Albi Train Station.

Lyon Train Station. Lyon is one of the major cities of France. The area of Lyon where we are staying is quite modern, with some interesting buildings. Quite different to the more traditional area we stayed in Paris.

This is across from the train station. They don’t have much of an underground as there is a very good tram network. Well, almost very good, one line isn’t working and we caught a substitute bus to go on our outing last night.

Living on the river.

Museum of the Confluence.

We didn’t get to visit the castle, which has a museum.

Each river has its own bridges.

Waiting for the substitute bus.

the photos are the right way up when viewed on my iPad. I don’t have my laptop with me on this trip, so can’t check in a normal browser.