Switzerland Stories and Tips

Zurich, to Luzerne, to Engelberg

Beautiful Alps Photo, Switzerland, Europe

I didn't hear music in the Alps, but they were amazing. We were supposed to have a non-stop train ride to Zurich from Venice. So imagine our surprise when the train stopped and we were told to get off...in Lugano. We get off with several other very confused passengers, wait while the situation is explained in Italian, and finally get the story in English. Our original train from Milan broke down, so we were put on a different one, but this one only went to Lugano. So we're told to get on a train that comes in 30 minutes. We got free coke vouchers though.

We get on the next train with no problem, and after awhile on the intercom we hear that all passengers for Zurich must get off at the next stop. And we still aren't in Zurich. We have someone who doesn't speak Italian, and apparently no English asking us what do and what's going on. Like we know...Another passenger is able to help us and takes us straight to the train we're supposed to switch to. As soon as we stepped on the train the doors closed behind us and the train left. I know God was looking out for us on that one.

The train station in Zurich, Switzerland was the most confusing one. We had no idea where to go or how to get to our hotel. We called the hotel and they told us to get on another train to the airport. It took a tourist information center to really understand what to do. They have the "big" trains, and then S trains, which are like subways, but above ground. They just go between smaller cities. We grabbed lunch at Burger King at the train station. A combo was 14 CHF...nearly 12 bucks! Ouch. Nearly the end of the vacation and near exhaustion we crashed when we got to our hotel. There wasn't anything we wanted to do in Zurich anyway. We were in the middle of nowhere.

After a few hours of nap time (during which we were knocked out...I apparently got the remote and turned the tv off in my sleep, which was impressive because it took me forever to figure out how to turn the tv on and later that night I couldn't figure out how to turn it off...while awake) we got up and decided we needed dinner. It was pouring. So we asked the front desk where to go. Our options within walking distance were Italian (cause that's what we were hoping for), chinese, or mexican that wasn't that good. We went for the Italian but only cause it was closest. But we couldn't read the menu, it was 8,000 degrees, and the food was very expensive. So after sitting and debating about leaving cause we were scared of the guy who seated us, and was the waiter, and the bartender, and probably the cook, we finally scooted and went to the chinese place. Which was really yummy! After dinner we took a walk down a trail alongside a little river and took note of the godzilla size slugs that came out after the rain. We picked up a music channel at the hotel that played mostly english songs so we spaced out to watch that until we went to bed.

The next morning we were supposed to be at the bus station by 9:15 for our tour. We made the scheduled shuttle to the airport, and the scheduled S train to the train station, but then got totally lost and couldn't find the bus station, which was supposed to be behind the train station. I called the tour place and asked for help, and she said she'd call and have them wait for us. Well no wonder we couldn't find it...it wasn't a station, it was a dirt field with buses parked on it. I guess in Switzerland station translates into large dirt circle. When we boarded the bus in was a trillion degrees (that's a lot hotter than the Italian restaurant had been) and we were quickly informed it was because it was against the law for the bus to idle. And our tour guide quickly informed the rest of the bus they were late due to waiting for two guests and we were only ten minutes late, so the tour would be fine. I repeat ten minutes late. We are running behind ten minutes. Gaaaaaaaaah So later when she asked if there were any Americans to wish them a Happy 4th we were a little slow in raising our hands. The entire bus already hated us. And we were the only two Americans.

The tour first went to the town of Luzerne. We went to The Lion Monument built in memory of the soldiers who died protecting Marie Antoinette. The area was beautiful, and very sobering. Then we rode into town and had about an hour to explore on our own. Kristen and I picked up Swiss army knives for gifts then wandered around the river and the town. We got a little turned around on the way back, went way out of our way actually, but were still one of the first back at the bus. So take that! But I would have loved to have more time in Luzerne.

We didn't stop again until Engelberg, at the base of the Alps. We started off to the top of Mt. Titlis on a regular chair lift. Like the kind you're sealed in on. Then we got into a large gondola (not the boat) with everyone and rode up a little bit. Then we transferred onto a different gondola, the floor on this one rotated. It was like the top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. It moved slowly, but was still a little unnerving when it started. Once we got to the top we were set free to be on our own for about an hour and a half. First Kristen and I headed to the glacier. You went through a door and actually walked into the glacier. It was wonderfully freezing in there. Different color lights lit up the walls and there was a place you could select different kinds of music. On the way out Kristen hit the "funk" button. I really wish I could remember what song started playing cause it was hilarious. Loved the glacier though. Then we rode the Ice Flyer. It was an open chair lift that just went in a big circle. You could get off at one point and go snow tubing, but we didn't have time for that.

Aside from just generally taking in the sights the only other thing we did was wolf down some lunch. And at that point the altitude finally started getting to us, making us a little dizzy and lightheaded. Then it was back down the three chair lifts and back to the bus. There's not too much to write about the Alps, but the views speak for themselves and they were amazingly beautiful. So check out the pictures for a vague idea of what we saw.

It was pretty late when we got back from the tour. We grabbed dinner in the airport, deciding we needed to eat something Swiss-like before we left. So we had...I really don't know. A giant sausage thing and hashbrown cakes. It was actually really good. Tasted like we were eating breakfast at IHOP. After painstakingly packing that night we crashed until it was time to get up, check out, and head for our plane.

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