aka: Shannon's Shananigan's (Since there seems to be less & less knitting and more Shananigan-ing going on as of late and well, let's face it, she's just going to always be a techygeekgirl!!)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Whirlwind Switzerland Tour - Part II

Today was the second half of the "Europe" tour, since we had the car for the entire weekend. I did not drive today, which was a good thing. It got a little dicey in the mountains and I was OK being navigator. (though not a really good one...)

Captain Komo:

Our first stop was in Zermatt. This is one of the southernmost points in Switzerland, right next to the Italian border. A group of us actually went down there earlier this year, but we traveled by train. (Pictures from that trip are here)

In order to get to the valley where Zermatt is, we had to take the train. But it's a train where you drive onto the railcars:

And then ride in your car, on the train through the tunnel. It looks like this when we were riding: Completely pitch black!!

It was pretty exciting going by car, as we could drive all the way into the town of Tasch, then catch the 10 minute train shuttle into the town. Once we got through the pass, we had to drive down the rest of the way into the valley. The view down the mountain was spectactular!

Unfortunately, a storm was rolling in, so the mountain was mostly blocked by clouds. Here is what is looked like today:

You can just make out the peak of it through the clouds. And as we were finishing up pictures, it started to just pour rain, so it was a good thing that we did not try to go up to the top again.
After leaving Zermatt, we headed north to Luzern. I had not seen it at all and wanted to see a couple of the sites there. Chris had printed out maps and after some guessing and back-tracking, we ended up on what appeared to be the right road to get out of the valley and on our way. That is until we came to the road closed sign on the pass. It ended up we had to go "through" the mountain on the other side to get back out again, so we loaded onto the train and rode it again. It was a bit longer trip this time, but interesting nonetheless.

This pass dumped us out a little higher in the mountains and it was noticeable change from the other mountainous areas we had been in. The houses were made of stone, not wood, there was much more snow and hardly any trees. And we had to go down the mountain further to get to the highway. The scene again was breathtaking:

We made it into Luzern at about 6pm, which gave us just enough time to see the sites that we wanted to see. Luckily it has been staying light here until after 9, so we had plenty of time.

We saw the Lion of Luzern monument. (Called: Lõwendenkmal in German)

And as my friend Lindsey said (quoted loosely...) "I do not believe that I have ever seen stone cry". It was amazing and very moving. And the longer you stand and look at it, the more details are picked up in it. Truly a site to see if you get the chance.

I also wanted to see the bridge over the lake/river in the old section of the town. It was built back in the 1400's and still had paintings from the 1700's in it. It was very pretty and the flowers were out along it too.

Last, but not least is Mount Pilatus, which is a backdrop to the town. It was impressive as well:

We got home at about 9pm and returned the car with over 1200 km additional on it! It was an exhausting, but fabulous weekend. (and I have over 270 pictures from the weekend to prove it!)


At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Robin said...

I am so envious. The photos are wonderful. And my, aren't you becoming quite the world traveler! Keep it up!


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