Stack at 10,000 Feet

Trip Start Jan 08, 2010
Trip End Sep 27, 2010

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Flag of Switzerland  , Lucerne,
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Warning: this entry will include the words "amazing", "incredible", "spectacular" and "splendifferous" many times, as well as others to that effect, because that's exactly what this part of Switzerland is. It is just beautiful.

We trained straight from Munich, through Zurich to Lucerne a few days ago and spent just one night and most of the next day there.  Our hotel was great (even though it was called the Tourist Hotel),
it was full of Australians for some reason and the receptionist was
Scottish.  When he saw my name he absolutely refused to believe that
there is no Welsh blood in play, I had to explain that my first name
came from a dead cat and my last is only by marriage.  Still he
couldn't believe that a Myfanwy Evans wasn't from Wales.  He was a
really nice guy though and we had some good chats with him.

The city of Lucerne is gorgeous; surrounded by mountains, a clear river bordered with beautiful old buildings running through the middle and even an old ring wall.  We didn't do much except walk around and look at stuff, but the feel of the place made it worth while.  There were cellists busking on the old wooden bridges, ducks and swans bobbing around on the river, fish swimming around their feet and elegant spires reaching to the sky.  The weather was spectacular so wandering through the cobble-stoned alleyways and squares was an absolute joy.  We visited the Dying Lion sculpture which is a monument to commemorate the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.  It's an unusual kind of monument, usually they are valiant and triumphant-looking, but this one is a mortally wounded lion in a cave looking very forlorn.

That afternoon we caught another train to Engelberg, only about an hour down the tracks but way into the mountains.  We have been here 3 nights and it has been truly incredible.  Engelberg (translating to Angel Mountain) is in a dead flat valley surrounded by absolutely huge steep mountains on all sides.  The closest-looking and most easily defined is called Angel Mountain and, obviously, gives the town its name.  It kinda looks like it has wings, but you have to have a good imagination.  Everything here is green and lush, the weather was perfect for the first couple of days, warm and sunny but you can still see snow on the tops of some of the mountains.  It is raining at the moment which is beautiful too, we got all our mountain-looking done yesterday so today we have enjoyed seeing the clouds creep over the mountains, swirl around the town making everything dark and eerie, then finally listening to the rain come down outside while tucked in to a warm bed.  Doesn't get better than this.

Anyway,back to the first day.  It was unbelievably clear so we took a cable car up the highest mountain in the region, Mount Titlis (hehe) and hung around at the top for a while.  There was a cave inside a glacier which was pretty cool (no pun intended) and a chair lift that took us to a patch of glacier that had been smoothed out into a toboggan run.  That was pretty fun but not as fun as in Sweden where we could go down whatever hill we liked.  There was a pretty good view on the way down though!  We went down a few times with no troubles, but then Pete decided to hop on one of the faster and centre-of-gravity-higher-off-the-ground sleds and went pelting down the hill.  He was doing alright til right at the end when he started bouncing up and down and finally went flying off, rolled 3 or 4 times and came to a grinding halt on the slow-you-down back hill.  I was a little worried, but he got up quite quickly so I just laughed at him and waited til he got to the top again.  It turned out he was actually in a fair bit of pain, but was putting on a brave face for the Indian tour group who were at the bottom of the hill and seemed a bit worried about the whole thing.  He scratched up his hands pretty badly on the ice and did his back and neck in.  He was feeling fairly woozy for a while and woke up the next day with a very stiff and sore neck and back.  With a positive attitude though, he figured that if you're going to stack anywhere it may as well be at 10,000 feet.

This is an amazing part of the world and the people are great.  We are one stop away from heading home now and getting pretty excited about it.  We have seen some incredible stuff but there's no place like home!

PS As I write Pete is lying in bed with a stiff sore neck feeling sorry for himself and groaning a lot.

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Jan on

Absolutely stunning photos of a spectacularly beautiful place but what was the chocolate like?

Gabriella on

Hi Myf and Pete. Emelie has showed me your travelblog. I´m impressed! You have experienced soo much and also let other people see and read about it. Maybe you can start to work as jourmalists or photographs? I wish you a good journey back home and remember you are always welocome back to visit Kaxholmen. I hop Emelie will keep us up to date in the same way as you have done about what she is doing in Panama. Take care! Gabriella

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