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Trip Start Jan 08, 2010
45Trip End Sep 27, 2010
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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
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
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
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.