Lucerne is a city in central Switzerland. It is a compact city, caught between Lake Lucerne and the towering shape of Mount Pilatus. After a short tour of the city highlights, we headed towards the station to grab a bus to the foot of Mount Pilatus.
I ended up having one of my stereotypes about the Swiss ruined — they are not always punctual. Marc and I hung around for over an hour waiting for his college friends to assemble. Once all arrived, we took a cute cable car to various camps periodically placed in the ascent to Mount Pilatus.
The way up was beautiful. I could see the world unfold below me. Trees spiked out of mowed grass lawns, offering a strange contrast of colour and texture to the eyes. The horizon was cloaked in a grey haze, but in the distance, I could spot the snow-capped mountains. We climbed off at the second last stop, Fräkmüntegg, before completing our final leg of the journey.
This stop was a sort of adventure camp filled with daring activities in the presence of the most wonderful view.
Our plan was to lunch atop the peak of Pilatus, so we grabbed one more cable car. We arrived in a sort of evil sci-fi looking base camp where we enjoyed a delicious meal. I tried a macaroni and cheese dish wish fried onion toppings. Not exactly what I had in mind for such a hot day — but it was Swiss and therefore I needed to try it. Near our lunch spot, people were launching their para-gliders and we watched them set sail into the skies.
After lunch, we took a walk along the spine of Pilatus and amounted the most amazing view. Lucerne was rolled out below us. To the left was a patchwork quilt of farmlands, and to the right was Lake Lucerne, brilliantly splayed in the dappling sunlight.
The mountains were also incredible. A friend pointed out they look as if they were randomly generated through a game interface. I enjoyed seeing the stratified folds in the mountain as we ascended, and imagined them forming deep below the ocean once upon a time.
The mountain is also shrouded in mystery. On our way up, I noticed many logos and insignias bearing the symbol of a dragon. I asked the group what it was about, but they knew nothing. As it turns out, legend says that dragons with healing powers lived on the mountain.
A chronicle from 1619 reads: ‘as I was contemplating the serene sky by night, I saw a very bright dragon with flapping wings go from a cave in a great rock in the mount called Pilatus toward another cave, known as Flue, on the opposite side of the lake’. Source: Wikipedia.
As the sun was dragging across the sky we realised that we still one more event to fit in: the mountain coaster. This was probably the only thing I planned before Switzerland. I saw footage of one in the Alps and it looked amazing.
We queued for the toboggan run and we slipped into our carts, and we were off! I was not allowed to film on the way down, but here is a video of a different run in the Alps.
The trip down was quite quick, and I became distracted with taking the perfect corners as the route carved into the landscape. But the trip up was quite beautiful. I had an uninterrupted view of the lake. The ascent also took us past cows clanging their bells as they graze, and small pockets of pine trees. I even spotted a perfect spot to just sit and write and exist.
Soon it was all over. We managed to secure a lift home with some of the friends. I just sat in the car, eyes glazed over, as I tried to memorise every detail of that mountain trip.