Monday, August 18, 2008

So, my last day in Switzerland, Monday (not counting Tuesday, which basically consists of a trip to the airport), I decided I would take a trip to one of the mountains that are relatively easily accessible from Lucerne, where I was staying. My candidates were Mt. Pilatus, the mountain which overlooks Lucerne; Mt. Rigi, a lower ridgey kind of mountain that supposedly has great views of other mountains and of basically the whole city, and Mt. Titlis, which is a little further away and more expensive than the other two but which has glaciers. I decided on Titlis, because I had been disappointed that I didn't get the chance to take the train up to the Jungfraujoch and see the glaciers there.


I think I made a good choice! To get to Titlis, you take the train from Lucerne to Engelberg, which is actually fairly fun just for itself, since the train goes at a very steep incline for part of the way. Then you take a six-person ski gondola for about twenty minutes. Then you get on a cable car for another five minutes. Then you get on a REVOLVING cable car for another five minutes.

The revolving cable car also plays music. While I was in the cable car it played "Karma Chameleon", "Just Like Heaven", and "Can't Touch This". So that was a bit odd, but highly entertaining,

Then when you get to the top, it's all cold and snowy! In August!


It was right around freezing up there, I believe. Very pleasant, actually, in the sun. I had packed a lunch, but then I saw some people eating french fries, and I thought those looked like they would really hit the spot, but then I looked at the price board and they were 7.50 CHF, which is about $7. So I decided I could live with my cheese sandwich and my peanut butter sandwich. I have basically lived on cheese sandwiches and peanut butter sandwiches for the last two weeks. Restaurants are so expensive here, and there are plenty of nice places to picnic.

Here are some more pictures from the top of Titlis:




Rock formations!

Also, you can take a ski lift over the glacier:

And then you can go sledding:


I went for three or four sledding runs. There is a "magic carpet" lift to bring you back up to the top of the run, and they provide sleds and helmets (although there are a lot less helmets than there are sleds -- I decided not to wait around for a helmet, since they probably wouldn't have had one that fit me.

Anyway, that was the first and probably last time I ever go sledding wearing capri pants (well, maybe clam diggers is more accurate). I only brought two pairs of trousers on the trip, khakis and my orangey-red nylon pants. I went with shorter nylon pants over the longer khakis, and that was a good choice because they dried out really fast, but still not exactly ideal because in slowing myself down I kicked up a lot of snow, half of which went right up my trouser leg. Next time I will bring long quick-drying pants.

Anyway, I spent an hour or two up on Titlis (by the way, Mt. Titlis is called Mt. Titlis for the same reason the Grand Tetons are called the Grand Tetons, but I never really saw the actual mountain except for a brief glimpse from the train, so I don't know striking the resemblance is).

Then I went back to Lucerne and went to a museum of modern art, the Rosengart Collection. This is one of those very personal museums, where all the art was collected by one family. There are over 100 works by Klee on the lowest floor, all arranged chronicologically. "Little X", which is a really cute little painting, is "Angela Rosengart's first Klee", which she bought when she was 16. This museum also had by far the best English-language exhibit interpretation booklet that I encountered while I was in Switzerland. I liked this place!

Then I went to the Jesuit Church, which is from the Counter-Reformation and very big and grand and Rococo.


In one of my guidebooks it says that this is actually a toned-down version of the way the church originally looked. In which case you can kind of start to get a feeling for where the Reformation people were coming from, jeez, lay off the decorations a little, guys.

Here's another last picture of Lucerne, of the Chapel Bridge, which was partially burned down in the 90s but rebuilt:


Anyway, I will probably do one more entry about my trip once I get home or possibly on the way home today, but this will be my last entry from Switzerland. I've had a great time.


Steph said...

Oy, Rococo, so ... tacky.

Kyle said...

I know, this place kind of reminded me of one of those overdecorated bathrooms with the fake gold and the finials on everything. Only this place had more bones from saints and things.