The Wonders of Switzerland

Trip Start Jun 23, 2012
Trip End Aug 02, 2012

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Flag of Switzerland  , Lucerne,
Monday, July 23, 2012

Lots of driving today as we head for Switzerland. Two stops, one in Italy late morning and lunch in Switzerland. The scenery was lovely...every day it seems better than the last. We were meant to go through the third longest tunnel in the world but the wait time for two lanes to merge into one through it was 2 1/2hours long. This was to be to our benefit as we went up and over the mountain...what a ride! Narrow windy cliff top road with incredible views, it was amazing. Kevin asked our tour leader John if we could stop at the top and even though we were running behind we had a ten minute stop for photos. Not sure which was better - going up or coming down.
Got into Lucern about 4.30 and saw the Lion monument and then time for a quick break before our scheduled cruise on the lake for an hour. Gorgeous weather and spectacular scenery. Lucern is so clean and pristine with beautiful flowers and manicured grass everywhere.
For dinner most of us attended the Swiss evening, hilarious. Cheese fondue for starters, then veal in mushroom sauce with potato rosti followed by meringue and ice cream. Entertainment was yodeling, horn blowing and traditional dancing. If you took it all seriously it was cringe factor but as some of our group volunteered to go on stage it was just a lot of laughs and fun. Great night.
The next day we were at the base of Mt Pilatus by 8.30am. Clear day and sunny and warm. A 40 minute gondola ride through the most amazing scenery. My kids would be amazed that scary mum could do it, not scared at all I must be improving. Most of the way up we transferred to a cable car, at one point the car is heading straight into the cliff face and then dips and swings, not what we were expecting! The views were incredible, nearly 7,000 feet up and we were so lucky with the could see forever.
After that we went out of Lucern into the countryside to a local farm who took us out to his place on horses and carriages which took about an hour. We had a couple of stops on the way to local spots such as the church and the immaculate cemetery where every grave had a photo of the deceased on it. He ran a dairy with 20 cows and he was interested to talk to both Kevin and Les the Canadian farmer. Pasture was full of weeds, not sure if they have heard of roundup over here. Probably have strict regulations because of the pristine environment.
Lunch of fresh bread, cheeses, pastries and rosť wine....surrounded by magnificent Swiss countryside and a lovely sunny day.... perfect.
Back into Lucern for afternoon free time and an opportunity to shop for Swiss knives and other bits and pieces. Some of the group bought watches, two got a Rolex! We had a look in Bucherar the largest shop. All the Rolex clients were Asians. Our included dinner was a short walk away and finished off a great day. Bit earlier night as we had to be on the bus by 7.15 for our long drive to Paris!
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