Day 26: LUCERNE and Mount Titlis. Sunday 24 July

Trip Start Jun 26, 2011
Trip End Jul 30, 2011

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Flag of Switzerland  , Lucerne,
Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 26: LUCERNE. Sunday 24 July
One of Switzerland's finest cities. Sightseeing takes in the impressive city walls, a wooden bridge, ornate patrician houses lining cobblestone streets, and the Lion Monument. A selection of optional activities completes the day: a cruise on the fjord-like lake or an excursion to the top of one of the most beautiful mountains. (B)

Hotel: Astoria Pilatusstrasse 29 Lucerne CH-6002 Switzerland Tel: 41 41 226 88 88

Note: City center is 10 min walk or 3 min drive from the hotel.

Optional Excursions:

CITY: Lucerne
Dinner & Swiss Folklore 
Contrary to belief, not all Swiss can yodel or blow the alp horn, but those you will see are real experts. They entertain you with merry melodies on the accordion and traditional dances while you enjoy a full 3-course dinner.
Approximate value: EUR €60 per person

Scenic Lake Cruise 
An hour's guided cruise on the most beautiful lake in Switzerland gives you an introduction to this lovely city from a completely different aspect. With its many bays, it offers superb panoramas of the surrounding landscape. The area is rich in historical associations, particularly the William Tell legend.
Approximate value: EUR €25 per person

Mount Titlis 
Drive to Alpine Engelberg to take the Titlis-Rotair, the world's first revolving cable car, up to 10,000 feet where eternal snow resists even the summer sun. A panoramic view all the way up with 360 degree vistas of glaciers and icefalls. Also on the agenda is a visit to the Ice Grotto.
Approximate value: EUR €70 per person

The Titlis Ice Flyer 
An extension to the Mount Titlis excursion, the Ice Flyer is a chair lift, specially equipped to protect from wind, snow and rain. The 2,460 foot journey lasts six minutes and you can enjoy an absolutely unique and unforgettable ride just a few feet above the Titlis Glacier.
Approximate value: EUR €7 per person

Engelberg Only 
Spend a few hours in this panoramic village at the foot of Mount Titlis: a well-known Alpine resort, where you could shop in the bazaars and enjoy traditional Swiss cuisine in a typical restaurant.
Approximate value: EUR €28 per person

What we did:

Up at 6:45 for all the optional excursions which starts at 8:30 with the Scenic Lake Cruise on Lake Lucerne. This is a must do not just for the view but unlike the bus the cruise boat is an excellent platform for pictures of Lucerne and area. At 9:30 we walked to our bus two minutes from the pier and were then taken to Engelberg. The drive was gorgeous and then we got on a series of three consecutive lifts to get to the top of Mount Titlis. The clouds obscured the view on the last stage "Titlis Rotair" lift but it was good on the return. We arrived at the top and went up 3 floors, walked 250 feet through the snow to experience the Ice Flyer which is a six person enclosed ski lift that takes you across the glacier and back. It’s a 6 minute fun ride with a great view if clouds don’t obscure and worth doing. Our combination of hooded jackets and sweaters without gloves did the trick as you’re not out long even though it was -20 wind chill. Gloves and mitts would have been great but I wouldn’t have been able to operate my camera. So it was take pictures, put hands in pockets to warm, take pictures etc. There’s also a picture taken as you exit the ride for purchase on your way out. We next went back to the main building to see the Ice Grotto which is included in your passage up Titlis. This very neat and surprisingly large ice cave is carved into the glacier. We next checked out the  lunch situation. The self serve cafeteria was lined up a fair bit and we’ve found you don’t really save much money on them over here so we went to the A la Carte restaurant “Titlis Gastroland”. As per Lucerne the prices are 50% higher than the rest of what we’ve seen in Europe so it was 41.40 Euros for coffee, hot chocolate, fries and a pizza. It was all delicious; we had a great view of the mountain in pleasant quiet surroundings and well worth it. It was now 1:00 and we had to get going to make our 2:00 departure because it takes 45 minutes to get down the mountain. The one thing that detracts from the whole experience is the crush of bodies going on the upper two lifts. You’re pretty much crammed in like cattle and that’s just the way it is but the first 6 person gondola lift is great. We had a nice chat comparing experiences with four people from Australia on another Cosmo tour. There were about 15 tour buses in the parking lot when we left Engelberg at 2:00 to head back to Lucerne. We had a choice from being dropped at our hotel or downtown at Shwanplatz and most of us got off downtown. This worked out well since we had from 3:00 to check out the booths along the lake, historic downtown, stores etc. Since it was Sunday most stores were closed which was rather disappointing to some but I just take pictures and explore so no big whoop for me. It reminded us of years ago in Canada when they closed early on Saturday and were closed Sunday because of the Lords Day Act. We walked back a different way over another old covered bridge and got disoriented but we used the map Nancy got from a hotel to find our way back. We had some time for reflection and internet use before supper which was free in the lobby and dining room. We met 6:30 in the lobby with some others and from information Nancy gleaned at the front desk went to a good place to eat. The Movenpick restaurant was just 5 minutes down the street at 14 Pilatusstrasse and was a good choice. They had an all you can eat chicken wings and fries meal that three of us thoroughly enjoyed. Nancy’s trout was excellent as well and it was 97.20 Eruros for our meal including wine and pitcher of Carlsberg beer. It was nice to be only 5 minutes from the hotel and bed so to be ready for our 6:15 wake up and departure tomorrow. Nancy called home for 15 minutes and it was only 5.2 Euros which we paid at check out. Since our cell phone didn’t work anywhere this is a good deal. Everyone was very positive about their time in Lucerne and the great optional trips.
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