On top of Titlis

Trip Start Jan 01, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Switzerland  , Lucerne,
Sunday, February 13, 2011

I have really been slacking off with my blogging this year. I guess one problem is I haven't done much traveling. I did have a holiday in Egypt planned for the beginning of this month but it was canceled due to the demonstrations in Cairo, even though we were going to the Red Sea and didn't even fly through Cairo. I was, of course, unhappy that I couldn't go see this amazing part of the world, but I am hopeful that the people of Egypt will get the rights we should all have. Though it is still early in their great change, so far it is positive and I hope for continued positive changes and more freedom for them in the future.

But it doesn't give me much to write about, travel-wise, since I wasn't there to see the action. Luckily the next few months will be more interesting. I have a few mini-trips planned around Europe before our "big trip" (though relatively short) in June, so hopefully I will have more to write about.

Today was a very nice day. I woke up early, for no good reason, and noticed a text message I received yesterday but had not yet read. It was from a friend inviting me to join her on a trip to Engelberg today to do some tobogganing, or, in British English, sledging, which is the term I see everywhere here. She is moving back to Brazil in a couple months and wants to get all her winter experiences in before she goes.

So I texted her back immediately after reading it and asked if I was too late in joining her. Engelberg is 2.5 hours away so I figured she may have already left, but I was lucky and she had only  just got out of bed herself. We both rushed to get ready and met on the train just as it was pulling away from the platform.

After the wild rush to make it on the train, we then had a long, boring journey ahead of us to get to our destination. We changed trains in Olten and again in Lucerne. The S-bahn from Lucerne stopped several times before we entered a very long tunnel through the mountain. Out on the other side the world was glittering with white snow caught in the bright rays of the late morning sun. It was a perfectly cloudless day with not much chill in the air. Perfect!

From the town of Engelberg you can go access two mountains. One is cheaper, lower and great for tobogganing, while the other is very famous, expensive and high. Since it was a perfectly clear day we thought we should take advantage of that and go all the way up to the top of Mt. Titlis at 3,100 metres, and enjoy the great view of the glacier and surrounding mountains.

Another long journey, but far more interesting than the train ride, the combined journey to the top of Titlis is almost an hour. First we take a small gondola up the mountain, stopping at two ski stations. At the second we disembark and switch to a much larger and more crowded cable car. Jostling for space to stand between skis, snowboards, and various individuals, it is fortunately a short ride to the next station, where we switch to a round cable car, the famous Titlis Rotair. It is pretty cool if you get to stand next to a window, as we did. The floor rotates as the car travels up or down the cables, so you get a 360 degree view of your pristine surroundings. We could even see the thick ice of the glacier poking out in places from beneath a blanket of snow.

At the top of Titlis we stopped for some food then hiked up a little hill to get an even better view, where we could see clouds hiding lesser mountains below us. The moon was also clearly visible in a bright blue sky.

We walked back down the hill and went over to a ski lift that crosses the glacier. There's nothing much on the other side if you aren't trying to access a ski run, but the view of the glacier and the surrounding mountains makes it a worthwhile journey.

We took a few photos at the other end of the lift then made the return journey back. We also noticed an ice cave in the Rotair station so we checked that out before going back down one station to the snow toys area where we got ourselves some tubes and flew down the course. It was so much fun but I think my friend was more frightened than excited by the experience. She said one tube trip was enough and didn't need to try tobogganing after that!

Instead we decided to warm up in the neighboring lodge with a glühwein and a plate of fries. The sun was getting lower and now that we weren't at the top of the mountain it was actually hidden by the higher mountains around us. It got cooler very fast and we decided that was a good sign to go home.

We made the trip down the mountain and then waited in Engelberg for our long train home. Again, we took three trains to get back to Basel over the course of 2.5 hours. It was a long day with all the traveling but great fun.
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LP on

Beautiful pictures of the moutains! Wow!!!

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