This morning, I opened my eyes and the first thing I saw was Mt. Pilatus. Absolutely amazing. I don’t wake up to scenery like that too often.
After getting ready, the four of us (Joylani, my brother Alex, my sister Jackie, and myself) headed out to meet Melissa, one of Joylani’s friends from home. Melissa is also traveling around Europe right now and met up with us in Lucerne yesterday. After deliberating a bit about what to do, we decided to hike up Mt. Pilatus. The way up is split into three sections, each of which can be ascended via trail or gondola (basically a room on a ski-lift). We decided to at least hike the first part, which was marked as suitable for beginners. It was actually pretty steep and fairly tiring, although we completed the 1500 ft vertical ascent (I have no clue how far we actually walked though) in about the 1.5 hour estimated time. I guess it was suitable for Swiss beginners, because we were all drenched in sweat at the end.
Alex and I decided to hike the second part too, which was designated for experienced walkers, while the three girls took the gondola up to the next stop. While the next part was also only a 1500 ft vertical ascent, it had a lot more ups and downs. Rather than switching back, the trail just went straight up the mountain for the most part. I was thinking maybe we bit off more than we could chew, but Alex and I just kept pushing each other. Okay, he pretty much laughed at me and mocked my post-college out of shapeness, which embarrassed me into continuing to hike. I mean, I couldn’t let my little bro be tougher than me. So we trudged upwards, dripping in sweat, and exhausted. But the views got better as we climbed up. We could see all of Lucerne, and then the surrounding mountains, and finally everything on our side of the mountain. We finally arrived at the small town, Frakmunten, where Joylani was waiting for us (Jackie and Melissa had taken the final gondola up to the summit). We took a few photos of the surrounding views and agreed to take the gondola up the last section of the mountain, which was designated for “experienced climbers.” Beginners was difficult, experienced walkers was a tough hike, but we’re not experienced climbers in the US and certainly not in Switzerland. It’s a good thing we attempt the hike, because we could see the path below us as we went up. It was scary to look at- hiking up steep, winding, razor-thin ridges was scary, not to mention it was a pretty windy day.
The view from the top was awesome though. We could look down on all of Lake Lucerne, as well as all the peaks surrounding us. In the distance, snow-capped peaks rose above the clouds. Although only at 7000 ft, the view from the top was well worth the hiking and gondola fee.
Speaking of money, that is the one thing I don’t like about Switzerland. Everything is super expensive. An entrée at any restaurant cost a minimum of 10 USD, with most restaurants being considerably more expensive. What I’ve seen of Switzerland is beautiful, but the cost of everything makes it less enjoyable for me. Perhaps I was overly cheap the past two days, but Switzerland is overly expensive too. We ended up buying most of our food at the grocery store, which is why I’m now sick of bread, cheese, and deli meats. All in all, Switzerland is great, but it’s impossible for me to justify spending so much money on things here. If we were on vacation that’s one thing, but we’re traveling for the long-term. On the other hand, it’s not everyday that we’re in Switzerland, in the Alps.