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Trish Burgess writes about her recent visit to Lucerne, in Switzerland


By Spalding Today Columnist


Arriving by train from Bern, the third stop on our Switzerland city break was Lucerne (Luzern).

It was far bigger than I'd expected. I had imagined a tiny village on the edge of the lake but it is, of course, a city, albeit with a pretty old town in a spectacular setting. It was busy with tourists, all clamouring to walk across the 14th century Chapel Bridge or head to the city ramparts to find the best views.

Most visitors to Lucerne, however, are here to explore Lake Lucerne or, to give it its proper name, Vierwaldstättersee.

Ships and paddle steamers criss-cross the lake, depositing tourists at strategic points that link to cable cars. From here, they are whisked up to the tops of mountains including Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn.

Approaching Weggis on Lake Lucerne.
Approaching Weggis on Lake Lucerne.

In the weeks prior to our visit, we'd been deliberating over which mountain we should ascend. We couldn't decide, so we bought an early bird day pass in advance, which gave us access to all routes on the lake and saved us a fortune on the usual daily rate.

The weather was glorious when we boarded the ferry and began our journey. As we approached Weggis we could see a large number of passengers were looking to disembark to catch the cogwheel railway to Mt Rigi.

"Ah, let them go," Dougie sighed, relishing just sitting with his face towards the warming September sun.

The next stop was Vitznau, the last chance to reach Mt Rigi, this time by cable car. We let this one go too. Jackets were off, scarves unfurled and legs were stretched out on the deck, which was now fairly empty of people.

"Shall we just stay on?" I suggested, as the pleasure of just sitting still was proving irresistible.

Dougie takes in the view.
Dougie takes in the view.

We did just that. For nearly three hours, the ship zig-zagged around the lake and we admired the mountains from the water. We loved seeing all the little stops: Gersau, Beckenried and Brunnen.

The ship then headed south, into Lake Uri, and it was here, in this narrow channel of water, reminiscent of a fjord, that the scenery became even more spectacular.

We hopped off at Flüelen, at the southern end of the lake, which gave us an hour for some lunch. By 2pm, we were ready to catch another ship back to Lucerne. We heard it first: a loud parp as steam shot out of the funnel.

By chance, our vessel was a paddle steamer, PS Stadt Luzern. Part of the fleet since 1928, this grand old lady had quite a history. Senior officers of the Swiss Army had travelled on her to Rütli in 1940 for a historic meeting to discuss Switzerland's position during World War Two. In 1980, The Queen also sailed on her during a state visit.

"If it's good enough for Her Maj...," Dougie announced, as we took our seats at the front of the ship.

Sailing on Lake Lucerne.
Sailing on Lake Lucerne.

Minutes later, as the sun continued to warm us and the noise of the engines grumbled underneath, he closed his eyes and drifted off. Lake Lucerne was one of the highlights of our holiday and yet it was the day we did absolutely nothing but let the stunning landscape of Switzerland glide gently past.

You can read Trish's blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk



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