Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Switzerland Experience

Photo: View from Berghotel Wissifluh, Vitznau.

Day 25: Lucerne

Sometimes some of the best experiences just appear out of nowhere. Today we took a boat trip on Lake Lucerne to a small village called Vitznau. Hundreds of people got off the ferry at this town but almost all went straight to a funicular railway and disappeared up into the mountains. We didn’t. We had a look around for a while, then asked about a cable car we had seen heading up in the opposite direction. We were told it was privately owned, but we could walk up past the church, up the road and see if anyone was there. When we got to the botton of the lift we found a small, deserted shed with a cable car, lots of old machinery, some skis, a phone and some faded instructions. “If unattended call ‘14’.” We did. The person at the other end spoke a little English, but said the restaurant was closed. We didn’t even know there was a restaurant! I asked if there was a viewing platform we could come up and see. A few seconds later we had loaded ourselves into the tiny cable car, pressed the button inside twice and up we go. At the top was an old shed similar to the one at the bottom, but still no sign of life. Out we get and wandered along a bush track for 5 minutes until we get to what appears to be a farm. Pigs, lots of old farm machinery, bee hives and an old house. We were in someone’s backyard. We continued to wander, not sure where we should go, and found the hotel. Still no sign of life. It had a huge verandah overlooking the lake with amazing views back toward Lucerne. Eventually a woman came out from inside and in very broken English began talking to us. She offered us a drink, then began telling us about her life on the mountain. She had been living up here, running the hotel with her husband for 23 years. They don’t advertise, but have many Swiss actors stay there. The property had recently been used to film a crime show for TV. The only way up was the cable car or a track, too small and steep for a car. Her kids used to go to school on the cable car and ferry. They grew a lot of their own food, had springs for water and solar for power. A photo on their web site (http://www.wissifluh.ch/) shows the property from above. http://www.wissifluh.ch/allfiles/rest1.jpg
The red roof is the top of the cable car shed, the rest of the buildings are the farm and hotel. You can see the village far below.  A simply amazing experience. 

Once back at Lucerne Lachie and I found a geocache and dropped off some travel bugs while the girls did some shopping.

1 comment:

Bogan neighbour said...

Hope you took your air sickness tablets before you rode in that cable car! What a view!