Posts Tagged ‘swiss alps’
Somehow the days just keep getting better. This morning I opened the windows to find a spectacular sunshine-filled view of Lake Lucerne, a welcome surprise after a few stormy days, and the perfect weather for an ascent up Mount Rigi, a must-see highlight to any trip through Switzerland. The peak of Mt. Rigi is visible from Lucerne’s city center on a clear day, easily recognizable by its pointed control tower antennae in the distance.
Lucerne, located in central Switzerland at the foot of the Swiss Alps, is simply stunning. From the minute I stepped off the train and caught a glimpse of Lake Lucerne, reflecting snow capped peaks in its swan-filled waters—the city perched at its edge—I was smitten.
I was drawn to Lausanne by a distant memory. Back in my college days when I was studying abroad in Italy, I took an overnight train to either Barcelona or Paris. On the way I remember waking up early in the morning and looking out the train window. I was so stunned by the beautiful view that it’s still etched in my mind. The day was crystal clear and there was a big blue lake, reflecting the sky and snow capped mountains in its waters. The hills were exploding with green and tumbled straight onto the water’s shore. I looked for a sign of where we were: Lausanne. I vowed to come back here one day, stop, and linger, instead of just passing through.
Finally today I caught a train back to Lausanne.
We caught the (too) early morning Glacier Express train out of Zermatt. This time the scenery was completely different: it had gone from fall to winter overnight and now it was all snow covered trees and even snow-laden cows! Signs were piled high with a dusting of powdered snow, all the rocks had snow mounds stacked on them. When the train reached Lake Geneva’s wine country, some of the vines stacked on the hills were even covered in snow, their golden leaves peeking out beneath the white.
The next day I awoke to snow flurries. Perhaps no big deal, but for this Southern California gal, I still get excited catching snowflakes in the palm of my hand. Then again, I can still count the number of times I’ve seen snow.
I knew the minute I crossed the border from Italy into Switzerland. First, the train announcements switched from Italian to Swiss German. Then, the look of the houses began to change. Train station names and road signs ceased to be in Italian. The most striking change came when the drink cart vendor switched languages—he went from speaking flowery Italian to roaring by with an urgent Achtung!