Dwight Peck's personal website

Lucerne, Switzerland, 2011

Everyone's favorite tourist destination in Switzerland (especially for the Japanese and, increasingly, the Chinese), Luzern is the door into the Bernese Oberland and high Alps.

It's got everything -- medieval old-town without cars, painted houses, lakeside amenities, alpine vistas . . . over-priced shops, sandwich-lunch for $41.50, not much "ambiance", but oh well, here we go.

The "occasion" for our visit is this thing -- Schubert the VW (a "voiture occasion" is a used car). Kristin found him on-line, only a few years old, all the mod cons, not too expensive, but . . . he's living in Lucerne at present, and now we've gone off to Lucerne to collect him and give him a new home.

Old Dieter, the much over-used car from 1996, got us this far anyway. We've delivered our papers to the VW dealer in nearby Ebikon and now we're staring out of the Pension Joller, a very nice B+B up the hillside above Hergiswil, in the pouring rain.

That's Stansstad across the way -- Stans itself is back a ways, apparently in sunshine. We're on the shores of the Vierwaldstätter See, the Lake of the Four Forest Cantons. At the far end of it, on the Urnersee, Switzerland got started in 1291 by uniting against the Habsburgs. Wilhelm Tell, etc.

The Pension Joller -- inexpensive, well-placed, great views, and just a short walk through the woods to the restaurant Schönegg.

Our first dinner at the berghotel Schönegg, and it had to be during America Week (which ran for six weeks).

The special Amerika Woche menu included such delicacies as the Nashville, the El Paso, and the Las Vegas, as well as the venerable Porterhouse. I exulted in my Wienerschnitzel cordon-bleu with a salad the size of Texas.

America Week seemed to be enticing neither the tourists nor the farmers roundabout -- we dined alone throughout our stay.

It seems natural to associate the Old Stars and Stripes with six-guns and "law enforcement" badges.

We awake to a fine day and go out for a bracing walk.

A walk wisely preceded by a ride up in a cablecar to get a good headstart on the heights of the Pilatus.

The Alpgschwänd restaurant at 1216m at the top of the lift, with the Pilatus hovering overhead

Pilatus looms over Lucerne -- though only 2132m high, it's a fairly serious mountain, and we've decided to put that off and just walk up to the Fräkmündegg ridge at 1416m and see what's there.

Pilatus guards its secrets

At the Fräkmünd farm, goats don't care.

Fräkmünd, and the pleasure park up on the ridge behind it

The Seil-parc on the ridge has got the sailing-through-the-trees adventure course, and a summer "toboggan" run that can be seen coursing across the hillsides above us. Adventurous people were having a whale of a time on it. Laughing hilariously. The goats didn't care.

Looking back from the scene of hilarity on the quiet pastures below

The mountain restaurant at the top of the Fräkmündegg lift up from Kriens near Lucerne, leading on to the lift up the Pilatus

Kristin taking stock of things

Six-year-old girls unlocking and relocking their carabiners like old professionals and launching themselves out over the void.

Lucerne below, from the far side of the ridge. Up that shallow industrial valley, in Ebikon, our VW is being fitted out for us even now.

We're finding our way back to the right side of the mountain.

Fräkmünd farm. Back on the right side of the mountain.

It's a lovely farm, with many goats.

Some people love goats; some people loathe them. Some people just don't care.

Views of the Lake of the Four Forest Cantons, as we tear out a little more knee cartilage in our haste to get to dinner


The lake boat leaving Stansstad. This lake has five belle-epoque paddlewheel steamers that go into summer service tomorrow, 29 May, and we're praying to whatever gods may be that we can get on one of them.

Back home for dinner at the Schönegg. Hergiswil below, Stansstad on the farther lakeside.

Vierwaldstätter See. Tomorrow we're going into Lucerne to compare it to our memories of the place.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 10 June 2011.

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