Finally visiting Switzerland after decades of near-libidinous desire of wanting to is turning out to be a long-realised dream – and a nightmare where the budgeting suddenly became the last straw that broke the strings of our purses.
I was introduced to the incredible prices when we took a short stop in Basel to get our Swiss half-card, but ended up spending nearly 40 minutes at the SBB Travel Centre with an enthusiastic salesperson (who was possibly showing exemplary behaviour as Teamcoach) who issued us all of our tickets that we were ever going to need in for the rest of our time in Switzerland. If transport – mostly train – prices were staggering, the cost of lunch in a small Confisserie opposite the central station would have been the primary cause of a clogged artery rather than the sheer amount of cheese and pastry in it. It was also one of those days that was sufficient to send TC into a dizzying tumble of pseudo-philosophical thoughts that mostly deal with earning power, the standard-of-living, and the individual’s capacity for really knowing oneself.
The snowy peaks surrounding Luzern slowly meandered into view as the train wound its way inwards, and its environment is sort of close enough to conjure the infantile Heidi’s milk-cow stereotypes that everyone thinks about at least once in their life but is quite afraid to say aloud. having intended to eschew the extra walking with considerably heavier packs and the stress of packing for another “long-distance” trip, we modified the itinerary just 2 days ago to spend more time in Luzern but in different places for each night. As it would typically turn out, the irony lay in the amount we had to walk from the first place of accommodation to the second hotel: one treats the distance between new and the old town with greater respect when lugging heavy bags on the way.
Navigating our way with the English language is quite effortless, although I’ll always use the chance to dredge up any remnants of foreign words I can remember. Swiss German however, with its rolls of the tongue and sing-song intonation sounds simply like the process of yodelling on a tenor-alto range even though the Swiss think it’s probably has a most wonderfully musical tone.
There wasn’t much to do after checking in at nearly 4pm on a Saturday afternoon – when stores were about to close but to visit the Museum Sammlung Rosengart Luzern before emerging like foolish open-mouthed peasants onto the magnificent waterfront and the Kapellbridge at twilight. The high street shops in the old town of Luzern were already closed for the weekend and one of my first tasks to do was to obtain some excellent chocolate truffles from the Bachmann Confiserie before foolishly deciding to go for dinner at the Old Swiss House (a rushed check on Tripadvisor convinced us) before really checking the prices out. While the food and service and dining atmosphere were excellent, the entire dinner probably cost us our carefully apportioned dough for half our stay here.
An impulsive decision on a quiet sunday morning the next day at the tourist office meant that either Titlis or Mt Rigi were our options since Mt Pilatus was closed because of bad weather conditions.
Comprising a combination of boat rides and a funicular up the mountain, Mt Rigi and the beautiful surroundings with Lucerne spread before us would have sent me straight into Heidi heaven – but because I’ve already marvelled too much at the wildness of the Icelandic landscape, visiting Switzerland’s pretty environs felt entirely too prepackaged. There wasn’t much light at times; fog descended on the peaks from time to time, and clear just as we got on the boat heading back. I groaned and grabbed my camera to get the best of the fading light.