Nom de Plumage

June 3, 2013

Swiss Mountains, An Irish Pub and Three Friends

Filed under: Travel Journal — nomdeplumage @ 4:17 pm
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When you think of Switzerland, what comes to your mind? Mountains perhaps? Certainly it is my first thought and coming from a country where mountains are more like ant hills, it is only natural that I should want to visit the alps given the chance. Snow has fallen heavy for the past few days, which has inspired us three girls to explore the countries magnificent scenery. Rigi Mountain is just one popular skiing mountain, and barely an hours train ride from Luzern and that was all the encouragement we needed to embark on a day trip.

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The weather was extremely cold and very grey and overcast. Thick fog blanketed the city and we questioned our logic to go up into the mountains. First, we needed to buy a train ticket and that proved more difficult than we had anticipated. I bought my ticket first with relative ease because of my travel pass and it also cost me more than half price less. But for Lana and Christiane, the process and cost was much more. The ticket official tried very hard (bless him) to get the girls the right ticket, but it meant a lot of confusion and time-wasting. Fifteen minutes later and a long queue of disgruntled people waiting in line behind us, we got our tickets and made our way to the platform. Our first destination was only twenty minutes away to a small town at the base of Rigi Mountain called Arth Goldau. From here, it was a short walk over the train tracks to another small station to get the panorama wagon that would take us up the mountain. A forty minute journey that meanders slowly up the mountain and through some spectacular scenery. The higher the wagon climbed, the fog slowly dissipated and is replaced by the most brilliant blue sky, warm sun, mountain peaks as far as the eye can see and thick coating of pure white snow. It is a magical place.

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This is the winter playground for Swiss families and their love of the snow is evident with their skill so apparent on their ski’s. Children as young as three/four fly past us (much to my amusement) on their mini ski’s with mum or dad quickly chasing after them. The sun’s glare reflected brightly from the snow, which meant our first stop was to buy Christiane some cheap sunglasses. From then on, all hell broke loose and we revelled in the snow. Like children, we through ourselves upon the snow to make angels and I lost it and laugh so hard when I saw Lana actually rebound from the impact. Our lack of snow gear was very clear when we tried walking and in the end failed miserably. We slipped, laughed, fell and laughed even harder and it never felt so good. We eventually came to a wonderful lookout point and decided to make a snowman. I say tried, because it was obvious that two Aussie’s and a Brazilian have absolutely no bloody idea how to make a snowman. It was never about the snowman, but the fun and we caught the attention of the local café owner who came out and commented on ‘the worst snowman he has ever seen’. He laughed as hard as us and was a great sport. I believe our snowman was very original, if not a little slim and slightly out of shape. We called him Bruce; a great Aussie name and left him for the locals to have a laugh at.

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What I love about Switzerland, is that wherever you go, you are bound to find a restaurant that serves hot food. An ordinary bistro overlooking an extraordinary view offered us hungry tourists a place to get warm and eat a hearty lunch. Lana and I ordered the traditional and very popular schnitzel with chips, where Christiane misread the menu and received bread with cheese. She was not happy! After lunch, we walked further down the mountain to get the panorama wagon and this time it took us down a different side with even more beautiful views. Unfortunately, the views only lasted so long because the further down the mountain the wagon crawled, the thicker the fog became. Our destination was a town called Vitznau where we would get a ferry back to Luzern. The ferry was full of tourists and the only available seating was outside in the thick fog and cold. The journey was not pleasant as there was nothing to see.

When we arrived back at the city, it was 5 pm but the day was not over yet. Christiane wanted to go shopping for a watch and so Lana and I both went with her. She is by no means easy to please and the ordeal took a lot longer than we expected. In the end, she brought more than she wanted and in the process built up an appetite. Cheese and bread is not very filling and so we went in search for dinner. We found an Italian family operated pizzeria and all three of us ordered a hearty minestrone soup with fresh bread and a glass of red wine. But the evening was just getting started. It is our Brazilian friends last night in Luzern and we decided to go out and have a farewell drink. We walked in search of a bar and I found an Irish pub. I love Irish pubs and the warm friendly atmosphere, and no matter where you go in the world, it is ever the same. Alongside the lake and near the famous old wooden bridge stands the Pickwick Irish pub. An Irish pub with a very Charles Dickens name, the atmosphere is set for a great evening.

As soon as we walked into the pub, it felt like very friendly and cosy. We sat at a table that was also near a huge television so Lana could watch a football match consisting of her favourite team – Liverpool. Oh my God! She is a fanatic! The language and passion (oh, and the colourful language) that overcame her, was awe-inspiring and a little scary. Liverpool, to Lana’s disgust, lost 0-1. We started our evening with a glass of Australian wine (Lana’s shout), followed by another round, courtesy of Christiane and it should have ended there. But our laughing and maybe even Lana’s passion, caught the attention of a South African couple behind us and next thing you know, we are talking and laughing with them. Ernest and Lillian are a great couple, very friendly and a lot of fun. So friendly, that Ernest brought the next round, the next round after that and finally, the another round after that. In total, I had consumed six glasses of red wine and my world started spinning. But what a great night! I have not laughed as much in a long time and I am very grateful to have met some wonderful people. But tomorrow, I shall rue my decision and pay for my larger than usual consumption of alcohol.


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