Yesterday, we journeyed by tram from the Unterriet at Opfiken Glattbrugg, to Zurich, and thence by train on a 45 minute ride to Lucerne in the company of a charming and conversational commuter. He told us that he made this journey each day after having first made a 50 minute drive into the city in order to catch this train to work and at the end of each day he makes the return journey, having therefore added three hours to his workload. I presumed that he would have preferred to live closer to Zurich, but here gained some insider knowledge. It seems that some regions outside of the city limits are more socially desirable, so those that could afford to live there were inclined to move into those areas. His plan within the next couple of years he informed me, was to move to a small village a few miles even further from Zürich because it was an even more desirable area. The extension to his commuting time would therefore be a worthwhile sacrifice. It would seem that you can teach an old dog new tricks! He was delighted to have found some people to talk to, if only to while away the journey time but instead he managed to advise us on some worthwhile trips for the coming days. We left the station with him and walked along the promenade, until he departed toward his workplace and we made our way toward the boarding point for the “Pilanus”, a cruise ferry which takes you around Lake Lucerne. The city of Lucerne after which the lake is named, is one of the most idyllically placed cities I have ever visited, it seems almost to act as a protective arm wrapping itself around the western edge of the lake, to hold back the encroaching mountains. The River Reuss flows through the centre of the city, with its quaint wooden bridge dividing Lucerne into two distinctly different parts. Most of the old city is filled with cobblestone alleys and medieval squares surrounded by a 14th century rampart or wall, which lies on the north bank of the river. On the south bank the 17th century church of St Francis Xavier with its twin domes hovers majestically over the entire city and the lake itself, from an elevated position on the nearby mountain slopes. Cloudless blue skies and a profusion of green foliage formed the canvas backdrop on which our view was set as we approached our boat on this perfect midsummer’s day.
We departed the harbour, to cruise the lake exchanging passengers and admiring the scenery which is quite breathtaking in all directions, until arriving at our next destination which was where we were to disembark for the cogwheel railway. There is an old saying that you get what you pay for, which proved most appropriate on this occasion, for the view of Lucerne from the stern of the boat as we sailed off along the lake was absolutely magical, like a constantly changing picture postcard of Swiss perfection.
We traversed the many little harbours and inlets along the course of the Lake to disembark or to welcome aboard new passengers while viewing the passing mountains and little villages tucked away among the fields and forests until we reached our disembarkation point , which was the town of Alpnachstad at the foot of Mount Pilates.