Europe Tour - Lake Lucern, Switzerland Day 2
This one is gonna be rather short because I was too tired to write as we went around.
In the morning, we went to the base of Mount Pilatus to ascend the mountain by cogwheel train. It was a slow ascend, and a cold one. Of course it wasn't without reward. The view was incredible! Vast green lands, sparkling lakes, open skies, it was all so picturesque. There were even cows grazing! We called them mountain cows lol. They had cowbells tied around their necks that sounded whenever they moved. So every time we heard the sound of bells, we whipped out our cameras and searched for the cows. However, halfway to the top, the scenic view transformed into that of ghastly fog. We couldn't see anything outside our windows! Upon arriving at Mt. Pilatus, we were given free rein to roam around, take pictures and shop at the gift store. But because of the fog, there wasn't exactly much to see. We were also ill equipped for the weather in the mountain. Luckily I brought a cardigan and a hoodie with me. They weren't very thick per se, but they worked well to keep me sufficiently warm enough. Luckily Nottingham winters had prepared me for standing the cold. I can't imagine what winter on Mt. Pilatus must be like.
We went out into the fog and wind, took some photos and explored for like, 5 minutes then retreated back into the warmth of the building. We then went to this tunnel place where you could walk through and enjoy the scenery from high up, but because of the fog, it just felt like a journey through mountain pass. We didn't go very far because it was too cold (& windy) plus my grandma couldn't take it so we went back again. I waited with a few others at a bistro stand opposite the gift store and spotted a pretty good looking guy. He looked about my age or younger. Probably younger. Great features. Nice jawline and eyes. Anyway, after oogling for several minutes, it was time to descend the mountain by cable car. All 52 of us, and two Japanese ladies got into the car and we began our slow descend. We came to a station where everyone got off and we boarded smaller gondolas for the rest of the ride down the back of the mountain. By this time, the sun was beginning to shine through the clouds. Switzerland can indeed get very hot, because of the strong sunshine. Anyway, we passed the first gondola station, where we didn't alight, and continued on to the last stop at Lucern, where Peter was waiting for us. We spotted him standing by the bus with another coach driver and waved. From Mt. Pilatus, we went back to the city centre, and began our hunt for Swiss army knives! My dad has lost 4 in his life time, and I've never owned one, until now of course.
We had scouted the shops the night before to make shopping easier. All prices were the same so we could just pop into any store to get one. We grabbed an apfelstrudel, which is apple strudel (kinda like McD's apple pie but fresh and not artificially flavoured) for lunch and ate that with what we had packed from the hotel breakfast. Then as we walked towards the hotel, we window shopped along the way. We eventually settled on a shop close by the hotel and spent some time choosing our army knives. I got the tinkerer while my mum and dad got the sportsman and () respectively. We also got some souveniers to take back home but we had to rush back to the hotel for our next excursion out to the countryside, so we paid and left the knives back for them to be engraved with our names. (Much excites!)
So, we went to Engelberg located behind the mountains, in a lush valley. Engelberg meant Angel Mountain. The journey took us up the mountain through hairpin roads, which Peter manouvered through effortlessly. I keep forgetting that he's been doing this for 8 years. In Engleberg, we were greeted with three horse carriages - one with two horse power, and the others with one. We sat in the one with one horse and took a slow ride through the countryside. The air was amazingly fresh, crisp and clean. There was barely any rubbish in sight too! The skies were clear and bright, with fluffly clouds to provide us with cooling weather. The horse ride was so slow, I was on the verge of falling asleep. Not to say that I didn't enjoy the trip, but I was quite worn out from the time in Mount Pilatus. We finally arrived at a farm where the lady owner served us 5 out of their 17 types of home made cheeses, some apple & orange juice, and some white wine. I had the apple juice. She also made us apfelstrudel, cheese pie, chocolate cake, thin slices of beef and salami and a potato cake thing. Everything was delicious! Her son even played us something on his accordian. Krizelle and I guessed his age to be between 17-19 as he was rather tall and sorta looked matured? Idk. Anyway, about 5 minutes before we departed for the bus, Krizelle and I rushed to the barn to pet one the only horse there. We then walked towards where all the coaches were, I quickly went to the toilet and unfortunately found a line, yet again for the ladies. I just cut queue and went in to wash my hands and got out, found my family in line, and took their backpacks back to the bus. I met up with two of the other tourers and we went into the bus together, where were were the only few ones. We had moved all the way to the front as not many joined this excursion. There, I had a little chat with Peter while waiting for everyone else to arrive.
From Engelberg, we went back to Lucern where we were dropped off at the hotel, and we went back to collect our knives. We almost bought some watches, but my mum couldn't find the one that appealed to her fancy so we walked back towards the chapel bridge for my grandma to take a picture. We ocassionally stopped by the many watch shops and always coming out empty ended. In the end, we didn't buy any watches. When we got back to the hotel, we were just in time for dinner. We dropped off our bags in our room and and went down for a three course meal. We were stuffed. I couldn't even finish my ice cream!
My parents then went out again to finish their Swiss Francs coins (as we can't change those into other currencies), while I went back to the room to shower and drink red wine we bought from a R&R in Italy. It took me nearly 15 bloody minutes trying to pull the cork out with my mum's army knife! Usually it should come out quickly, but this one was quite a challenge. I was huffing and red from trying to pull out the damn thing. Eventually the cork broke in half. I managed to get the corkscrew into the other half still stuck in the bottle neck and got it out before it fell in. It wasn't really great wine, but what would I know, I don't really like red wine to begin with. Peter suggested I try the white wine from Rhineland as their wine was sweet, since I like sweet drinks. I then settled down in bed and drank while watching CNN. It was the only english channel available on the tv. Halfway through the bottle, I stopped so my parents could drink some and went to bed. A while later, they came back from their evening out. I was still somewhat awake, albeit a little woozy. Anyway, I went to bed quite early.
We head to Paris for our last two nights of the tour. I'm feeling very reluctant to leave Europe and the tour as I've begun to grow attached to the entire group. I'd definitely love to meet up with them again one day