Friday, July 17, 2015

Switzerland in a Day

Revisiting Rigi could also be called Switzerland in a day. Going to Rigi was one of our first excursions in September 2012. It's one of the lower mountains close to us, but from there we can see many others. It was time to go back, but without the car. We decided to travel on public transportation which allowed us to return via a different route.
we traveled in the wooden, open-air car

When we were going up the cog train to the peak of Rigi, it was clear some event was taking place. Since we could see plenty of people up ahead, we decided to get off one stop sooner than planned and investigate.

Schwingen mural on building

There was a huge Schwingen (Swiss wrestling) competition in progress!  We were able to recognize it from a distance having seen this sport previously, but certainly not of this magnitude. We'd seen a local competition. This one had three rings for wrestling and so many more spectators.

the prize cow

In typical Swiss fashion, there were people and animals in costumes and plenty of activity. Once we had a chance to soak in a bit of local color, we headed to the peak on foot. The path is mostly paved and when taken slowly, it's not too difficult. 

view back as we walk up - that's a lot of spectators

we're further away now

our destination - the summit

Rigikulm (summit) station
soaking in the view

thrilling or terrifying?

great day for parasailing and hang-gliding
After we were done watching the people floating in the sky, we went down the other side of the Rigi. It is possible to also go part way on a cable car, but we stayed on the cog train the entire distance. 

can't mistake which country we're in
Arriving at the foot of the Rigi in Vitznau, we took a boat ride across the lake to Luzern. As the boat was pulling in and ready for us to board, we were serenaded by alphorns. What an unexpected treat!


like my hat?

It was another warm day here - plenty of people were lakeside.

Luzern and its iconic bridge
they played when we left too
From Luzern, we took the train back to Horgen. Our outing included a mountain, cog train, option for cable car, hiking, boat ride with an unexpected taste of Swiss culture thrown in. I think that qualifies it as Switzerland in a day. It was a lot of fun. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Hiking may be the number one pastime in Switzerland. If it doesn't deserve the top spot, it is certainly in the top five. It's no wonder it's so popular: there are trails of all difficulty levels which are well marked and the views are a perfect reward for the effort. I do a fair amount of hiking with Tom on weekends or with other groups.

My dilemma is where to start and what to include. I'm going to start with a hike Tom and I took around year-end 2012. It's not the most spectacular of all we've done, but it's the first time we actually ventured out for the sole purpose of hiking this route rather than just walking the trails around our apartment.

Over the ensuing years, we will discover that Switzerland often has shelters and benches along their hiking trails. Very civilized.

The view is good from here, but let's climb up and see the views from above.
Tom also taking pictures

definitely worth the climb

we were up there!

The Zugerberg hike is one I've done twice. The first time was in January 2014 with a hiking group from ZIWA (Zurich International Women's Association). It is one that is actually labeled "winterwanderweg" or winter hike since some other trails are closed in the winter. We took a funicular from the town of Zug up to the trails. It was the first time I used my cleats (or spikes) that are put on over hiking boots. I was definitely glad to have them. 

Here I am with friends. Ann left last fall and sadly, Marisel will be leaving Switzerland August 1.

Wooden sculpture of alphorn player = love it!

This tiny building was full of crafts for sale - totally on the honor system. This is a very common practice here. 

bench placed where there is a view - notice there is no snow below
Tom and I headed back to this location in March 2015. Not all the trails were snowy, but the mountains were still snow covered.

cross country skier also out on the trails

This dog was definitely having a fun day out with his humans. He was carrying a chunk of snow, dropping it when it was presumably too cold, and then picking it up again. Later we saw the dog (not 100% sure it's the same dog) chasing after a remote control car driven by his people.
make it go again! pretty please?

(These snowy pictures have helped me cool off as I work on this blog in an unusually hot Switzerland without air conditioning.)

We've been up to Flumserberg twice for the cow race, but also opted to go for an easy hike in the area because it is so beautiful.

No cows up here today, but you never know what you will see. Someone taking his goats for a walk. Really?

cool wood carving with unknown purpose
cute hairdo
what looks like it could be a glacier is low clouds

For a warm weather outing, we took the train to Ilnau and hiked to the castle at Kyburg. From there, we took public transportation back to Horgen.
weeds or wildflowers?


what are you looking at?

Schloss Kyburg

Zoomed in to see all the activity around the bee house. Scary stuff for Tom!
 Very nice interior to explore as well.

chairs that are described below

overlooking the picnic area and gardens

Another warm weather destination, was along the Wallensee, one of Switzerland's many lakes. This excursion began with a train ride and then a ferry across the lake to our trail. 

grapes growing on the hillside

we will be where those people are eventually

We follow trail markers like these while hiking. Heading towards Weesen: estimate another 3 hours and 20 minutes
trying to keep cool in the shade

Hiking on a hot day, we were very glad that much of the trail was in the shade. 

Views like this keep us energized. We do not tire of them. 
plenty of waterfalls along the way

tiny chapel in the middle of nowhere

Trails are also marked by yellow diamonds. The green shield in the center indicates the Canton of St. Gallen. 
happened upon these ruins

more grapes

we love how the mountains seem to jut right out of the lake

The route was a challenge because the trail was rough in spots. I look like I'm dying here, but I'm just working hard going uphill. I was very glad to have my sticks along. 

we made it to Weesen!

Friends of ours and avid hikers told us about their favorite hike (earned that rating because of its beauty). We took their advice and were very pleased with what we found. The walking itself is very easy so in my mind barely qualifies as a hike, but it is long. On the Swiss routes, it is labeled hike 24. We drove to where we planned to end our walk and took a bus to our starting point. I couldn't resist snapping some pictures from the car before we got to our parking area!


I love the way red benches are placed along hiking paths. Such a great spot to stop for our picnic lunch. 

following 24

items for sale

Recently I went with a ZIWA hiking group to an area close to Horgen that after almost three years here I didn't know about! That's one of the benefits of going along on a trip someone else plans. I learn a lot! Good trails, waterfalls, bridges, ruins and caves besides good company! What's not to like?

Spring = babies!

Veronica, our leader, with Shirley and Eldor

nice spot for a picnic lunch

can you spot three bridges?

 It's hard to get decent pictures inside caves, but I tried.  

I think I should end here. As time passes, I could certainly add more, but this is long enough for one post! (or two or three?)  We won't live in Switzerland forever, but we are appreciating and being spoiled by its beauty while we are here. (but you can't spoil a good thing......right, Mom?)