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Scenic Switzerland

Once I stepped into the most populated city in the Central Switzerland, Lucerne, I immediately fell in love with the city. The ancient town mixed embedded within breathtaking mountainous panorama. The culture is more laid back as the locals value the quality of life.lucerne2

The most recognisable landmark in town is the Kapellbrücke, or known as the Chapel Bridge. The covered wooden footbridge bridge is one of Europe’s oldest wooden bridges and it was built across the Reuss River. The bridge is connected with its Water Tower (Wasserturm). It was not functioned as a water tower, but the name came from the fact that it is standing in the water.

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In the evening, the neighbourhood surrounding the river transformed into an exciting hang-out place. The restaurants and bars along the river side are always crowded by the locals and tourists who have their dinner or simply have a drink while enjoying the view. The whole settings slightly reminded me of Singapore’s Clarke Quay. 

Switzerland is about watches, swiss army knives and chocolate… The city centre is located just behind the river. There, shoppers can find the famous high-end Swiss branded watches (such as Tag Heuer, Rolex), boutiques, souvenir shops or cafes.

 

Another famous landmark is The Lion Monument. The dying lion statue was carved out of natural rock to honour the Swiss soldiers who were massacred during the French Revolution in 1972 at the Tuileries Palace in France. The Lion Monument is described by Mark Twain as the saddest and most moving rock monument.

The Lion Monument, the saddest and moving monument according to Mark Twain

The Lion Monument, the saddest and most moving monument according to Mark Twain

The most expensive restaurant in town

Old Swiss House, the most expensive restaurant in town

Just before you reached the Lion Monument, you will pass by this Old Swiss House, which is the most expensive restaurant in Lucerne. It is a family-owned Swiss restaurant that looks like a cottage from the outside but boasts a lavish decor inside. According to the review, their specialty, must-order menu is Weiner schnitzel.

Lucerne is stunning, a center of Swiss history and legend. It is a friendly and safe city, when you compare with other cities in Europe. Women can move almost anywhere at night free and carefree, adding another reason why the city is one of my favourite Europe destinations.

As the States has its Niagara Falls, Europe has its Rhein Falls. Although the size is not as magnificent as Niagara Falls, the Rhine Falls is the largest and the nicest waterfalls in Europe, located near Zurich, the capital of Switzerland.rhein3

Yes, Switzerland offers more than its Alps. Rhine Falls, with its 50 meters in width, a height of 23 meters, and its gushing water flowing rapidly over the cliff each second, it offers the visitors a stunning view of the cascading waterfalls.

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You can take a boat ride right up to the waterfall and if you want to you can even climb the steps in the centre of the waterfalls to look down from the top. We are able to view the waterfall from different positions: Schloss Laufen, Middle Island, and Schlossli Worth. I viewed from the Schloss Worth Castle where we can relax, order drinks and enjoy the view from a cafe/restaurant inside the castle.

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Schloss Worth Castle

The Rhein Falls located just 40 minutes from Zurich, makes the beauty is very accessible by car, bicycle and public transport. From the local bus station, it is only 10-15 minutes walk, or another option is to take trains. Alternatively you can take the route from Schaffhausen by boarding on the City Train (runs from April to October) or get on the bus from the Schaffhuasen main station.

Opening Hours: Daily

Website: www.rheinfall.ch

Admission: North bank – free admission ;  South bank (including Laufen Castle) – 5 CHF (regular), 3 CHF/person (group more than 20)

Going to Lucerne, Switzerland, I had my chance to travel up to the top of Mount Pilatus, 2132 meters above the sea level! It is a mountain overlooking Lucerne in the central part of Switzerland. Some of you might wonder, why don’t I go to Titlis instead? Titlis‘ location is not in the same direction of my road trip, so I went to Pilatus instead.

But, what are the differences between Mt Titlis and Mt Pilatus? Both are the mountains in the Urner Alps of Switzerland. What you’ll get up above the Titlis is the view with snow and ice quilting the soaring peaks all year-round. Pilatus (known to be haunted at its summit by a friendly dragon) is famous for its rocky but breathtaking views.

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The Alpnachstad

We took the travel up to the Pilatus by boarding one of the world’s steepest cogwheel railway at the gradient of 48%. Forget about the fact that the rail is more than 100 years. We arrived in Alpnachstad, the mountain’s base and rode the cogwheeled-train up the mountain. For those who are fit enough to hike up, the journey to the top takes over 5 hours in normal walking.

The cogwheeled-train uphill journey lasted for 30 minutes (downhill 40min). Take your time at 9km/h to enjoy the 4.6 kilometers scenic ride through meadows, tunnels. You will see some cattles too on the mountain-side. The ride operates from May to November. Another option is to take the 6 kilometers cable car ride, operating all year round (except for maintenance or during unfriendly weather). The cable car ride is divided into 3 sections: Kriens – Krienseregg (10 minutes panorama gondolas ride), Krienseregg – Fräkmüntegg (15 minutes panorama gondolas ride) and Fräkmüntegg – Pilatus Kulm (5 minutes aerial cableway ride).

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The scenic as seen from the cog-wheeled train

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Cattles on the mountain-side

Cattles on the mountain-side

 

At the top of the Pilatus, the mountain peak hotels offers the stays with a magnificent views and excellent restaurant. According to reviews, the hotel rooms are comfortable and you can experience to wake up refreshed with the unpolluted mountain air. Or you can enjoy lunch on the terrace, as Queen Victoria did. It is a definite worthy experience to wander around the summit to marvel at over 70 alpine peaks, listen to the spontaneous live band, or give the local beer a try at the self-serve mountain tap.

Live band performed at the top of Pilatus

Live band performed at the top of Pilatus

Souvenir shop and a snack bar

Souvenir shop and a snack bar

The view at the top is an absolutely fabulous on a clear day. The best time for this is during the summer month. I was lucky that the weather is friendly and sunny on that day. From the top at 2’312 meters above the sea level, Pilatus shows 360° takebreathing panaromic view on the Central Switzerland.

Website: http://www.pilatus.ch

More about Pilatus Hotel: http://www.pilatus.ch/en/hotel-pilatus-kulm

*Cogwheel operates from May to November *The aerial cable car operates the whole year, but might be cancelled during the poor or unsafe weather conditions.

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