Woke up really early to catch the train from Innsbruck to Zurich to Lucerne, it took about 5 hours. Headed straight to the tourist information office at the train station to get some information on the city and Mt. Pilatus. They were extremely helpful, got a whole bunch of brochures and maps. They even have a webcam of Mt. Pilatus, so they could tell us if it was a good day to go or not. We checked into the budget hotel and dropped off our things. Walked through the Chapel Bridge, a covered wooden bridge with several illustrated scenes of Swiss history. With our Eurail pass, we were able to ride the ferry around Lake Lucerne for free. The lady at the tourist office recommended a 2 hour trip to Weggis.
The ferry was pretty cool, but it was a bit cold sitting on the outside. I didn't want to get sick, so I only sat outside long enough to get some good pictures. It was a kind of foggy so my pictures didn't come out great either. Made it to Weggis, which was a was pretty small town and we didn't have much time to explore so we hopped back onto the next ferry heading back to Lucerne. This time we got to ride back on a paddle boat, which was cool. Got back to town and looked for a place to have dinner. Everything was really expensive, even with the exchange rate in my favor.
Next day we went back to the tourist information office to see if it would be a good day to go up to Mt. Pilatus.
Ferry on Lake Lucerne
It was going to be a perfect sunny day with the fog clearing up by the afternoon for a great view of Lake Lucerne. We purchased out Golden Pass ticket, which took care of th cogwheel ride up, the gondola ride down, and the bus back to the city. Our Eurail pass covered the train or ferry ride to the cogwheel station. We chose to take the train because it was faster and we already rode the ferry yesterday. Alphanatch is where the world's steepest cogwheel railway is located. The cogwheel was on a 45 degree angle and took about 30 minutes to reach the top. It was a fun ride up, giving us a great view of our surroundings. We finally reached the top and the view was absolutely amazing. The fog hadn't cleared yet, so you could see the thick layer covering the valley.
There were 5 different trails that you could hike to the various view points. We started with a medium trail that lead up to Esel. I must admit that it was a pretty steep hike, I had to take a break in between. It was totally worth it, the view was even more amazing up there. It was a perfect 360 degree panorama view of the Alpine range. We spent a good amount of time just taking in the view, the fog started to clear and we could make out the lake and it's surroundings. Had some lunch before we tackled the rest of the trails, would have been cheaper to bring our own lunch. After lunch we took the easy trail through the Rock Gallery (Dragon Path). It was a tunnel with a few view points and plaques that told various dragon legends along the way.
It was pretty interesting, but the views weren't as pretty. We managed to finish all 5 trails, they weren't too bad/difficult. They're all worth hiking, all with amazing views. Even managed to catch a Alphorn and yodeling performance, it was awesome. We caught the gondola back down, it was a pretty fast ride down. We had a little bit of trouble finding the bus stop, luckily we found some people heading in the same direction. Once we made it back to Lucerne, we walked around some more and checked out some sites. We walked across the Spreuer Bridge, which was another covered bridge that had illustrations depicting the "Dance of Death." Then we made our way to the Lion Monument (dying Lion of Lucerne), which is suppose to be a world famous monument. This monument was pretty large, carved out of the side of a mountain. It was actually quite beautiful, and also sad.