Despite a lateish night last night we set the alarms for 6:30 am again this morning. Our slumbers were undisturbed and we arose refreshed. The lake at Luzern needed to be overcome in some way, north or south. The route to the north is quite long and involved. The route to the south is shorter and more interesting. So this morning we set off in a southerly direction towards Buochs in the sun. We ate no breakfast but bought some croissants on our way. Luzern was looking magnificent and the many cyclists and pedestrians give a really vibrant feeling. Pedestrians and cyclists are obviously very welcome in Luzern.
Luzern in the morning sun
Getting out of Luzern was quite easy. The footpath signs began quite near to the town centre and were very frequent. The early start meant that , although the sun was warm, walking was very pleasant. The views of Luzern and its lake were slightly obscured by haze but not enough to spoil our enjoyment.
The hills are very close and we were soon out of the city
We did a big loop around Luzern in order to avoid the noise of rush hour but retuned to a suburb so that we could cross the valley and go up the other side. We went slightly astray here as the path was closed due to road works. By going astray we passed the start of the cable car which goes up to the top of Mount Pilatus. We thought about the need to get to Buochs and all that practical stuff for about a minute and went for the cable car ride.
The sign to the cable car was irresistable
The steps in the picture actually go to a church but this is where the path to the cable car goes until the works are completed. The initial ride is in two sections by means of little gondolas for four people. We shared our gondola with a local lady who was going for a stroll. Having just enough German for a chat passed the time very nicely as we looked at the toboggan runs and other stuff laid out for us to see below.
We arrived at, what we thought was the top and had a look around before deciding to return to continue strolling. At that moment a bloke turned and looked upwards and we could see two large cable cars going up and up and up, from below it looked like the cars were climbing a vertical face. This looked to good to miss and this last bit was a terrific ride as it passed over narrow a ridge with a huge drop and a view of a chapel perched on the side. At the top we found a stunning view an hotel, bars and some chaps playing alpen horns dressed in traditional costume. We also spotted the steepest rack and pinion railway in the world, paradise.
Steepest rack and pinion railway in the world
From above the cable car journey didn’t look quite so steep although an Australian bloke asked me if we had to make the return journey.
Cable car on the way up Mt Pilatus
We were dressed in just tee shirts, shorts or skirt and it felt very warm. I tried to imagine how warm it would be at the top of a 7,000 ft mountain in the UK, even in July.
The hills were a;live to the sound of alpen horns
After a fabulous few hours, including a short climb up to one of the peaks, we had to return to earth in order to carry on strolling to Buochs.
Back to earth again and onward to Buochs
The stroll was much as before, lovely scenery, plants and on one occasion we passed a couple practising duets on the alpen horn. The sound of the horns carried for miles, as it is supposed to do, and sounded wonderfully warm and mellow.
Which way do we go now?
We knew that we would arrive in Buochs at a later time than we had planned but hoped that we would be able to get some accommodation organised. We didn’t need the accommodation for that night as we intended to return to Luzern.
We arrived at the bottom of a hill with steps leading upwards to a sharp bend, then to another bend, then to another, then to, then …………..
When we got to the top we agreed that it was the longest continuous up tiddly up up we had ever encountered. We were very glad that there was no one about at the top and that we were in a wood as we needed desperately to cool off.
Steps going up and up and up
As we approached Buochs the valley is quite narrow and holds a river, a footpath, a cycleway, an ordinary road and a motorway. On the motorway signs we could see our next targets. It is sometimes very hard to believe that we have walked every step of the way and that we are well over halfway now to the end.
The next, and last, boat back to Luzern was due at 8:25 pm so we ate a delicious supper at a lake side kiosk and sat and waited.
Buochs, paddle wheeler back to Luzern
The journey back to Luzern was a magical experience as the sun gradually started to set over the hills, only to return again as we rounded a massive mountain and turned west.
So instead of strolling on day 114 we shall take the train to the start of the steepest rack and pinion railway in the world and go up Mount Pilatus again and climb a few more pinnacles.
The map looks a little odd today as I forgot to turn off the GPS in the cable car. The distances include the straight up and down cableway.