Not enough hours in…Lucerne, Switzerland

After my third weekend of traveling to a big city, I was ready for a change of pace, a change of pace that came in the form of a $30 roundtrip flight to Switzerland. My friends booked their flights and Airbnb one night, then three days later I spontaneously booked my flight on my lunch break and the rest is history.

Dates: March 11 – March 13

In 5 words or less: Thank God I brought boots

Things I loved:

Our Airbnb host. Sweet Martin. He picked us up from the train station and drove us to his lovely home in a suburb (I think that’s what it would be?) called Wolhusen. He answered all our questions, emailed us to tell us it was “Ok to make party” because he “was young once too” and was all around super hospitable. He even helped us make a fire on Saturday night.

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The cruise/hiking package we bought. I believe the exact name was “Rigi Majestic Boat Tour” and damn, did it live up to the name. It consisted of a boat ride through Lake Lucerne, a train to the top of Mount Rigi, then a panoramic cable car ride back down to bottom. Once you were at the top, you could spend as much time as you wanted exploring, skiing, eating, hiking or tobogganing.

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Lake Lucerne was the definition of serene.
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Train up the mountain
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The top of the mountain was…white.

Tobogganing. My roommates had tobogganed in Oslo a few weekends back and had the time of their lives, so the opportunity to toboggan from the top of Mount Rigi (Rigi Kulm) was an offer I, the most easily-injured woman I know, simply could not refuse. It is at this moment that I must confess that as I sat on my sled at the top of the path, I quickly googled “how to ride a toboggan.” My confidence in my ability was boosted when I saw tiny toddlers boarding their toboggans, but my self esteem plummeted when these toddlers continued to zoom past me as I made my way down the mountain.

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(Note the small child in the background)

The adorable Korean women who wanted a picture with us. Tricks to getting this to happen? Look as American as possible.

My travel buddies. It’s always important to like the people you’re traveling with, but it felt even more important with all the travel/uncertainty/physical activity that was involved with this trip. These people nailed the easy-going travel game.

Things I would pass on:

Only being there for three days. Of course, you could say this about any city you visit. But this sentiment was heightened by the amount of travel we did just to get from the airport to the Airbnb and vice versa. You need an extra day to make it feel like you weren’t traveling the majority of the time.

Waiting until we got there to plan things. Luckily, with some poor Airbnb wifi and a lot of determination, we were able to scrape together a plan that resulted in an incredible day, but this could have easily not happened. I usually love flying by the seat of my pants when travelling, but when you’re someplace where 1. You want to do adventurous, outdoors things and 2. English is not primarily spoken, advanced planning is probably a good idea.

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Even the self-proclaimed master navigator was overwhelmed trying to plan the great Rigi excursion.

Staying in Wolhusen. As much as I loved Martin, staying in Lucerne would have been all-around easier and would have saved us a few hours of transportation. Also, the whole town of Wolhusen evidently shuts down after sunset, so there was truly nothing to do in the evenings.

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Kind of far from Lucerne, albeit adorable.

If I had one more day, I would have:

Gone to Mount Pilatus. When we were making our last-minute plans, Pilatus was a little too far and a little too expensive, but I would still love to go there. It is probably the most well-known mountain in this region, and it has 2 aerial cableways, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway and looks absolutely breathtaking.

Skied. I’ve never skied before in my life, and I don’t think it would end well, but I would love to be able to say that my first skiing experience/first broken leg experience was in the Swiss Alps.

Kayaked on Lake Lucerne. It was too cold to do this when we were there, but it would be a beautiful activity to do in the warmer months.

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Overall, this trip was incredible. I loved being outdoors and traveling up, down and around the mountain ranges. Sadly, there were no particularly extraordinary food experiences, but I suppose not every weekend trip has to consist of binge-eating local food. (Debatable.)

Party pants' European debut
Party pants’ European debut

Usually I spend my weekends wishing the weather was nicer, but I wouldn’t trade this eerie fog for the world.

Au revoir, Lucerne.

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