Mount Pilatus is a 2,128 m high mountain in Switzerland, overlooking the gorgeous town of Lucerne. With two days to spare in Lucerne back in August during our spontaneous six day Swiss adventure, we couldn’t miss out on experiencing this incredible landmark. Buffet breakfast demolished and suitcases packed, one again, we caught the early morning train to Alpnachstad station, which sits at the base of the mountain. The train journey was absolutely stunning with endless Swiss scenery surrounding us, and when you leave the train at the other end, the fresh air and sheer silence of the mountains around you is like something you’d see in a movie.
We took the world’s steepest (fact) Cogway up to the top, which took around an hour. This tram was no joke. The vertical angle at which we were ascending was marginally terrifying and if you happened to lean a little too far out of the window, you would without a doubt be toast. But the views, the snow patches and the cows complete with traditional bells made it the traditional Swiss experience that I’d hoped for.
At the top it was a combination of icy cold and, when the breeze stopped, searingly hot from the sun above us, which at this point was far closer to us that usual, given the height of this mountain. There were a number of viewpoints to venture up so it’s no surprise that I took a good few hundred photos on this one day alone, but in all seriousness, it’s worth every ounce of effort. Lucky for us the fog from the previous day had cleared, and so apart from the odd cloud that literally hit you in the face as it drifted by, it was crystal clear.
Our lunch stop was complete with entertainment in the form of horn players (if that’s the correct term!?) which was the most surreal thing. Where do I sign up for that job? We didn’t have too long up at the top as we had a flight to catch at 6pm back in Zürich, so we embarked on a ‘quick’ walk up to the highest point. This walk would have been quick if it wasn’t for three minor set backs. One, our footwear. It turns out Adidas Gazelle’s aren’t meant for mountainous walking. Two, the rocky terrain, which was placed beautifully next to a considerably large drop with nothing in the way of fence protection. Three, our suitcases. Yes, we are the two idiots that took two mini suitcases up a mountain. What else are you meant to do when you’re going from your hotel, to a mountain top, to an airport? Luckily we had enough change to stick one in a locker, but the other had to come with, much to the joy of the carrier (aka Darryl) and the people that it almost tripped up. Regardless of these set backs we made it just in time, and it was quite breathtaking. Literally, because of the altitude.
We grabbed a quick ice cream, as you do, and headed back down the mountain via the cable cars. First, the Panorama Gondala, which was scarily fast and dropped metres in seconds. Next, the Aerial Cableway, which was far more serene and meant we got a cable car to ourselves for about twenty minutes. That said, we screwed it up rather majestically and got off at the wrong stop (how do you even do that on a mountain?). So, suitcases and all, we had to peg it in a desperate attempt to catch up with our cable car which at this point was about to shoot off the platform into thin air once again. We caught it, fyi, so it’s all good.
We were so sad that this was our last day in Switzerland, but what a way to finish an incredible trip? Well, that was until we ended up spending seven hours in Zürich Airport due to a five hour plane delay. Then my mood changed slightly. But looking back it was just another memory to add to our travels, with a rather nice £450 compensation cheque from Easy Jet to soften the blow. Until next time, Switzerland!