misspotter: miss potter at school (Default)
On the 27th, I had an extremely cranky and more-blind-than-usual morning because I woke up with mild conjunctivitis in my right eye, which made it impossible to wear contacts. So I had to settle for looking like a bespectacled blob (because of all the layers, including the money pouch, underneath my jumper). But I'm on holiday, which means I refuse to feel self-conscious. Except when I'm on Skype...

We had to rush breakfast a little because we had to be on the bus by 7:40 for the long drive to Lucerne. 

Swiss scenery has to be seen to be believed. It really looks like a postcard, with snow-capped mountains and roofs, sprawling lakes, frosty trees, waterfalls, rocky rivers, and so on. And one of the most interesting things about the drive is that you have to go through tunnels that go on for kilometres (the longest was 16km), and on the other side, the weather is often completely different. Before we went into the 16km tunnel, it was snowing, and after we came out, it was clear. And then after the next tunnel it was raining. 

Switzerland uses Francs, which are supposedly about the value of an Australian or US dollar. We went out for lunch and a medium salad plate cost 9.50 CHF. Okay...considering I pay about that at Stockmarket at uni, that's not a disaster. But then at night we went to our hotel bar. Cocktails...17 CHF. Well, looks like Switzerland will be my alcohol-free days. And apparently caffeine-free days, since my parents have instituted a coffee ban on me. Alcohol ban on my brother and coffee ban on me. 

Dinner was in a restaurant about 10 minutes walk from our hotel which included a salad buffet. And an apple strudel for dessert! After dinner we browsed Casa Grande, which sold Swiss army knives, as my brother was keen on them. I actually picked one up too - a tiny blue one called the "manager" with a bottle opener, nail file, scissors, screwdriver, tweezers and a few other things I will probably not use. But it's so cute! 

Anyway, on our second day in Lucerne, we were supposed to go to Mount Pilates. I mean...Pilatus. But at 9am it was closed due to unsafe conditions, so after seeing the very sad "Lion of Lucerne" we were told to go into the city centre and amuse ourselves for an hour and a half to see if conditions would improve. We wandered around to the concert hall (which was unfortunately closed) where a Pirates of the Caribbean symphony performance was happening...tomorrow night >_<

Oh, and there were a LOT of swans. Giant swans! With highly flexible necks that defied the laws of vertebral fusion! 

Mum and I quickly found a clothing store with big sales where we found 29CHF blazes and 15CHF jeans. We also picked up our Swiss army knives, which we'd had engraved (mine says "Ravenclaw" because it is blue, and it is kind of like a claw). When we got back to the bus, we were told that Mount Pilates was closed, but that Mount Titlis was open. It is significantly higher than Mt P though, at 3000m, so some of us were admittedly sort of puzzled. Still, we got on the bus and headed out to Ingleburg where the mountain was situated. 

Gradually, the carpet of snow became thicker. We ended up walking through slush (and elbowing through skiers, some of whom were half my height) to get to our cable car ride. We got the most mindblowing views from our cable car: houses looking as if they had been dusted with icing-sugar, skiers looking like ants, and the alps extending as far as we could see. We had to change from a 6-person to a 30-person car about halfway up, and then to a "rotating cable car" for the last portion of the journey. It was -12C and quite windy at the top! 

We had about an hour of free time at the top of the mountain. Firstly, we headed to the glacier cave, which had walls of ice and few ice sculptures. Then my brother (and his newfound friend) and I headed outside to roll in the snow. It was knee-deep and of powdery consistency which made a snowball fight somewhat difficult. Still, we made some snow angels, attempted a snowman, and went sliding down the hill on our butts. It wasn't easy to do as my glasses kept fogging up, and the snow got into the gap between my jacket and gloves. But it was so worth it!

We came inside the complex again and headed for the restaurant to have a quick hot chocolate before we had to catch the three cable cars down to the ground again. Man, Swiss hot chocolate. **sigh**

We then were treated to a carriage ride through the village of Engelburg, where Mt Titlis is located. Our horse had bells attached, which made it even more Christmassy. We also had blankets in our carriage to keep us warm. People on the street were waving to us, and one of the ladies in our tour group suggested we give them a "royal wave". I'm not usually a fan of horses, but this was a really good way to see the village - the cobblestone streets, quaint shops, easy snow slopes, and chalets quickly. 

After the ride, we disembarked at a dairy farm where we had cheese, cheese pie, gingerbread and schnapps served to us by a farmer and her very cute kids. We got to meet and feed her cows too! 

Then it was back to the bus, and back to our hotel, where my family unanimously decided to have a quiet night. Tomorrow we're off to Paris, the last stop of our tour, and I can't wait, especially for the Moulin Rouge! 

February 2013

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