Rigi: The Queen of the Mountains

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 2.18.39 PMOn a clear day in Zürich, here on the Swiss Plateau, we can see the northern end of the Pre-Alps. (Before we moved here I had assumed that the entire country was Alpine. Now I know better). I’d thought about going up to Mt. Rigi on many occasions, but it helps to have good weather at the right time, and those two things came together on Sunday. It also helps to have an impending deadline, like moving away.

One can reach Rigi Kulm (the high pointIMG_1954 with the tv tower), from two sides. We chose the Classic Round Trip from Luzern which starts on a boat. We had gotten up early enough to take the first trip starting at 8:15 (leaving Zürich at 7:00) when lines aren’t quite as long. From the Viznau port, we jumped on the Vitznau-Rigi Bahn, the highest standard gauge railroad in Europe, built in the late 1800s.

IMG_1999Soon we were standing almost at 5900 ft. with magnificent views over Lake Lucerne (known here at the Four Forest States Lake – Vierwaldstättersee) and Lake Zug. Clouds were swirling around a bit, but soon cleared for a complete view. We could also see Mt. Pilatus, another place on our to-see list.

After a stop for coffee (of course there’s a hotel and restaurant at the top, this IS Switzerland!) overlooking the Swiss Plateau and towards the Alps, we took a short hike down to the next train station, enjoying more views and seeing more cows.

The train took us down to Rigi Kaltbad which is a resort area. Despite its name as Cold Bath, it appears to have hot tubs. From Kaltbad we caught the Cable Car (Luft Seilbahn) down to Weggis where we caught another boat back to Luzern. Along the lake were many steam ships, and our captain took the time to tell us about each one we passed.

I will go back to Rigi some day and do more hiking since there are 120 km of trails.


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