I had the privilege of visiting Lucerne and Mt. Rigi in 1993. It was the quintessential Swiss experience—one which still lingers with me. Lucerne is located on the northern end of Lake Lucerne. Surrounded by a medieval wall, the turreted buildings and famous covered bridge, Kapellbrϋcke, make Lucerne a pleasure to visit. In fact, it was so charming, I was content just walking around town, and felt no need to buy anything but a coffee and pastry.
After enjoying a stroll around Lucerne, make sure to visit nearby Mt. Rigi. Something unique about Mt. Rigi is that there is a train going all the way to the summit! It is a wonderful ride, and the scenery is breathtaking on the way up as well as at the summit. After a ride up, I and my companions hiked down Mt. Rigi. Make sure and wear comfortable shoes if you chose to do this; the hike is steep. I still hear my Swiss hostess exclaiming, “Die Sona bludet” (Sona is bleeding) when I showed her my torn-open, blood blisters.
If you are lucky enough (as I was) you could be treated to a rest area on the way down Mt. Rigi where an alpenhorn or alpenhorns are playing, and a hot coffee with a shot of the good stuff is served (by good stuff I think you know that I mean alcohol—what alcohol in particular, I am still unclear to this day).
All the way down Mt. Rigi were light brown cows with dewy, soft, expressive, and somewhat imploring eyes. The sound of cowbells is to me the sound of Mt. Rigi. I don’t know how the Swiss and Switzerland do it—though a path has been traversed numerous times, it can somehow appear as if you are the first visitor there—pristine and untouched. The same is true of Swiss cities—both the French-speaking and German-speaking. It is as if a centuries-old place was just built recently—neat as a pin and ever inviting. Another wonderful thing about Switzerland is that it has something to offer every season of the year. World-class skiing, idyllic countryside and towns, and friendly residents beckon year-round.