Europe 1987

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Europe 1987

I started the day with a pre-breakfast run around Rotsee, which exhausted me a little.  We had breakfast at 8:00am, and then drove into the centre of Lucerne at about 9:00am.

Our first stop was the Glacier Garden (Gletschergarten), a combined natural monument and local history museum located beside the Lion Monument, one of Lucerne’s landmarks.  The main features on display were glacial potholes, carved by the scouring action moving ice interacting with rounded rocks.  The deepest pothole was some 12 metres deep – quite impressive.   The Glacier Garden also had a mirror maze, which Liesl and Phillip loved – although I did wonder whether Phil might get brain damage as he repeatedly ran at full speed head-first into mirror after mirror after mirror thinking it might be the way through.

Following the Glacier Garden, we had a walk through the old part of Lucerne, including crossing the iconic wooden Chapel Bridge that was built in the 1300s and spans the Reuss (river) at an angle, with a tall stone tower about two-thirds the way across and with flower boxes lining its sides.

Then it was time for Mount Pilatus.  We returned to Hergiswil and took the rack railway up through the Laub Valley and the village of Ämsigen, a journey which was a totally enjoyable experience in itself.  Upon reaching the summit of Mount Pilatus, we had lunch and then walked to various vantage spots to enjoy the breathtaking views across the peaks and valleys of the Alps, notably including the dramatically situated Klimsenkapelle (Klimsen Chapel) white church building), and across to the city of Lucerne far below.

Three hours after setting out from Hergiswil, we had returned to the bottom of the rack railway line, and it was time to drive about 90 kilometres further to the south-west into “the real Switzerland” of alpine mountains, lakes and valleys of the Bernese Oberland, centred on our destination for the day, the beautiful town of Grindelwald, south-east of Interlaken.

I had been to Grindelwald on my way to the conference in Freiburg in 1984 with three other geographers.  On that trip, we had stayed in a zimmer (room) that we found by chance driving around Grindelwald to find accommodation (as we had not made any reservation).  I was so impressed with the room we had that I resolved that we would stay there as a family on this trip.  This time I had made a reservation, and having been there three years earlier, I had no trouble finding the familiar house in Terrassenweg, a street that runs parallel to the main street through Grindelwald at a higher level that affords great views south and west across the valley to the mountains and glaciers beyond.

Being a family, we were provided with a larger unit this time than the flat I shared in 1984, and we had a spacious area with several bedrooms looking to the south and west with fabulous views of the alpine peaks, glaciers, chalets and grassy slopes.  Our dining room looked straight out onto a glacier and a chairlift.  We were instantly impressed, especially as we had six nights booked here.  We headed off very happily to have dinner in the town of Grindelwald, down the steep hill beneath us.

Day 41

Lucerne to Grindelwald

Saturday 22 August 1987