After so long in the cities, we wanted to see a bit of the countryside and mountains. This part of the trip would be K&K's honeymoon. We took another couple of trains to Switzerland and ended up in Lucerne (or Luzern in German). It is located in the middle of the country.

As usual, our first stop in the city was at our hotel to check in and get oriented. We stayed at the Hotel Drei Konige Fortunately, we had printed out the location of the hotel using MapQuest before we left. There was no way we could pronounce the name of our hotel!

We all grabbed a quick bite and had our first mug of Swiss beer. We also found out very quickly that we couldn't pronounce any word in Swiss language!

In the background is the Kapellbrucke mit Wasserturm. Or, in English, The Chapel Bridge and the stone water tower that may have once been a lighthouse or lucerna (which is where the town got its name). It was built in 1,333 AD and is 7,875 feet long.

We spent the next day on the most incredible journey!

In the morning, we had a short bus ride (about 2,000 feet) to the  smaller gondolas or cable cars. They took us up over 2,630 feet. Then we switched to the bigger gondolas and went up another 2,300 feet or more to reach the tourist area at 6,930 feet.

We had reached the top of Platus Kulm - a huge mountain on one side of Lucerne. At the top, are hiking trails, hotels, restaurants, and some of the best views you have ever seen. We climbed a couple of the trails to about 7,000 feet.

We got to watch a cliff soarer take off from the mountain. It was spectacular! He would have a wonderful ride down the mountain!

Then we road the the cogwheel train down the mountain. It has a 48% grade which makes it the steepest railway in the world! In fact, the train descends so steeply that the railcars themselves have seats that are on separate levels - much like riding on the top rung of a wide ladder and then having the next set of seats on the fourth or fifth rung down, and so on. The cogwheel train has to use gears or cogs underneath it to keep it on the tracks. The cogs actually pull the train up, and take most of the force going down to keep it moving slowly.

When we reached the bottom, we took the ferry around Lake Lucerne, making pickups and drop offs, until we reached our hotel.

The next day, we got onto another train traveling to the southern part of Switzerland in Tasch. This is a little town where everyone leaves their cars (if you have one) before you can go up to Zermatt and the Matterhorn. From Tasch you have to take ... guess what!? ... a train!

Our hotel was was lovely! The people of the Tascher Hof LOVED K&K!
They thought it was funny when when K&K climbed up their window to help us check in. 



After you get off the train to Zermatt, which is another 670 feet up into the mountains, you'll find a large but quaint town filled with the sounds and sights of Switzerland. Only electric cars and shuttles drive these streets.

And yes, you may even be told to clear the streets to let the goats pass! There is nothing like the sound of the goat bells ringing as they approach. We have cows wearing bells at home, but we had never heard anything like this! It was LOUD! At this point we were 5,320 feet above sea level - about a MILE up! And we had not even started yet!


Before going any further up the mountain, we all stopped for refreshments. That cloudy space behind us is the Matterhorn mountain. Read on to find out why the Matterhorn can't be seen in the picture.  

K&K got bored - Bob and Amy met some Americans at the restaurant who watched Virginia Tech's football team! (That is where we are from!) And we talked a lot. So, Kimi decided to climb the flag pole, and Kini followed. No, you don't see them both ... because Kini fell off! It was pretty cold! It cost us $10 in Swiss Francs to find a person willing to rescue her off  the roof of a lower building she fell on!  She was okay although a bit damp from the snow - actually, she thought it was kind of fun! Baaaad Kini!

Eventually (after a bit of shopping), we decided to take another gondola to the top of another mountain that is very close to the base of the Matterhorn - it was called the Kline Matterhorn. K&K had never been this high in their lives! When we told them that the gondolas we were going to be riding in were going to take us over 5,780 feet above where we were, they started to crawl all over the windows with excitement! Our total height would be 11,100 feet above sea level!!! We got to see an ice flow - a place where ice has been carving the trenches in the mountains for billions of years! We even saw people tethered together hiking the ice flow! That looked scary!

The first place we went to was the Ice Pavilion. It is a BIG tunnel and cave dug into the permanent snow and ice on the mountain. Remember we were visiting at the end of JUNE!
We heard that it was very hot in Virginia!

Everyone had almost all the clothes they brought to Europe on. It was COLD! Amy is walking down the ice tunnel to the ice cave.

This area stays frozen all year around. Here is a flower arrangement that was frozen many many years ago and carved into a sculpture.

This eagle was carved out of ice too. As long as it stays in this ice cave, it will NEVER melt. Your grandchildren's grandchildren will be able to see it just as it is now!

Bob and Amy came out of the ice cave and found themselves in a blizzard on the Kline Matterhorn!

If you have x-ray eyes, you can see a spectacular view of the 14,692 foot high Matterhorn in the background. It was "only" 3,592 feet above where we were!

Shortly thereafter, the Swiss ski patrol closed the mountain for the blizzard. Did we mention that we now had to ride those gondolas back down the mountain? In hail, snow, wind, and white-out conditions? Yea - it was a bit bumpy and scary!



When we got back to Zermatt, we bought a bottle of wine and decided to go to the park and relax. Then we met Josey and her Daddy. Josey was the biggest dog we had ever seen. At first, K&K dug down into Bob and Amy's backpacks to hide. But Josey was a big sweetheart and they decided to come out to meet her.

Her daddy was waiting to take some pictures of a tourist group that had not shown up - so we started to talk. He was kind enough to take our picture with Josey and (although you can't see it for the blizzard on the mountain), the Matterhorn is directly behind us. Josey was wonderful & so was her Daddy!
We have searched the Internet for the company name but have not had much success - we hope we have listed the right one:


We left Zermatt on the Glacier Express for an incredible 7 1/2 hour ride through some of the most wonderful mountain scenery in Switzerland. The train had panoramic railcars which means that it had huge glass windows up and over the top of the roof. You were able to see so much! During our journey, we would be going over 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and across the Oberalp Pass at 6,670 feet.

This house, just like many of the houses we saw, had roofs that were made of slate. We thought they very nice.

To see our travel route, go to
To see a map of how high and low the train would go, click on


After getting off the Glacier Express and spending the night in St. Moritz, we hopped on our last train to Zurich. It was a gorgeous day to take a lazy stroll and feed the swans. Kini and Kimi saw a couple of the swans with one of their big black webbed feet sticking out of the water. The question was, "Why?" After much discussion, Bob and Amy decided that the swans were warming their feet. The water and the air were a bit chilly, and as it got warmer, the swans stopped.

I think the swans liked the popcorn we bought for them. It is luck that Bob is quick, or they would have gotten to taste his fingers too!


We had a wonderful time and a grand adventure. But after all that traveling it was sure nice to get home!

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