I think our travel formula has stayed the same since the hubby and I started traveling together back in college. We always look for places based on the time we have, how much it’s going to cost (and what we can afford or want to pay) and some kind of weird or wonderful thing one of us heard about. Now that we have kids we still try to look for travels based on the same criteria. Switzerland with kids on our Europe tour became a stop because we wanted to see the hubby’s cousin who had lived there for a long time AND we wanted to ride a funicular.
We first heard about these when we were reading a Babar book (I think it’s in this one if you’re curious) a long time ago and I started to do a little research. There is one near Sacre Couere in Paris and we rode that one, but we wanted to try a longer ride. And I’m not sure if a cogwheel railway is the same as a funicular (please feel free to let me know if you do) but they look the same to me. And apparently the steepest cogwheel train is in Mt. Pilatus, Switzerland so I decided that when we went to Switzerland, we would definitely ride it.
We only had a few days in Switzerland so we stayed in Zurich at the EMA hotel, which was walkable to the railway station and some neat sites which made it pretty convenient.
The hotel also had an incredible breakfast that was delivered to our room daily!
We hung out with the hubby’s cousin on one of the days and it was so nice to just unwind and let the guys run around and play soccer in the park near the canal and it felt like we could pretend we were living in Switzerland. Sometimes when we travel we’re so busy trying to take in all the sites we forget how wonderful it feels to just play.
We ate some raclette and fondue and we even found a Spaghetti Factory. (Totally not the same as our American Old Spaghetti Factory,but we definitely went there because it’s name made us giggle.)
To get to the railway in Mt Pilatus we found out that we would have to get to Lucerne which is about an hour drive away from Zurich and I wanted to do this relatively stress-free. We decided that for all the variables involved in this trip, it was the easiest just to book a tour and we just did this at the tourism booth at the train station. And now that we know we ARE IN LOVE WITH LUCERNE (because hindsight is 20/20) I think we could have even spent a couple days here instead of Zurich and rented a car to get around. But the boys are under 6 years old so they were free on the tour and it was so nice having someone else be responsible for the time tables and driving and we just sat back and relaxed.
The tour took us to see the lion monument in Lucerne and it was truly one of the saddest sculptures I’ve ever seen.
We also got to walk around the city for a bit and it was such a gorgeous place. I may have taken a million swan pictures while we walked.
We loved that we could hear cowbells ringing when we passed over some pastures with animals grazing. The boys saw some awesome playgrounds from this ride too and decided they wanted to come back WITHOUT a tour so they could spend some more time.
There was another tram ride after this one and then we arrived at Mount Pilatus. It was absolutely spectacular and I want to come back and stay at the hotel here, the Hotel Pilatus-Kulm.
I can’t imagine a cooler place to stay, especially since trams and railways are the only way to get here.
It was definitely steep and I was a little terrified.
Thankfully, this cogwheel train does not go very fast. We loved that we could open the windows and we saw some alpine ibex as we headed down.
So our trip to Mt. Pilatus and Lucerne was definitely successful and I’m really glad we figured out how to make it work with our itinerary. It was so memorable and beautiful and it’s one of the places that the boys keep talking about now that we’re home.