The breakfast at the Gasthus Zum Hirschen hotel in Imst was amazing, practically anything you could want for breakfast. Imst is a little off the beaten path, so finding someone who speaks English or understands our pronunciation of the few words we know in German is a little more difficult. While chatting with the girl cooking the eggs, Jeff learned that she had a friend who lived in our city for a year, small world. As we were checking out, there were a pair of hiking boots and a backpack behind the counter. Turns out the daughter of the hotel manager was taking some guests up into the mountains for a hike.
We’ve been watching the weather forecasts in Switzerland and it appeared that we had a small window of good weather to see the mountains before a front was to come in and shroud the potential mountain views. We are hoping to see Mt. Pilatus (or Pilates as Deana calls it) and get a day in the Jungfrau region.
The weather from the previous day cleared as we headed to Switzerland. At times the sun was obscured by the tunnels that seem to be built in this area like we build overpasses at home. In particular, one tunnel was 12 km long. Absolutely amazing.
As we neared Luzern we started seeing some signs that on the autoroute that had Luzern crossed out. Finally when “Sarah” our GPS voice suggested we turn off for Luzern, there was an orange sign suggesting that the detour was to keep going straight. After a few conflicting signs we pulled off at a gas station and asked for some clarification. The regular route had been closed for a large construction project so a new route was suggested on some secondary roads. Jeff brought Sarah up to speed and she was happy to direct us through some beautiful Swiss countryside.
We had wanted to have some flexibility in our schedule, so like Salzburg and Munchen we had not booked a room in Luzern.
Deana went into Tourist Information (TI) at the train station to locate a room and look into tickets to make a trip up Mt. Pilatus. Once she had the hotel booked, the agent asked if we needed directions and Deana told her she just needed the address (for the GPS). At that point the lady figured out that we had a GPS and commented that “a GPS is a real marriage saver”. We hadn’t really thought of it from that perspective, but she made a good point.We dropped our bags at the hotel and then we grabbed a bus to for the gondola ride up Mt. Pilatus. After the first leg of the gondola ride we walked a short distance for another “SommerRodelbahn” (summer luge) ride. It was a more open course than the one we rode outside of Salzburg on our way to Hallstadt, but still lots of fun.
The final gondola ride was a little more exciting as there was only one tower enroute to the top. Once on top we had an opportunity to walk along the ridge at the top of the mountain and found some mountain goats as well. Hundreds of feet below us we could make out cows grazing in the field, but more distinctive was the sound of the cow bells ringing. We also watched as a group of paragliders took off from a grassy slope beside the loading ramp for the funicular railway. One of the gliders almost didn’t make it on his first attempt and needed some assistance from a colleague to get lined up for a second attempt. The weather was beginning to close in, so their speedy launches became more critical.
We boarded the world’s steepest cograilway for the decent to the valley. Due to the constant slope of the tracks the cars are built at an angle to provide a more comfortable ride. Once we reached the valley we hopped on a regular train trip back to Luzern.
We had dinner along the river that empties Luzern See and overlooking the famous Kapelbrucke walking bridge. As the sun set the clouds disappeared and we had a clear view of Mt. Pilatus.
The pop machine in our hotel was a little different in that it served up water, pop and lager.