Travels are many a times inspired by stories from fellow travelers or by swoon-worthy images of a place. For me, it was both. So when my neighbor suggested that I visit Mount Rigi in Switzerland on my Euro trip, I immediately went home and looked it up on the internet. Almost a month later, I was standing on the summit of Mount Rigi.
Queen of the mountains, as Mount Rigi is popularly known, is a mountain massif surrounded by three lakes; lake lucerne, lake Zug and lake Lauerz. To reach the top of Mount Rigi, we had to take a boat cruise on lake lucerne and then take a toy train up the mountain. A short climb of fifty odd steps then takes you to the summit.
We reached Lucerne at around 11.30 a.m. and when we got to the pier for the ferry, I saw that it was foggy all around. The weather was cloudy and once on the boat, there was hardly any visibility. I had a strong feeling that the panoramic view of the three lakes from the summit would elude me that day.
I took solace in the fact that the trip to Mount Rigi was at least free of cost; courtesy our Swiss rail pass.
Important Tip: If you have a Swiss rail pass, then the trip to Mount Rigi is free of cost. The trip includes a boat cruise and a toy train ride. Personal expenses like refreshments on the cruise are not included. While buying the pass, just have a look at the benefits on offer. This did hold true in 2016, so i am guessing, it would be applicable even today.
It was cold on the deck outside but I couldn’t stop staring at the waters. Up close, they looked a luminescent green and were so clear that you could see the bottom of the lake throughout the journey.
It was almost an hour to our stop.
A toy train was waiting for us. We started moving steadily and it was an uneventful climb for the first twenty minutes. Suddenly there was a collective gasp of excitement from the crowd and everyone was trying to peek through the window. Jostling for space, I somehow managed to get my head out of the window.
I was taken aback by what I saw. There were these towering snow clad peaks emerging from the clouds, their peaks looking like boats bobbing over the sea. It was ethereal.
As we approached the last stop, we saw cafes, restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops. It was actually a bustling tourist spot and despite it being winter, it was quite crowded.
We climbed the flight of stairs to the summit. The first thing I noticed at the top was the ice cold wind. It was so windy that I could barely take out my gloves for clicking photographs. My face dried up almost instantly. The change in weather was quite drastic given that it was calm just a hundred feet below.
I kept moving around to get a 360 degree view from the summit. Snow clad mountains stretched for miles on all sides while a layer of clouds slithered around them. On one side where the clouds had drifted apart, we could see green plains while on the other side you could see the sun lighting up the blue waters of the lake below.
We wanted to stay there longer, but the cold was getting to us. We descended and spent some time walking and soaking in the gorgeous views around us.
While returning back, I saw that the fog had cleared a bit and the sun was giving the waters of lake lucerne a sparkling blue color. We got into the last boat of the day for our return leg.
As we were cruising, rows of lakeside houses passed by. We went and stood on the back side of the boat watching what we were leaving behind.
The lake was wrapped around on all sides by mountains. We could spot Mount Rigi in the distance. You could identify it by a huge tower on top. A flock of seagulls started following our boat and soon enough, a couple of kids began feeding them. For the birds, it was a race to see who could swoop down first to claim their prize. The innocence of the moment was touching.
As the sun started slipping into slumber, the seagulls vanished just as they had come. The mountains were slowly becoming shadows. The orangish hues of the sky were reflected in the waters of the lake.
As this beautiful canvas unfolded in front of me, a sense of euphoria pervaded within; from my initial disappointment to an unforgettable experience, the vagaries of nature had me spellbound.