My transfer between LGA and JFK in New York City yesterday was uneventful (uneventful is a good thing).
My airplane landed a little early this morning (7:14 AM instead of 8:05 AM). I managed to get some sleep on the plane (probably more than I did the night before when I was packing for the trip). Luckily for me I was seated in a group of 2 seats and the seat next to me was empty. Delta did a nice job, all alcohol was free for the transatlantic flight. The food was edible – which is more than I could say for what United gave me a few years ago on my way to Tokyo….
I walked to the train station attached to the airport and had one bag sent ahead to Basel. It will be available for pickup on September 15th, but they will store it for 4 days for no additional cost. The cost of the service was 12 Swiss Francs. I’ll pick it up on the 17th before I get on the river cruise ship.
After reviewing the train schedule I determined the earliest train to Luzern was at 0847. I used the ATM to get some Swiss Francs and waited for the train. The first class train car had power outlets which allowed me to recharge my phone. The train arrived in Luzern shortly before 10 AM. This gave me 3 hours to explore Luzern.
Once I was in Luzern I took a few pictures of the Chapel bridge.
I continued on foot to the Lion Monument. The monument was carved nearly 200 years ago to memorialize the Swiss soldiers who died when the Tuilleries Palace in Paris was attacked. You can read more about the monument here: http://www.luzern.com/en/lion-monument . The page mentions Mark Twain (who isn’t a real person – Mark Twain was a psuedoname for Samuel Clemens) who actually used to live about 15 miles from where I grew up.
From the lion monument. I saw an interesting building and a large city wall. I eventually got to one of the towers that could be entered and climbed the stairs to the top. More information on the towers can be read here: http://www.luzern.com/en/sightseeing-tours/sightseeing/musegg-wall .
I then walked back down the hill to the Chapel bridge and took some more photos. There was some information near the beginning of the bridge. Apparently it caught fire in 1993 and many of the paintings that were in the bridge were destroyed.
After I got my fill of photos of the bridge I walked over to the lake to take a few pictures.
Lunch was a 2.5 Swiss Franc cheeseburger from McDonalds. I had a bottle of water from the plane and some granola bars to keep me nourished.
I got on the panoramic train that went to Interlaken Ost from Luzern. This train is calld the “Golden Pass Line” which starts in Luzern and ends in Montreux. However, you need to change trains twice. Once in Interlaken Ost (about 13 minute connection) and once in Zweisimmen. We were supposed to have about 40 minutes in Zweisimmen, but there was a Golden Pass Line train next to us headed to Montreux – we thought it was the one we were supposed to be on. We found out that it was actually an earlier train. We managed to get into Montreux a bit earlier because of this.
Once I arrived in Montreux I walked to the hotel. The hotel is a bit pricy for what it is, but it is nice and centrally located. It is the Hotel Helvetie. The woman at the front desk recommended me to visit the Chillon castle even though it would be closed.
It was only a 10 minute trip with bus 201 to the Chillon castle. I got there during the magic hour – but I brought my tripod so even though I was loosing light I should have some good pictures.
I took the 201 bus back, had a Big Mac meal (medium size was 13 Swiss Francs… I was scared to know what normal restaurants charged for meals) and walked back the the hotel.
Tomorrow I will head to Zermatt and hopefully see the Matterhorn.
HDR Photos from actual camera: