<<"4. For Dec 29, if we want to do 1 or 2 things in Bern in the morningbefore leaving for Lucerne, what would be your recommendations?5.Also For Dec 29, if we would like to see the Chapel bridge, LionMonument, Paddle steamer, cog-wheel to Mt Rigi. Roughly how much timeshould we budget?">>
That is a very very full day.
I'll comment on the in-city part of # 5 first.
If you walk from the main station to the Lion, pause to glance at the Kapellbrücke but do not walk over and cross it, look at the lion for 5 minutes, walk back to the main station, ignore all the other things to see which will tempt you, it will take 35-40 minutes.
If you actually walk across the Kapellbrüccke in stead of just looking over at it, at 7 minutes. If you decide to take a few pictures, make that 10- 12 minutes.
If that is what you do, you will miss the some of the best parts of Luzern - the old town, the Bourbaki Panorama, and the interior of the Jesuit Church for three examples.
#5 - Rigi part -
Use the timetable to time the lake boat to Vitznau and the cograil up to Rigi Kulm, then come down the same way or, instead, return via Arth-Goldau and on to Zürich.
The trip to the top of Rigi from Luzern will take one hour and 41 or 42 minutes through Vitznau. There are two routes in the timetable. On uses a train to Küssnacht, then a bus to Vitznau. The other use a boat direct to Vitznau.
Only certain ones of the lake boats are paddle wheelers. Probably, the best way to find which ones is to use the lake boat timetable:
www.lakelucerne.ch/fil eadmin/lakelucerne/con tent/Dokumente_Downloa ds_PDF/01_Fahrplan-Preise/01_Fahrplan/Sai sonaler_Fahrplan/2016/ Fahrplan_Winter_2015_2 016.pdf
I have studied it, and the footnotes on page 2 of the link, which are in English. As far as i can tell, no steam boats (which are the paddle wheelers) run in the winter. If they do, it might be on a Sunday.
You'd better look at the schedules for your self to be sure.
If you wish to spend even a few minutes atop the Rigi, you will have to allow a delay for the return, while you look around, have a coffee, and wait for the next departure. Without checking, I remember that the departure will be in about 5-10 minutes after the arrival (same train) or after one hour (next train). I'd plan on 4 1/2 to 5 hours Luzern- to Rigi Kulm to Luzern or to Zürich. Boat schedules are somewhat limited, and may control your timing.
Frequent train service from Bern to Luzern takes from 1 hour to one hour and one half. Add 20 minutes to get to the luggage office if you take your luggage with you, and to leave it there, while you walk through Luzern.
Last departure from Rigi Kulm to Arth Goldau is at 1804, takes one hour and 37 minutes to Luzern.
If you go instead via A-G to to Zürich, which has excellent connections from Arth Goldau, you will require 1 hr 47 minutes.
At Arth Goldau, there is a7-10 minute walk.
You will have to deal with your luggage all day if you use this route. The cograil trains are small, but there is some space for luggage on board.
The train system will transport luggage, but you would have to look a t the service availaibility and cost if you watn to send luggage from Bern to Zürich. You also have to watch closing hours at Zürich baggage office.
All of that is explained in the SBB web site, but will take a little digging. I don't know if you can get one day service for luggage transfer from Bern to Zürich, but there is good chance they have it available now.
I'll look it up.
I just looked up Fast Baggage and you can get the service for same day delivery. Check this link:www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/services/bagg age/fast-baggage.html
Price is 22 CHF per item.
Luggage office in Zürich closes at 1945 on mondays:
It is possible to do what you have suggested in #4 and #5.
ihave used the rail system services, lake boats, cograils extensively, and i know the locations, connecting sites, where the luggage offices are. I would definitely be able to do it with no trouble. (Except that I think the lake boat will be a "regular" diesel-powered one.) Iwould have to be very careful about my connections, and each and every step of the process. I would not do it if i wanted to see and enjoy any part of the in-city walks.
If you are not experienced in the Swiss Travel System, you have created an extremely complex and stressful process. Especially if your teenagers act like teenagers. Not having luggage with you would make a substantial difference, but you still will feel pushed by the time table. At each step where you connec tor transfer, you will have to find your way in a short time. Luggage transfer will be 22 CHF for each piece of luggage.
If that is what you want to do, that is certainly your choice. It will be a wonderful exercise in using the travel system.
I invite Arno or Annika to correct me, rfine my comments, or offer additional options or ways to make it easier. I've given the best advice that I know how to give. However, each person has there own wants and needs, and advice is not always relevant.
Sorry - did not have time to tackle the rest of your queries. #4 and # 5 caught my eye as I read your itinerary.
PS - Oh yes, the 28th looks workable now. Especially if you are staying in Bern near the center of town where the markets will likely be.