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12 days Lucerne and Täsch trip report (1)


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ioana
ioana
67 posts
active member
Aug 21, 2019 - 5:54 AM

Hi everyone,

After 2 years on this forum and 3 vacations in Switzerland, I thought I should write my first trip report. We had a great time, filled with beautiful scenery, informative and interesting visits, sun, rain, adventure and unexpected events. It was the second half of our vacation, coming from Austria and Germany and traveling by car.

The previous 2 years we stayed in Lauterbrunnen and Meiringen , with a short stop in Winterthur for Technorama . So for this year we thought we should explore new areas and decided for Lucerne and Zermatt. However I had some unfinished business with Brienzer Rothorn from last year, so one day would be dedicated to coming back to this area, totally doable from Lucerne.

The plan for the 6 days in Lucerne was : Pilatus, Titlis, Transport Museum and town visit, Elm, Brienzer Rothorn and Mooraculum at Sorenberg. For Zermatt : Gornergrat trip, Klein Matterhorn, Blauherd - Sunnegga, Hohsaas, Montreux trip, and the day of our departure taking the scenic Furka Pass way.

As I wrote in another post,we decided each morning what to do from the list, depending on the weather and meteo reports.

Day 1: It was cloudy and rainy and we decided it would be best to go to Elm , as the weather report was optimistic for that area and it was primarly for kids' fun, which was achievable even with covered skies. At Elm we bought the Combi Tickets, meaning going up to Ampachli in the gondola and down on monster trottibikes. At Ampachli, near the restaurant, there is a playground for the kids, trampolines and Elmer's Gold Mine, where kids can search for gold to win a small reward. Also it is the starting and ending point for the RiesenWald Trail, a themed trail with fun stations. We love themed trails, we did Lieselotte (Mannlichen to Holenstein) and Muggestutz 1&2 (up from Meiringen, at Magisalp and Lischen) the previous years and this was equally fun and interesting. There are several stations on the trail, one with an obstacle course, an upside down house with upside down table and benches, a climbing tower, a lythophone, a school, etc...The surrounding mountains are beautiful. It was a great day, with just a little bit of rain when we arrived, but after this it was mostly sunny. Monstertrotti info : Kids 8 and up are allowed to ride alone. Unlike the other places where we rode trottis( First and Niederhorn) , here the kids under 8 are allowed to ride together with a parent. It is not a long distance (about 4km) and not very off road (as you would think seeing the wheels on those trottis)

Day 2 : Copy -pasting what i wrote in another post - Rainy when we woke up, but the weather report said that it would stop and there will be clouds and sun. Not good for Titlis and certainly not good for Brienzer Rothorn. In Sorenberg was rainy and cold, not good for the kids to have fun with water. So we thought we should try Pilatus. I will never forget the look of mercy on the face of the lady at Lucerne train station when, after buying the half fare cards, we asked for the Golden Round Trip tickets. She asked us twice if we are sure, and immediately after I said yes, it started to rain very heavily:)). We got on the boat, jokingly saying that every time we are on a boat in Switzerland it's raining on us:)). We had hope and even saw a little bit of blue sky between lightnings hitting not very far from us:). Arriving at Alpnachstad we saw the sun and we had good weather going up, beautiful views from the top and on the walk to Tomlishorn, but not that clear far away as we would have had on a truly sunny day. After that we got down to Frakmuntegg and only had the time to do one round on the rodelbahn before heavy rain started and rushing to the gondola station. So about 3 hours of good weather. A word about the rodelbahn, if there are enthusiasts and speed fans among readers - there were quite a few people in line, most of them going very very slow. It kind of ruins the whole thing, so I asked a man working there when would it be the best time to come (less crowded) and said the earlier the better. So from now on whenever I will plan for rodelbahn rides, it would be at the beginning of the day, not the end.

Day 3: It was raining and the weather forecast announced rain everywhere, so the best option was to go to Transport Museum. It is a big museum , interactive and very kid friendly , so although we wanted to visit the town later in the day, we stayed at the museum from opening until closing time. It is very well structured and never felt lost, like it happened in other museums. The kids loved mimicking the walking on the moon, driving a train, a helicopter, landing an aeroplane, learning about the Gotthard tunnel, being in a news studio and playing with the green screen.

Day 4: The weather report said clouds and sun, and an even better forecast for the next day, so we chose Titlis for this day and left Brienzer Rothorn for the next, as that one meant more to me. We planned to spend the first half of the day up on top, and the second down at Trubsee. It fitted perfectly with the weather, as we had almost clear skies and great views until half past noon, and then, when we were about ready to go down, we were swallowed by clouds that never really went away. I personally found Titlis a bit too commercial, although the views are certainly great. Down at Trubsee the kids had fun on the bag jump and trampolines and then we did the trail around the lake which is also a clue hunt trail. Children receive a map at the gondola station and need to punch a letter at each station, to find a word. There is fun at every station, climbing or searching for gold pepites. The last to punches are at a big playground. At the end they received a prize for finding the word.

Day 5: It was indeed a beautiful sunny day, as the forecast said and we happily left at 7:30 for Brienz, to take the brienzer Rothorn Bahn and then hike the ridge trail to Turren. We chose to drive from Lucerne to Brienz, to get there faster and take an earlier train up to Brienzer Rothorn, as we didn't want to feel rushed on the trail to Turren. We arrived in the parking lot at the train station at 8:32 jumped out of the car, left my husband to pay for parking and take the children and ran to the Brienzer Rothorn's station to buy tickets. I asked for tickets, the girl asked if I am sure that we will catch the train, I said yes, took the tickets and started waving at my family to come faster, as they were still near the car at the other train station. They arrived, scanned the tickets , a nice girl opened a compartment just for us and we got in. Just thought I should take a look at the tickets and it was then when I noticed that I bought return tickets instead of one way. Actually I never really asked for any type of ticket, in my rush, trembling and scrambling to find the half fare cards, I just said 2 adults and 2 children and I guess the girl at the counter gave me the most popular tickets. Faster then my thoughts I got down of the train even though it was ready to leave, ran to the guy at the turnstiles, told him my problem, he took my tickets, ran to the counter, changed the tickets, ran to me, gave me the new tickets and the money difference, got back to my seat and the train left. Not even 2 minutes into the ride, my husband tells me "you know, the parking ticket is only until 13:47." He thought that 5 chf would be enough and just took the ticket. Only when he put it in the windshield he noticed the hour and by then I was waving at him desperately to come faster. We put this aside and enjoyed the ride up. It is amazing, spectacular , everything I thought it would be. Arriving up we sat at a table and had breakfast with the most beautiful views. Only after this I started to worry about the parking. So trying to find out how bad the situation was, went to the lady at the hotel reception and told her the story. She said that this is not good, that we can't pay the difference when we go back, that there is someone checking during the day and we will get a ticket. A pricey ticket. I asked if I could do anything, like to give someone money for parking and I think she misunderstood me and replied "das ist verbotten". Not satisfied, I went to the train station thinking I could find some nice tourist going down and ask for the very big favor to pay for a parking ticket for me. No tourists there, only the signalman . Lucky me, like everybody in Switzerland , he was speaking english and didn't even get to finish what I had to say and he said "no problem, I'll just ask a colleague to pay for your parking" . I wrote the car number and model on a piece of paper, handed 12 chf (to be sure it would cover the hours) and thanked the man a million times. And just like that, our problem was gone and our beautiful day saved. I just love swiss people and their helpfulness. Nothing is complicated, everything is smooth. Like changing tickets that were already scanned, giving back money even though the payment was done via card, or going out of their way to help correct your sillyness.

The hike was spectacular , I think I took a million pictures. From Turren we took the cable car to Lungern, then walked to the train station and took the train back to our car in Brienz. Arriving in Brienz we saw from the window the second parking ticket put on the windshield.:) I did went to find and thank the man that helped us save our day (or our budget - still don't know what we would have chosen - going down or continuing and accepting we will get a ticket).

Day 6: the day of our departure to Tasch - The plan was to stop in Sorenberg and have fun at Mooraculum before continuing to Tasch, but it was raining and it was chilly , so we went directly. We took the Grimsel pass way , but it was cloudy and foggy , couldn't enjoy the nice scenery.

Some pictures to accompany this very long post and will come back with the second part of our trip, which had it's adventures as well, like coming back one night from a day trip and finding the road to Tasch closed because of rock falls:)

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ioana
ioana
67 posts
active member
Aug 21, 2019 - 6:02 AM

pictures continued:

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ioana
ioana
67 posts
active member
ioana
ioana
67 posts
active member
Aug 21, 2019 - 2:40 PM

Hi everyone,

Continuing the trip report - taking our time on the road, stopping for lunch and again for pictures in a picturesque town somewhere on Furkastrasse (which's name I failed to take note) , we arrived in the afternoon, to good weather.

The next day (11th of august) we woke up to clear weather and mountains and decided to go up on Gornergrat. The plan for the day was to take the Gornergrat bahn up, then hike from there down to Riffelalp. From Riffelalp back on the train down to Zermatt. Having a bit of walk to the station and coming by train from Tasch (but having bought all the tickets from that station), we were happy to catch the 9:12 train to Gornergrat. The views were spectacular all around, and was happy to see Matterhorn all clear. It is an imposing mountain and I found myself looking up for its presence all the time. Having had the Titlis experience, but also fearing crowds at a later time of day, I told my husband that I would like to get down at Rotenboden and walk to Riffelsee for some magazine perfect pictures, even though we would pass by it later, on our hike. The crowds were already there all right, but the pictures turned out great:) Got back on the train and enjoyed the beautiful scenery up there, took pictures and... at about 11:30 some big clouds ate 2/3 of Matterhorn. Guess who was all full of herself for her magazine perfect pictures, with the whole of Matterhorn mirroring in Riffelsee, taken earlier:))) The hike from Gornergrat to Riffelalp is very scenic and the views are amazing throughout (Matterhorn still with sticky clouds on it) . It is almost all downhill, so a little tiring for muscles having to brake all the time. Arriving at Riffelalp we found a patch of grass to lay and rest , while the kids were full of energy jumping up and down on the trampolines. Told them I'll never believe them when they complain on the trails:)) We got down to Zermatt taking the train from Riffelalp and since it was not too late we thought we should go and see Gornerschlucht . I new we needed to pass the gondola station for Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, so we walked through Zermatt to that point. We somehow missed the plate on the next bridge showing that we needed to cross the river and walk by the rope park, and we just went straight ahead , by the river, but on the wrong side. When we reached a building where the road went right but the river the other way, we knew this wasn't it, because a gorge needs its river :)). So we just turned back knowing we'll have other opportunities to visit it, especially since we started to feel the first drops of rain falling on us.

So, for the ones who want to visit Gornerschlucht and are blind like us - just know that you need to cross the river on the next bridge after Matterhorn gondola , walk by the rope park and have the river to your right.:) It's a short walk from there.

It rained on and off that evening, than all night long and woke up to more rain. The forecast said rain all day, so we couldn't do our mountain trips. We decided it was best to leave the valley and head to Montreux , hoping for some sun. We had a beautiful day, with rain and sun, visiting Maison du Cailler, Maison du Gruyere, Gruyere town and Chateau du Chillon. You should note that the cheese making at Gruyere ends at 14:30. You are still able to visit , and it is a very informative and pleasant tour presented by Cerise the Cow, but you would't see any cheesemaker at work, nor any cheesemaking happening. Maison du Cailler is equally pleasant and it made our kids happy, being allowed to eat all the chocolate that they wanted. Perfect day that ended with a vist at Chateau du Chillon. We left at closing time and the gps gave us an arrival time in Tasch at 21:00. Entering the valley I just catch a glance with the corner of my eye of 2 red upper plates on she road signboard. I ask my husband why was Tasch and Randa with red, meaning closed and he said he didn't notice. Start thinking of this and decide it must be a mistake, it's summer, it's raining all right, but not snowing, the river is in its place, must be someone who played with those plates. Advancing the valley I was more relaxed and convinced it was just a mistake, especially since I started seeing cars coming from the other way.:)) Not long passes and of course we arrive to the end of the car line and stop. A guy comes and tells us that Randa is closed, Tash is closed, there was a rock slide and nobody passes. We wait for a while, then smart me asks if we could walk (almost dark by then and raining). No, it's too dangerous to walk, rocks are still falling, before anything is to be done, a geologist needs to come and he wouldn't come until morning. The trains are also stopped and the brave drivers who thought they could try drive by the train tracks are told not to do this. We are told that a shelter would open in St. Niklaus and we should go there and sleep for the night. We went there along with other people like us and I was surprised that the volunteers were already working and putting clean sheets on the beds. Everything went smoothly, the volunteers were really nice, the kids were happy and excited for this unexpected adventure and we had a good night sleep. Again, must love the swiss for solving everything so smoothly and calmly.

The next morning we woke up, thanked for everything and left the shelter. It stopped raining, but it was very foggy from all the rain the other day. The road being still closed and not wanting to go too far away, and hoping that the fog will rise and go away, we went to Saas Grund, on the adjacent valley, to take the gondolas up to Hohsaas. It was very cold up at Hohsaas, the water on the lake had a very thin ice layer, however we liked very much the rocky terrain. Did the 18 Viertausender Rundweg , saw none of them thanks to the fog, but I really enjoyed the walk, it almost felt like being on another planet. And the fog just added to this feeling. Going down to Kreutzboden , the kids enjoyed playing on the playground for a while before taking the monster trottibikes for the 11km ride down to Saas Grund. A note on the trottibikes - one needs to be over 12 to ride alone, but, like Elm, they allow smaller kids to ride together with a parent. Great ride, we all loved it , it was offroad this time and I could understand why they wouldn't allow younger than 12 alone.

Next day we woke up to clear skies and perfect weather forecast. We decided to go up at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, enjoy the views, than go down to Trockener Steg and do the Matterhorn Glacier Trail to Schwarzsee. Up on the panoramic terrace at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise it was very cold, we didn't last for too long there. Took some pictures , then went to the Gletscher Palast and then warmed up in the restaurant lounge , having breakfast and watching the skiers on the slope. All warmed up, we got down to Trockener Steg and started the beautiful Glacier Trail, that took us very close to Matterhorn. I think that doing a hike on the mountain one is visiting, even a short one, makes for the experience to be even greater, you get to know the mountain better and up close and really have the time to take in the surroundings. From Schwarzsee we took the gondola to Furi where we got down, trying to find that Gornerschlucht , this time from the other side:) It is easier to find coming from Furi (for us:)) ), but a longer walk. It doesn't compare to Aareschlucht but it is nice and a good addition to a day in this area.

The next day was again sunny , so we went to Blauherd to do the 5 Lakes Trail. Didn't expect to be so popular and so crowded, but even though in the beginning it felt like a promenade with all the people, I liked seing Matterhorn and the rest of the mountains from a different , equally beautiful, part. The Matterhorn view from Stellisee is something to remember . I loved seing Grindjisee from all the way up and then reaching it, this is also something special in this hike. At Grunsee there were quite a few brave bathers. At Leisee the kids played tirelessly for a couple of hours (yes, after that long of a trail) at the Wolli Adventure Park while we just relaxed on the lounge chairs. From Sunnegga there are kickbikes to hire, but we got there too late. But for us it didn't really matter, because they are for people over 9 and they don't allow younger kids to ride with a parent.

The next morning we left Tasch and took the very scenic Furka Pass. It was sunny that day as well and we enjoyed the drive very much, stopping all the time to admire and take pictures.

Thank you very much for allowing me to recount my trips and even though I know it is too long, I hope that someone has the patience to read it and maybe find some useful information.

Last modified on Aug 21, 2019 - 3:22 PM by ioana
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ioana
ioana
67 posts
active member
ioana
ioana
67 posts
active member
Aug 21, 2019 - 3:49 PM

and a favorite

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rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Aug 21, 2019 - 10:32 PM

Wow, ioana, what a fantastic report. You Tasch/Randa adventure will be something to remember forever. Thanks you so much for sharing and for the great pictures.

ioana
ioana
67 posts
active member
Aug 23, 2019 - 1:23 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thank you Rockoyster, you are very kind. Indeed, we've made memories that we'll cherish a lifetime.

Arno
Arno
15649 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 23, 2019 - 10:51 AM

Thank you for the long and interesting report Ioana! Nice to hear how you managed to solve the parking problem in Brienz :-)

ioana
ioana
67 posts
active member
Aug 23, 2019 - 12:05 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you Arno! Not my merit, but of those 2 nice and helpful men from the Brienzer Rothorn Bahn.

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
701 posts
top member
Sep 8, 2019 - 11:10 PM

What a fantastic report, Ioana.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and you certainly had some unexpected adventures! I love your photographs - congratulations on the excellent shot at Rifelsee! I agree that Swiss people are extremely helpful and kind - adds to the whole experience in my opinion.

Maggie

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