Feb 21, 2017 - 11:29 PM
Day 1 - Flew in to Zurich from Barcelona and caught the train from the station to Lucerne. I can't express how helpful it was to have 1) the Swiss Travel Pass and 2) the SBB mobile app. I thought I knew the route and times but realized that we would have to take an additional train because of maintenance and it was just so much easier to rely on the app. When we arrived in Lucerne we checked in to the Ameron Hotel Flora which was barely a 5 minute walk from the station. Turned out our first day was the only day it didn't rain during our stay so we were glad to get pictures of the bridge and explore. We were definitely shocked when we tried to find something to eat around 4pm and a lot of restaurants were closed or very expensive! We headed to the train station Coop to get some alcohol, bread, water for our stay. We ended up eating at Cafeteria Emilio where I had amazing macaroni and cheese. We found an Irish bar across the lake that night which was having a trivia night in English.
Day 2- We got up early and took the train to Engelberg, where we rented skis, boots, helmets, etc. and skied until around 3pm when it started raining and the snow turned to ice. Mt. Titlis was amazing. We were nervous we would be way out of our league (we only ski about once a year) but it was very manageable. We had a delicious paneer tikka wrap at a kebab place attached to the main building at the base.The man helping us rent skis asked if we were staying in Engelberg and when we told him we were staying in Lucerne he said he'd give us half off the rental price so I'm not sure what that deal actually is but it ended up being around $60 for the lift ticket and $100 for the rentals I think. When we got back to Lucerne we had dinner at Restaurant Parterre where a lot of younger groups of friends were socializing and playing cards. We had rosti for the first time which was awesome.
Day 3- The weather was still terrible but we knew we wanted to go to Rigi Kaltbad for the mineral bath. We got on the boat but accidentally sat in first class before the ticket guy pointed out we were in the wrong place. The boat was full of tourists with a guide and though we originally were going to get off at Vitznau, we got off at Weggis because they were all getting off there. We missed the bus up to the cable car station because all the tourists had a private bus and we didn't know why they weren't getting on the regular bus. Anyways we freaked out thinking we were going to miss the Cable Car and ran up the hill to the station and actually beat the tourist bus. Good to know that the times are coordinated for people that walk too! I hadn't realized that the SBB app also shows boat, cable car, and cog wheel train schedules as well so that was SO helpful.
We got off the cable car at Rigi Kaltbad and went to the spa while all the tourists continued to Rigi Kulm where I'm sure they weren't able to see a thing. The mineral bath was insane. There are a variety of different areas in the main pool for lounging, bubbles, outdoor area, and massage showers. Downstairs there was a sauna, steam, crystal bath, and lounge area with tea and water. We went through all the areas twice. Afterwards we quickly ran to the cog wheel station to go down to Vitznau. We decided to stay in Vitznau to try and get something to eat but that was probably a mistake since most places were closed. We ended up at a cafe which was only serving quiche but that did the trick for the time being. The boat back to Lucerne was far less packed and was very pleasant. For our last night we ate at Zunfthaus zu Pfistern for fondue (yes, typical).
Day 4- We had coffee and pastries at a place across from the train station and took a train to Chiasso and then to Florence. Overall I was very pleased with how easy everything was and how helpful everyone was. One thing that through us for a loop a few times was how waitresses gave us tickets for each menu item instead of one large bill at the end. In America we're used to getting a "merchant copy" and "customer copy" but a few times we didn't realize our bill was actually more since we didn't look at all the tickets. Wonderful place to visit even with the weather and we hope to come back some day!