I hadn’t stayed in a YHA since my early days of backpacking in 2001 but on my arrival in Zurich I eventually managed to find my way to my pre-booked accommodation. No such thing as a cheap place to stay in Switzerland so I had to fork out 50 swiss francs just for the one night which is 50% more than one usually has to pay for such a place. The good thing about this chain of hostels is that they are very clean and had a fantastic breakfast included in the price which I took full advantage of the following morning.
My expectation beforehand of Zurich was that it was just a boring city full of bankers. However, I was quite surprised at what a nice city it was to walk around on a warm sunny summer evening. As well as the city centre itself I also chilled out for a bit by the lake at one of the many park spaces where locals go to sunbathe and have a quick dip in the lake.
I arrived in Lucerne the following afternoon and wasted no time getting out to see the sights dotted round the lake which were very pretty particularly the two main bridges (Spreuer and Chapel respectively with the latter featuring the city’s trademark water tower) which feature on all postcards for the place.
A day trip that I took on August 11th was to Mount Pilatus which was a kind of conveyor-belt way of travelling as it involved a 90 minute boat cruise followed by a 40 minute ascend of the mountain on the world’s steepest cog railway. All of it was amid beautiful scenery and at the top I was taken back by how cold it was. I hadn’t given it a thought when packing and so was about 2000 metres up in t-shirt, shorts and sandals while others were in hiking gear!
Of course I didn’t need to do anything at the top other than sit in the restaurant and admire the views (beautiful but often obscured by the fog) but that’s not my style so I persevered and did the trails up there including the climb to the highest point (2132m) which was a 30-40 minute gentle hike though a bit rocky near the summit which is still very do-able in good sandals.
A large gondola followed by a smaller one took me all the way down and in-between I took a stop to do the toboggan ride which was good fun and gave me a brief adrenaline rush on a trip which overall was lacking in activity of that nature.