On Friday we took a trip to Lucerne, Switzerland for the weekend!  We took the high-speed train from Florence to Milan.  It is supposed to travel the 190 miles between Florence and Milan in 1 hour and 45 minutes.  And that’s with a stop in Bologna.  That’s an average speed of 131 mph!  Many times the train isn’t able to make it in the scheduled time – our trip to Milan took about 2 hours – but that’s still an average speed of 95 mph!

Now the train to Milan was about 15 minutes late, and we only had a 20 minute window between our train leaving for Switzerland!  So it was like the Amazing Race as we ran down the platform, then looked for the information for our soon-to-be departing train, and then sprinted to the new platform.  We barely made it in time!

The second leg of our trip took us to Arth-Goldau, Switzerland which is about 140 miles from Milan and yet takes 3 hours by train.  Not exactly a high-speed experience!  But as we started getting into the Alps, we were glad not to be racing down the track at 100mph!

Here is a picture from the train window on the way to Arth-Goldau:

When we arrived at Arth-Goldau, we had about a 20 minute wait for a local train to Lucerne.  As we were waiting on the platform, a group of children were singing a song and playing a game.  Maria, the boys, and I still have this song in our heads even though it was three days ago.  I videotaped about a minute of it.  (I wish I had taped more!)  And I figured the best way to share it with you was to upload the video to You Tube.  So this is my first ever You Tube post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dEP-JhU7zE  Enjoy – and I hope the song sticks in your head all day!

Lucerne is about 15 miles from Arth-Goldau.  So we said good-bye to the Swiss children and took a 30 minute ride to Lucerne.  Here is a great view of the valley on the way to Lucerne from Arth-Goldau. 

The main attraction in Lucerne is the Chapel Bridge.  It is a wooden bridge that was built in 1333.  Connected to the bridge is an octagonal water tower that was built before the bridge sometime in the 1200s.   


So once we saw the bridge and the water tower, it was time to get some cheese fondue and some chocolate!  One thing we learned quickly about Switzerland – it is VERY expensive!  The dollar and the Swiss France (Switzerland does not use the Euro) are about even.  One swiss franc is about $0.93, so that helps a little bit.  But most prices were about double what you would see in the U.S.  So after our rather expensive dinner, we walked around town and took a couple of pictures (that was free)…

Can you guess what this sign was near?


And Nicholas thought the license plates were cool:

After dinner, on our walk through the city, I took a picture of the other side of the bridge and water tower.  From this angle, you can see Mount Pilatus in the distance.  Mount Pilatus was the site of Saturday’s adventure, and it was one of the most thrilling experiences I think any of us has had in a long time!  I’ll save that story for tomorrow night’s post!


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