Today we traveled from Paris to Engelberg, Switzerland. Honestly, these photos of Switzerland do not even do justice to the beauty of the country! I really had never been around mountains before. Michigan is pretty flat — or at least Grand Rapids, I mean going up north makes a huge difference if views too. Our hotel was in a little town of Engelberg that had no shops open when we arrived Sunday evening. We checked into our adorable hotel room and I face timed my family since it was Mother’s Day. We had a group text going, but the view seriously needed to be experienced via person or via phone. After talking with my family it was dinner time! Luckily, the Restaurant Alpenclub was open — and had gluten and dairy free options! I had a gluten and lactose free homemade cordon bleu of pork with french fries and vegetables. It was delicious! I explored Engelberg at night with a few from the group to walk off our dinner.
Switzerland via bus
View from hotel room
Meal at Restaurant Alpenclub
Engelberg at night
Fresh gluten free bread
We had breakfast at our hotel — they made me fresh gluten free bed and gave me natural peanut butter. And yes, I ate all the bread, two were already eaten at this point. I packed on the layers to head to the Swiss Alps.
Our first stop to get to Rigi Mountain, to hike the Swiss Alps, we took our bus from Engelberg to Lucerne. Lucerne is a gorgeous city. The views are breathtaking. We first stopped at the Lion Monument that “commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.” We then had about an hour to explore the city, do some shopping, and site see, before we headed on our boat to Rigi Mountain. We walked across Spreur Bridge, a wooden footbridge that has 17th century plauge paintings throughout and a chapel in the middle. Also, I was able to have vegan Swiss chocolate (that yes, I ate right away in Switzerland) and get some souvenirs for the fam.
Boat ride to Rigi Mountain
Hello beautiful mountain (and snow in May). From what I hear, Rigi mountain does not always have snow at the top of the mountain during this time of year. But you know, like everywhere else on this trip, it was colder than normal. I embraced the cold weather — with LOTS of layers. I did not bring a winter coat — mostly because I didn’t want to trek it around — I probably could’ve brought one though, but I SURVIVED! It was in the 30’s, I did bring a pair of gloves which were VERY nice, as well as a headband. We took a train closer to the top where there was a stop with restaurants and coffee.
Train ride up the mountain
At the stop
Once we got to where the train stop was, there were steps to take up further up the mountain. Let me tell you, these steps were not cleared off, and there was no salt, but we made it up them to a somehow even more wonderful view!
Up a little more the mountain
We did not stop there, we walked up a walkway that was pretty much snow covered where I got one of my favorite photos of the trip — me jumping! Jumping photos can be great, or horrific. At this point I didn’t know how I would make it up any further (because, nope, wasn’t at the top), but also was terrified to go down!
Almost to the top of the mountain
After taking some amazing photos, we heading to the top of the mountain. There was some long pauses because I didn’t want to fall, and was freaking out about how I would get down, but eventually I made it, and OH MY GOODNESS! The view was CRAZY beautiful. It was amazing how tiny everything was. We were also pretty positive that Lucerne was down there far away in the distance, meaning we had crossed that water in a boat just a litter earlier in the day.
All the way at the top of the mountain
So on top of the mountain there was some sort of building, with accessible stairs, that I told myself I was not going to go up, but I did after some convincing from everyone else to make it to the absolute tallest point of Rigi Mountain. So happy I did, the spiral stairs were a little scary going down, but again — I SURVIVED!
ALL THE WAY UP
So obviously if you head up, you have to head down. We started heading down the same way we made it up, when a lovely stranger (with ski poles – so smart) shared with us there was a less steep, alternative route. I so wish we would’ve known about that on the way up, but hey — it was an adventure! Well even on the less steep route, I fell, right on my dupa! That route lead us to right before the stairs (and again, there was another alternative route we could’ve gone up) where we walked to a balcony to check out the view.
Balcony view on our way down to the train stop
I started making my way down the alternative path, and fell two more times right in a row. I slide on my butt to a spot that had no snow (and didn’t have anymore snow for the rest of the path) and made it just in time for the train back down the mountain!
We then took our bus (our driver met us in the city where we took the train up and down the mountain) back to Lucerne for a little more free time. A group of us just walked around and explored a little more before we headed back to Engelberg.
Rigi moutain – I was right about seeing Lucerne in the far distance
Once we got back to Engelberg we had a sausage and salad dinner at our hotel before we headed out to a small bar in the town. No one was in the bar pretty much except a large group of us, which was fun! We danced and learned a Swiss drinking game!
EUROPE IN MAY
EUROPE: Lake Como & Venice
EUROPE: Orvieto, Rome & Vatican