Swiss Excursions

Throughout the year tourists can enjoy rides on the boats of Lake Lucerne (also called the Vierwaldstattersee, the Lake of the Four Forest Cantons).  The lake stretches more than thirty miles from Lucerne to Fluelen, but one of the most popular stretches for tourists is the portion between Lucerne and Vitznau that serves as a part of the round trip up Mount Rigi.
A few miles by train from Arth-Goldau lies the monastery town of Einsiedeln.  A monastery has been located on this site for about a thousand years, but the present church and monastery were completed in the first half of the 16th century.  The most famous priest to have served here was Zwingli.
The typical Appenzeller farmhouses can be seen by the dozens on the train ride through the Appenzell region.  The freshly fertlized land gives the region a rich "aroma" that at times can be almost as strong as the smell inside an Appenzell cheese market.  
The town of Appenzell is a lovely small town (or probably more accureately a lovely large village.)  We really regretted that we didn't allow time to spend a few nights here.  Hopefully, we will be able to do so on a visit in the future.  The local folk museum is one of the best of its kind we have seen in Europe.  
Shopping in Appenzell can be a real delight.  All the things a tourist might want are here without the crowds of some of the larger towns.  We're certain that there couldn't have been more than a handful of other tourists in Appenzell the day we were threre, but there was plenty of local activity everywhere we looked.
We took the train and bus out to Santis for a short visit around noon.  Almost all the other riders on the bus with us were school kids who were going home for lunch.  Although we opted not to take the cable car ride to the top of Santis, we still had a good time playing in the snow.  Beside the hotel parking lot, the snow was about fifteen feet deep.

 The Mountains - Lucerne
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