The Mountains Near Lucerne

It is easy for the tourist to take short trips to the mountain peaks around Lucerne.  At the tourist office, you can get maps with details for each of the trips.  Pilatus is closest and easiest to use.  During the warmer months, you can take the cable car to the top, and then take the rack railway down to Alpnachstad with a lake steamer or train back to Lucerne.  But we were there before the rack railway opened, so we took the cable cars up and down.
Rigi lies across the lake from Lucerne.  It too offers the option of two ways up and down.  We took the train to Arth-Goldau and then took the Rigi Bahn to the peak.  There, we switched to the rack railway down to Vitznau and took the boat home.  The rack railway's steep descent gives the illusion that the houses and trees all tilt sideways.
At the top of Rigi only a few places were open, and the walking paths were only partially clear.  We were sort of surprised at how few tourists there were at the time we went.  It had been a little cloudy that morning and we were reluctant to go at first, but there were enough breaks in the weather to have a few spectacular views.  
The trip to the top of Titlis is more difficult and quite a bit more expensive, but it is certainly the most spectacular-- especially on a cloudy day.  We had put off this ascent, hoping for sunshine but finally realized we'd have to take the clouds or just not go.  About three quarters of the way up, the cable-car suddenly broke through the clouds into the sunshine and even the reserved Swiss skiers in the car with us let out a collective gasp.  The final car to the top is called the "Rotair," because it turns as it goes up giving you a 360-degree view.
Most of the people going up Titlis go for year-round skiing on the glacier, but there are many tourists like us who go just for the view.  At the top, we found this very entertaining tube ride for those who prefer to descend on their backside.  The short run is mostly safe and exciting enough that we chose to do it more than once.  Best of all (and really strange for entrepreneurial Switzerland), it was free!
In addition, the restuarant-snack bar even provides props for your photographs.  The Bernese Mountain Dog really had the run of the place, going up and down stairs, out to the terrace, over to the tube runs, and on the ski lifts.  He was a favorite with everyone there, but most of the time he seemed to regard us with bored indifference.

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