August 19 – Rapperswil to Campingplatz Bachmattli, Switzerland (78 km, 48 miles)

August 19 Route Map – Rapperswill to Mt. Pilatus Tram
August 19 Route Map – Mt. Pilatus Tram to Campingplatz Bachmattli

I got out of Rapperswil, at the southeast end of Lake Zurich, at 8:30 this morning. There was a little bit of drizzle for the first half hour of the ride, and then it was dry for the rest of the day. By the time I crossed over the hills out of Rapperswil and got into the next major valley to the west, the clouds broke up and it was partly to mostly sunny – the first time for that in about 10 days or so.

I’ve been surprised at the amount of construction going on here in Switzerland. Passing through Zurich, Rapperswil, Zug, Luzern, and a bunch of smaller towns, I saw countless construction cranes. It seems like everywhere you look there’s something being built. I’ve heard that China has about half of the world’s construction activity – I think Switzerland must have a good share of the other half.

I took a little side trip today when I got to Luzern and took the gondola/tram up to the summit of Mount Pilatus. It was a two-stage trip. The first part was in a small, four-person gondola that climbed up through the forest from the town of Kriens, at the base of the mountain. Just below the treeline, the gondola ride ended and it was necessary to transfer to the larger 40-person tram for the second stage to the summit, at an elevation of about 7,000 feet. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Swiss can build anything, anywhere. It’s amazing what they’ve built on the summit of Mi. Pilatus. There’s a huge round building that houses the tram terminal, viewing areas, a restaurant, café, and shops where you can buy stuff. A short walk away is a large and very fancy five-storey hotel and another restaurant. The round building and the hotel are located in a saddle between the two summits of the mountain. Paths lead up to the tops of the two summits. The summit just above the round building is the higher of the two, and it’s reached via a stairway with 278 steps. Starting near the hotel is a pathway/tunnel carved out of the mountain which winds around the lower summit. The tunnel is inside the mountain, but at various places it gets near the exterior part of the mountain, and it’s at these places that they’ve cut viewing ports so that you can stand right at the edge (but still inside the tunnel) and look out and down the sheer vertical walls of the mountain. It’s just amazing what they’ve done. Very impressive.

I found a nice campground to spend the night near the south end of Alpnacher See (lake), which is about 20 kilometers southwest of Luzern. As usual, I quickly got the tent set  up, got showered, and had a nice meal at the restaurant. I really like these European campgrounds!

Tomorrow’s destination – Interlaken (and meybe Grindlewald).

2 Responses to “August 19 – Rapperswil to Campingplatz Bachmattli, Switzerland (78 km, 48 miles)”

  1. Make sure to try the Fondue, and Rosti.

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