Switzerland 05-06: Rigi

After failing to get here on Saturday, I was determined to make it up this mountain.
If I’d been doing exams, I wouldn’t have been able to leave so early, not that I can remember what time I did go. Probably pretty early, as it takes over an hour to get to Neuchatel from Les Verrieres.
I got the train to Olten, changed to the Luzern-Milan train and stayed on there all the way to Arth-Goldau, which I was pleased to realise was in Schwyz canton – another one ticked off on my list.
There are two ways to the top of Rigi, both rack railways. There’s one up from Vitznau and one from Arth-Goldau and as Vitznau didn’t look too easy to get too, I took the obvious route.
The platform for Rigi was at the end of one of the main platforms and up some stairs. I bought my ticket in English, because I have no idea how to do it in German, although I don’t like using English abroad.
At first I thought I was going to go up in an open wooden carriage but that train didn’t seem to be running and we were herded onto an ordinary one.

You could see exactly where you were going because the summit was to our right and we were going to go round in a sort of U shape to get up there.
It’s not the highest mountain I’ve ever been up but you could feel the mountain coldness in the air and while I was on the train, I was very glad I’d brought my coat.
It took around half an hour to get to the top. At the station below the top, the line from Vitznau came in, on red trains. The Arth-Goldau ones are blue.

The view from the top was incredible. There were patches of light mist, but you could see for miles. I could see the Oberland giants and billions of peaks to the south-west behind Lake Luzern.
And Peedee’s amazing zoom:

Behind Lake Zug on the other side was flat land for miles.

I sat on the grass for a while and looked out at the view. There was only one problem. Peedee’s guidebook said there is snow on the peak even in summer. Of course there wasn’t and it was far too hot for a fleece jumper and a long coat. Ick.
Then I walked down behind the little chapel into a field, for lack of a better word, with a fence around the edge. A sort of bump-shaped field. And when I looked over the fence:

A 1000 metre sheer drop.
I guess I knew there was a drop like that somewhere because you can see from the ground that Rigi looks like someone sliced the end off with a sharp knife but it’s quite scary when you’re looking straight down it.
Then I couldn’t find a seat on the train on the way down so I stood behind the driver and looked out of the front.

And also thought that if he was to die right there and then, I could probably drive the train down to the bottom…

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