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Other UNICA Festivals | UNICA 2011 News
UNICA 2010: introduction / socialising / UK contribution / faces / films & results

UNICA 2010 - Socialising

Photograph of RigiBahn in the mist.

Up the Rigi Bahn

We knew a full-day excursion was planned, it was weather-dependent and we should wear warm clothes. Not even UNICA's new president knew more ...

It started wet, when over 300 of us assembled at Einsiedeln railway station and boarded a special train (shown on the platform signs as "Hänsli Train"!) Then we were off.

The special train nipped in and out between regular traffic on the busy Swiss lines, sometimes pausing until a single-track section was clear. Finally we reached a junction where we changed to the Rigi Bahn.

This rack-and-pinion railway had three small trains waiting for us, two pulled by steam. We piled on and chugged steeply upwards through the mist. As we rose we caught glimpses of spectacular waterfalls and suggestions of broad valleys.

Photo of waterfall by the trackside.
Photo of driver oiling the Rigi Bahn steam loco.Photo of the ice-cream dessert.Eventually at the top station we de-trained and climbed a short distance to the magnificent restaurant balanced near the summit of Rigi - the Queen of Mountains. Inside we had a marvellous meal and, just as the coffee ice-cream dessert was served, the clouds lifted and sun poured in. Pausing only to gobble the delicious coffee-ice-cream, we poured out. From the decking and paths we got magnificent panoramic views over the alps  and looked down on Lake Lucerne.

Before long train whistles summoned us back to take the journey down, but this time we went right down to the lakeside and a ferry terminal.

From Rigi mountain looking down on Lake Lucerne. Photograph of photographs on a promontory at Rigi.

Across Lake Lucerne

Photo from the stern of the ferry crossing Lake Lucerne.Photograph of the wooden bridge at Lucerne. It was now hot sunshine and we cruised over the blue lake, gawping at the mountains all around - and enjoying complimentary drinks. Cameras - video and still - were much in evidence.

We passed other notable steam ferries before reaching Lucerne, where we had a couple of hours to explore, visit the glacier museum and panorama, cross the painted wooden bridge and seek out the best chocolatiers!

Back to Dinner and Dancing

Man playing an alpenhorn. Swiss Railways again laid on a special train to take us easily back to Einsiedeln in the evening. There was a buzz of conversation about pictures, the best Swiss Army Knives, the trains and the views.

We we strolled a few hundred yards along the cobbled streets to the Dorf Centrum where we were greeted by an Alpenhorn player!

Then came a pleasant dinner. These are a social feature of all UNICAs and give delegates a chance to meet and mingle ... not to mention tasting the odd glass of my mother's schnapps here and there!

This was supplemented by live music and later dancing.

Max Hänsli complimented us all - in a very Swiss manner - for our punctuality!

But we really wanted to thank Max and his team.
The whole trip went smoothly, the weather played its part in the drama
and over 300 people were left relaxed, happy and slightly stunned
by how magnificently beautiful Switzerland can be.

Photo credits: in all our reports from UNICA 2010: thanks to Mitze Chapovsky (Macedonia) , Odilon Dubost (Germany), Zvonimir Karakatic (Croatia), Ron Prosser (UK) and Dave & Jan Watterson (UK).

Other UNICA Festivals | UNICA 2011 News
UNICA 2010: introduction / socialising / UK contribution / faces / films & results