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
|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.
Across Lake 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
||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
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
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).