View From The Top

Leg 2: Fjaellbacka (Sweden) – Weggis (Switzerland)

I have rarely taken the time to be a tourist in my home country. I was generally too busy with school, work or trying to get the hell out of here. However, after living abroad for the past ten years, I do begin to see some of the beauty that most foreign visitors seem to be attracted to. I went to visit my friend Joan on her vacation to a lovely little village named Weggis, located right on the shore of Lake Lucerne and together we went up Mount Rigi (by way of Europe’s oldest cogwheel train). Here’s a few impressions of that trip:

Switzerland

Seeing things from above does change your perspective. In people’s minds Lucerne seems to be far away from Zurich, although it’s only about one hour by train. To get to Weggis you can then travel by boat across Lake Lucerne for about another 30 minutes. On a beautiful and clear day, you can see from Mount Rigi almost across the entire country, and even spot Zurich in the very far distance. The emerald color from Lake Lucerne shines even brighter and greener in the summer sun. On our trip it was also a welcome escape from the scorching summer heat, embalming us in a light breeze, and lower humidity. There is plenty of life on this mountain, too. From farmers hearding their cows on the steep slopes, year round and summer houses, mountain bikers, hang gliders and hikers.

On the way down, we passed by some idyllic vistas in the village of Weggis, flowers in full bloom, sheep on the meadows and a gathering thunder storm in the background.

Many famous artists have been drawn to this area. Pianist Rachmaninoff build a lavish residency nearby in Hertenstein, flutist James Galway lives here. In “A Tramp Abroad” Mark Twain wrote a tremendously funny account of his voyage up Mount Rigi to see the spectacular sunrise – only to sleep right through it. And during a lengthy period of the typically very heavy rain fall during a thunderstorm, Mary Shelly is said to have conceived of Mr. Frankenstein.

Thunderstorms in the region tend to be very heavy, the high mountains holding back the clouds until they have rained out and giving lighning strikes plenty of targets to strike. Here a few pictures from storm that gathered the evening Joan and I had planned to have a nice dinner on the lake shore (followed by a dash inside to escape the rain):

Gathering Storm

The storm was followed by two days of torrential rains in the region, causing mud slides, areal flooding, evacuation and traffic disrutions. The same day I hear of a tornado that has rampaged through Brooklyn back in New York, passing not too far from the house of one of my co-workers. Hope, all of you are ok back there.

Mother Nature is not amused ….

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