We went to Switzerland for a short break. Hiking on the mountains, that was the plan. Surprise, surprise… we ended up on ships.
Switzerland has an amazing public transport network, with trains, cogwheel trains, panoramic trains, buses, cable cars, and even boats on the lakes.
On a hot summer day in June our friends Thomas and Barbara, who live near Luzern, invited us for a hike to the Rütli Meadow, which is seen as the place where the Swiss Confederation has been founded.
To get there we had, much to my delight, to take a “Dampfer” or steam-powered paddlesteamer who would take us accross the Lake Lucerne.
Passengers waiting in Beckenried for the ship
It was great to see the steamer arrive swift and smoothly. I would never have thought that this URI was more than a century old, something I discovered once we were on board.
Departing from Beckenried
Barbara, Véronique and Thomas enjoying the moment.
A Gebruder Sulzer engine from 1901, in absolute pristine condition.
A window makes the paddles visible from the inside.
Heading for Treib where we have to take the funicular.
Going up with the Treib Seelisberg funicular railway, which started in 1916.
After some nice hiking we arived at the Rütliwiese, where on August 1, 1291, the three original cantons, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden united and founded with a loyalty oath the Confederation.
Every August 1, on the Swiss National Day, the oath is re-enacted on this place to commemorate the forming of the Old Swiss Confederacy.
After the light hike it’s time for the second paddle steamer, the STADT LUZERN from 1927.
Before we’re back on our point of departure the ship has to do some stops in between. Here we’re arriving in Brunnen.
Meet and greet with GALLIA (1913).
It’s great to see that bikes can be taken on board too.
One more happy encounter: the SCHILLER (1906).
Back in Beckenried.
Indeed, this is what this day was: First class! Thank you Barbara and Thomas.
If you want to go on the Paddlesteamers too, here is the official website.
Tickets can be bought online (early bookers get a discount), in most of the ports, on the ships and via the SBB CFF national railways.
Besides the public transport function some ships also do special cruises, with everything from breakfast cruises via cheese fondue cruises to sunset cruises.
Text & photos: Mike