Ascending Mount Stanserhorn

Ascending Mount Stanserhorn
This entry is part 9 of 20 in the series European Cavalcade

About two centuries before Christ was born people settled the Nidwalden valley. I’m guessing that they were Celts, the so-called Helvetians, based upon vague memories of some of my university studies done in the 1980s. One such place they settled became known as Stans, and I am guessing that from this settlement the mountain known as Stanserhorn got its name.

Our tour guide got us out and into the coach really early. The motto throughout the tour seemed to be “get there first”, meaning get to any attraction before other tours and tourists. It certainly had its rewards, but left me tired the entire time. The coach raced from Lucerne through the small towns in the valley, all reflecting a modern country. This surprised me. Maybe because I associate Switzerland with an older life style.

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The mountains called us and soon we found ourselves stopping at the base of what I presumed was Mount Stanserhorn. By the way, that’s not the picture above. That picture is just a random one from my coach window. Anyway, there we were at the bottom of the mountain, a funicular railway awaiting us. I must admit that I find funicular railways fun.

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I guess I must have made that same pun at the time because Nicole is smiling in the photo. The trip in the railway presented us with spectacular views of cows, scenery, and more cows.

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Actually the cows were quite scenic in their own special way.

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Next we were loaded aboard a cable car. And not just any old cable car. This was special. It was a double decker cable car with the top level being roofless. Spectacular!

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Up and up we went and I found myself going insane with my cameras. I took so many shots on that cable car because my surroundings were absolutely beautiful! Unfortunately they all turned out to look pretty much the same. So here is just one that really sums up all the others.

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I guess (hope?) it’s a fairly common mistake to make for a novice photographer submersed in scenic wonder. I will probably do it again. At least I had my choice of great pictures to choose from when doing this blog.

Up top was a fairly typical mountaintop retreat/café/bistro. It was exactly the same kind of place I had seen on ski fields the world over. Nevertheless the tour guide brought out a big alphorn and suddenly the experience transformed into something wonderful – a “how-terrible-can-I-sound-on-a-long-wind-instrument” type experience.

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Personally I feel that I managed a quite respectable - you might even call it melodic - cacophony.

After that we traipsed to the nearby lookout. I now realise why they are called lookouts. You stand there with your family saying “Look out! Be careful! Don’t get near the edge!”

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Not that there was any real danger. It was just kind of, shall we say “high”. Anyway, the tour guide kindly took a photo of the three of us, so all was good.

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Now let me remind you dear reader, that Rhiannon can come out with some very unfortunate choices of words. At this point in the trip the unfortunate words were “Hey Dad, let’s hike to the top of the mountain.” She accompanied these words with a gesture. Yes, she pointed to the route upwards.

Memories of the long struggle up to Heidelberg castle assaulted me. “Arrgghhhhh!”

Strangely this walk turned out to be much, much better for me. The views were so spectacular that Nicole and Rhiannon could barely walk 5 seconds before stopping to take another photograph.

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As for me, well I took my fair share too.

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Along the way I also took a few photos until we reached the very pinnacle. This turned out to be a little ladder with a telescope. At this point we were 1,898 metres (6,227 ft) above sea level.

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But as I have said, on Trafalgar Costsaver Tours there is never much time to stand still. We had a lake cruise to look forward to, and so with much regrets we reversed our journey and headed back down the mountain.

Thanks for reading :)

Greg

 

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2 Comments


  1. I am loving dipping into your travelling tales, but sometimes I am too late to comment!
    Your photography is absolutely stunning. I have to say that being in the presence of mountains is as close as I have ever come to an understanding of the religious experience. It is truly awe-inspiring to stand close to them and feel your own smallness.
    What beautiful countryside. Thanks for sharing your experiences :)
    x Alice

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    1. Thanks Alice. :) I don’t know why you think that you are too late to comment. Trust me, I love any comment no matter when it is written :) Thanks for the comet about my photography. One of my missions on the giant 6 week trip was to really practice my photographic skills and try to learn how to improve them. It’s funny what you say about mountains. Earlier this year I watched a documentary about myths/religions in early Mediterranean cultures and the place that mountains played in them (I tried finding the name of the doco for you but could not). Thanks for the delightful feedback :)
      Greg

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