Here is the quick summary for those who are not interested in reading through all of the detail.
This tour was an extremely positive experience and I can heartily recommend it for others. You end up doing more and experiencing more than is represented by the itinerary. My group of fellow travelers was an exceptionally nice group of people which made the tour all the better.
Day 1. I had arrived in Switzerland the day before and chose to use most of this day to visit Mt. Pilatus. The tour hotel desk sold me the “golden ticket” which was quite convenient. I boarded a bus less than a block from the hotel which took me to the Gondola. Up a series of Gondolas to the summit and I was treated to a gorgeous view. There are several hiking paths available. This was followed by a cog railway down to the lake on the other side. A quick lunch at the restaurant there, and I took a boat cruise back to Luzern. It was just a matter of a short walk back to the hotel. I rested a bit before joining the group for initial meeting.
Our guide introduced himself and invited everyone to share their names and the reason they had chosen this particular tour. There was a short orientation walk and we returned to the hotel for our first group dinner. A good time of starting to get to know people.
Day 2 started out with the hotel elevator being broken. These things happen, so I made the best of it. 6 floors down to breakfast wasn’t so bad, but the 6 floors up reminded me why I really need a fitness regime. It was fixed within a few hours.
We had a walking tour with a local guide named Claudia. I hated it. For me it was 2 hours of torture. We weren’t 30 minutes into the walk before she had ridiculed Asian people, called the Italians dishonest, and explained that no one could possibly believe the Catholics. She seemed to think statements loaded with sexual innuendos were good tour guiding. Others seemed to enjoy her, but she started me doubting the wisdom of taking this tour. That was a tough moment when I had the horrible worry that somehow I had done something horribly stupid in signing up for this tour. Thankfully, this was the only time I felt that way during the tour. The rest of the time certainly made up for this one bad experience.
This was followed by a chocolate tasting which I enjoyed. The original tour itinerary had made it sound like this was in the afternoon, so I hadn’t adequately planned for the amount of free time we had (from 1 pm on). This made me realize that I need to be proactive going forward and really understand the daily schedule and have good planning done for my free time.
I ended up with a nap and walking the section of old city wall. Dinner was on my own so I ate at the Manor Dept. Store where I ran into a couple from the tour and had an enjoyable meal with them.
The members of the tour group are a very congenial group of people and I look forward to getting to know them better. It was a little bit of a shock to realize I was at the end of day 2 and our guide has never spoken to me. Perhaps when we start on the bus section tomorrow, he will use that time to start to get to know people and their names.