After flight delays and spending an unexpected night in Chicago, we finally made it to Switzerland. As a previous OP said, after all the travel stressors, pressures seemed to melt away once we arrived . We have " unplugged" a bit, no internet away from the hotel, mostly checking the RS Forum when sleep schedules leave me awake at odd hours.
Getting thru Passport Control in Zurich took 11 minutes , even tho the whole plane descended at once. The officers briefly looked at the Swiss tracker form; never asked for cdc card or Covid- testing, which aren't required .
The adjacent Zurich rail station is easy to navigate, and we were in Lucerne by 1:00pm. Hotel des Alpes , centrally located with a Chapel Bridge View, was very kind, and did not charge us for the unplanned night in Chicago. They have a generous 48 hr cancelation policy, but could have charged us. We booked directly, which helped that issue, and also got us a discount.
There is no buffet breakfast currently. The coffee was much cheaper than Starbucks, and the breakfast good, but portions were not large.
We did have a lunch at the Menora department store, Eating outside on the rooftop deck, which was very pleasant . The food court closes about 4:00pm, so it's not a (moderately) priced dinner option.
The nearby Coop-store had a cafeteria, and they close at 6:00pm, with moderate prices.
Outdoor Tables along the water got busy around 6:00pm, many folks having drinks, and started to clear out by 8:00pm.
Lucerne has a pleasant buzz, people are here, mostly Europeans, but there are no crowds or large tour groups blocking thoroughfares.
We took the hour boat to Vitznau, to meet the 30 minute train to Mt Rigi. The efficient Swiss have timed to boat and train to coordinate. Rigi was beautiful, a bit hazy, and weather quite pleasant. We were so happy the clouds cleared by the time we arrived at the summit. We took the 9:12 boat out and we're back in Lucerne by 1:40pm, for a jet- lag nap. Boat and cogwheel about 75% full. In the past I found food at the summit to be expensive and not great, so we bought sandwiches and pretzels at the coop store. The boat ride was tranquil and relaxing, and all completely covered by the Swiss Travel Pass.
Lucerne is mid- 70's, but feels warmer, probably because we brought long pants and long sleeves. Folks are out in shorts and summer clothes. No rain thus far.
No one has asked for our cdc cards. Mask-wearing is pretty good, noticed the 20-ish not wearing masks in the train station, but they do on the trains.
Moving onto Pontresina- to be continued.
Friday night there were fireworks over the lake, coming from the area around the Transportation Museum. I have no idea why.
Today, Saturday, there is a Farmers Market along the water, in front of the hotel- maybe we'll get cheese and bread here for breakfast .
It's very difficult typing everything on my phone- so pls excuse errors