Switzerland is home to many of the world’s most impressive mountain views, the most famous among them being the Jungfrau and the Matterhorn. Less famous, and therefore less touristed, is Fronalpstock, a mountain situated in the Schwyzer Alps. Atop this mountain there is a small village and ski town called Stoos, boasting only around 100 inhabitants. Though this mountain is not the most popular attraction for American tourists, it’s become a must see for us for a couple reasons: compared to the tourist trap that is the Jungfrau and Interlaken, Stoos is unfettered by the same horde of visitors. The view from the top is also very unique, providing a stunning overlook of the four lakes in the Lucerne region. We were able to watch as the fog slowly rose up from the lakes throughout the morning while petting some friendly mountain goats. The mountain also features the steepest funicular railway in the world for those who seek out feats of ingenuity on their holidays
Only a two hour drive from Fregiécourt (where Rachel’s Swiss cousins live), we hopped in the car by 7am to make the most of our day. We drove through the Swiss mountains, unabashedly listening to our favorite band, ABBA. Half of our route took us through a system of mountain tunnels, which had us wondering why are there so many tunnels in Switzerland? (Answer: because there are so many mountains)
As we approached, even from below the summit, the views were breathtaking. We’ve both been to the Alps previously, but there’s something about them that makes every time like the first time. We arrived at the railway and prepared for the steep ride up the mountain. Lauren, a little afraid of heights (to be fair, a gradient of 110% is nothing to scoff at), had some anxiety about the ascent. The ride turned out to be pretty anticlimactic; the barrel-shaped carriages are designed with an inclination adjustment system that keeps the passengers horizontal the whole time, which often obscures the view due to the gyrating cars. We walked around the small village of Stoos and took a ski lift to get to the very top. We took our time soaking up the views, and enjoyed some cheese pie (to continue our all cheese diet) at the restaurant on top of the mountain. We then walked along the ridgeline and were so thankful to Rachel’s cousins for bringing us to this hidden gem.
After getting our fill (if that’s even possible?) of Fronalpstock, we decided to explore nearby Lucerne on our way back. Lucerne is a very old city situated on Lake Lucerne amidst snow capped alps that has managed to preserve its medieval architecture. The Kapellbrücke is a covered bridge featuring medieval art that divides the city, spanning the Reuss River diagonally. It was built in 1365 as part of the city’s fortifications, but has been renovated since a fire in 1993. The sides of the bridge were covered in the most beautiful geraniums which were only enhanced by the golden hour sunlight beaming down.
We strolled through the old city when suddenly the mood for fondue struck. To continue our “cheesecation”, we decided on a restaurant called Pfistern (try to pronounce it, we dare you) that dates back to the 16th century. We enjoyed our cauldron of fondue for “four people” (we’re not saying four people couldn’t and didn’t finish it, but we’re also not saying we’re especially proud of our appetites) with some Aperol spritzes, which were also a theme of our time in Switzerland. Rachel’s cousin, Patricia, is the authority on all things Aperol spritz, and now we can’t live without them. As we sat at our table next to the river laughing with our fun-loving Swiss guides, we knew this was one of those perfect moments. It so completely displayed the Swiss’ ability to take life slow and to live in the moment. We think that perhaps they’re on to something about this life thing.