Sunday, June 14, 2009

Europe Here I Come Part 4

Mt Titlis and Lucerne/Luzern Switzerland

Other peaks as seen from the summit of mt. Titlis.

The trip to Mt. Titlis was an optional trip meaning it wasn't included in the tour package. We had to pay an additioanl Euro40 each to enjoy the cable car ride up to the top of this mountain. At an altitude of 3020 meters or 10,000 ft, this mountain top enjoy snow all year round. Initially there were a few members who wanted to stay back and not join the trip but when the day came everybody was onboard the bus heading for the mountain. I guess being cooped up in the hotel room or roaming around the city of Luzern or Lucern as it is also known on your own ain't the better choice. The bus ride took us to the mountainous region of Switzerland.

Mt. Titlis is located near the town of Engelberg. Engelberg can be reached via road or train. The train ride will take about an hour. We were on a bus tour for the whole trip so of course we took the bus. When we reached the mountains only then that we experienced hairpin turns to reach this Alpine paradise. The bus ride wasn't as gut wrenching as the Raub - Kuala Kubu road via Gap, so none of us including the baby experienced any nauseating experience.

When we reached the cable car station, only four other busses were already there meaning the crowd have yet to arrive.While waiting for our tour leader to purchase our tickets, I scouted around the area and saw this beautiful clear stream discharging its waters into the nearby lake.

Love the sight of this chalet very much.

Our group waiting for our turn to ride the firt cable cars.

The view of the lowest level of cable cars.

There were four cable car rides in all. Three levels to reach the summit and the last one was to go down the other side of the summit to reach the skiing station.

The first section was from the base to the first station on the slope. The car for this section can accomodate four adults and upon exiting this one we had to ride in another bigger ones to reach the next level. This car can accomodate as many as 20 adults and the operator will ride with us and he has the duty to put on the music to keep us in the groove. On the day that we rode his car, he was playing Santana's music one of which was the famous Black Magic Woman. The huge wheels turning the cable to move the cars.
Engelbert town as seen from the cable cars.

The tracks on Titlis. I guess they are meant for skiers and trekkers, not common tourists like us.

First things first. We have to record that we were really 10,000 ft up on Mt. titlis.

That done I went to grab a chunk of snow and took a bite of it. Now it is confirmed that ice on top of Mt. Titlis tasted the same as the ones back home in Malaysia. if only we had brought along a bottle of syrup, we could be enjoying 'ayer batu kepal' like we did when we were children. Back then 'air' was spelt 'ayer'. Me taking a bite of snow.

We were on th etop of the world.

The other half in front of an igloo.

Tuan Haji Zakaria from Perlis reenacting his 'bersanding' in an igloo on top of Mt. Titlis.

A trueblue Kelantanese with his 'semutar'. Mekyam of new york has noted that this is history in the making as I must be the first man to wear a 'semutar' on the Alps. How great is that?

Jubilation after ascending a 10,000 ft mountain albeit with the help of cable cars. remeber a certain tourism minister fron an Asean country ascended to base camp of Mount Everest in a helicopter. Same difference right?

Some of the ladies in our group taking a group photograph.

To go to the skiing station requires another ride down a slope and cost another 9 Euro a person. I decided to forgo the ride as any slippage may result in a swelling of my joints and the trauma may put me out of action entirely. So forget about skiing, I am not going to do it.

There were more arrival of tourists and the mountain top was getting crowded. We did some body slides down a small slope. Doing these childish acts seems to enjoyable again when you are approaching 60's.
After that we headed for the cable car stations for the return journey. The first cable car down was a Rotair. It is considered the first rotating car where the riders can see a 360 degrees panorama when the car rotated. Since it was becoming cloudy, there was not much to see outside and our attention turned to Ana the car operator. I was eating some 'kerepak sagu' brought all the way from Malaysia. I gave Ana two pieces and she ate it.

She had this ecstatic look at the taste of the kerepek. When asked if she wanted more she said "Yes! Only that I feel ashmaed to ask for more" Of course I gave her more.
The bus ride back to Lucerne was a quiet one as most of us were enjoying the sight of the landscape. Some were still playing the experince of being on top of Mt. Titlis on their mind.
We had lunch in our room and did the solat for both Zuhur and Asar.
At 2.30 PM our local guide Rosemary came to take us for a walking tour of the city of Lucerne. This tourist city of 60,000 has all the old buildings intact. Switzerland was fortunate in that it was not involved in any wars and all the buildings reamain for all to see and enjoy.
Rosemary in dark glasses explaining to the group about Lucerne. She was very knowledgeable and very professional in her dissemination of information. Unfortunately I was easily distracted by many things around us such as the passing city train below.

A bicycle with a baby carriage in tow distracted me.

The briefing in front of Bucherer was where the Rolex and other quality merchandise were being sold.
A Rolex is synonymous with Switzerland thatis quality watches. A few of us bought their watches at this outlet as the selection available are wider though the price maybe higher than back home. Pak Zawi will make do with a Seiko Kinetic as it has been keeping good times both in Malaysia and Europe. What more can I ask for in a watch?

One of the staff initially told ma that I can take photograph inside as long as they are not of the watches. Another staff later told me I can't even take any photograph. Anyway the Saworski crystals were already taken and they allowed me to keep that.
The beautifully painted restaurant.

Riverside cafe and hotels.

Colorful flowers always make a patio great looking.

The Chapel Bridge is the oldest wooden bridge in Europe as it was built in 1333. The bridge which span the Reuss River in Luzern is 204 meters long. Due to a freak accident involving a boat in 1993, it was gutted down by fire some years ago and it was rebuilt using wood. Many old paintings dating back to the 17th fcentury found on the bridge were also destroyed.
One of the paintings that survived the fire.

Fast flowing clear blue water of the Reuss River passing right through Lucerne.
Swans and ducks thrive on the river. (Thanks to Ee Lynn for correcting me that they were swans and not geese)

Riverside cafes
A stretched limusine (a Mercedez no less) for a newly wedded couple infront of a church in the city.

Pak Zawi captured the occassion on camera.

There are other bridges nearby. Pedesterians dont have to go far to cross the river to theother side of town.
The final briefing before we were allowed to go on our own to roam the city as it wasn't very far from our hotel. Shopping was the order of the day.

The group photograph on the steps leading to the river and bridge. Pak Zawi is of course behind the camera.

I saw this girl playing this instrument. Can anybody name it? Mekyam correctly noted it as a Swiss harp. The side profile clearly shows the harpsicord like strings on the instrument. Awang Goneng gave it more specific names. The little girl ran away when I tried to photograph her.
A girl enjoying a quiet smoke caught my attention.

This couple must be exchanging phone numbers. Finally on the way back to the hotel, the other half stopped to buy some souvenirs. I was surprised to see an Asian face manning the counter. My initial guess she was a filipina. I was totally wrong as she was from Thailand and had been here since 9 years ago. I asked her if she married a local. She said no, still single and available. Any bachelors heading for Lucerne, please look her up. An Asian beauty stands out like a shining star among the caucasians. If you know a few words of the Thai language, the ice can be broken faster.

The next post will be about Paris.


Kak Teh said...

Pak Zawi, this reminds me of my trip to Mont Blanc - a breathtaking experience!

Pak Zawi said...

Kak Teh,
Being based in Europe you must have all sort of similar experiences with whatever that I have. Soon I will be relating the Eifel Tower light show in Paris. I may have to borrow your youtube to illustrate hehehehe.

cakapaje said...

Salam Pak Zawi,

Peewit! That must have been a fantastic trip! Swiss Alps has always been on my list as one of the most beautiful places. Though I have to go there, reading your entries made it as though I'm there already, thank you.

Oh, the instrument. I think its Gambus. Hehe, just kidding :)

vt.chia said...

hi zawi...

we went by train to mt titlis from zurich (coming in from vienna) if i remember correctly... we were not on group tour but on our own pace travelling around europe by eurorail... i can also remember the visit to the lion monument in luzern where i bought my first swiss knife... and i can also remember the exorbitant (to malaysian standard) price of food in switzerland... thanks for the memory... hope to see you soon in kota baru when you are back after your tour...

kbguy (福生) said...

This post is more xciting. I love the photos, the ice and the Thai girl. Got her email address ??????

Oldstock said...

Pak Zawi tak jadi pegi skiing ye... heheheh, smart decision.

Ada jugak orang yg beli jam Rolex kat Lucerne tu ye? Pak Zawi setia dengan jam Seiko je nampaknya. Takpe la... saya pun setakat jam Casio, waktu yang diberi sama je dgn jam yg lebih mahal :-)

Pak Zawi said...

You must go there one day. Don't take too long otherwise the beauty in the last pic maynot be there anymore though Mt. Titlis will forever be waiting for you. Just do Luzern cos she is there.

Pak Zawi said...

You really had an adventure in Europe then. I really enjoy doing a trip on our own going by the nose. Didn't know food were expensive there as we cooked our own to save some money.
I hope you still have my number. Anyway it is 019 9125647. Call me when you reach KB.

Pak Zawi said...

I didn't dare to be hamsak with the Thai girl cos my wife was beside me. I can give you the direction to her shop though if you are going there.

Pak Zawi said...

Tak jadi pegi skiing bab kena 9 Euros sorang lagi.
Ada member yang beli Chopard. Dia akata better selection there. When you have the money why care about the price?
I use my watch to show the time and not as a dress.

uncleawang said...

Wow!!!kawasan main skii tu yang best.
Bila agak nya nak sampai sana??by the way Thanks for sharing.

Pak Zawi said...

Kawan yang sampai kat tempat main ski tu pun tak main bab bila dah turun dengan tiub nak kena drag up the tube naik slope. lagi pula nak kena tambah 9 Euro lagi tu, X 2 dah jadi 18 Euro, tak main pun tak apa la.
You are most welcome especially when you are enjoying it. I will keep on posting as long as there are people who appreciates it.

AuntieYan @ Makcik Blogger said...

Salam Pak Zawi...

....dok baca cerita Pak Zawi sambil gigit jari... :-)

Patricia said...

Hey Zawi, looks like you're having a great time :)

I like what you say about watches - 'to tell the time'! That's cool!!!

I say something similar about my car - it has four wheels and it gets me there. What more can I ask for? ;)

Carry on having a good time abroad!

mekyam said...

go semutar kelatae! i dare say that's probably the first one ever in the history of mankind to grace the alps. :D

LOL @ "ayer batu kepal"! [kat sini shaved ice with syrup are called snow cones, tapi served in cups and never kepal'ed.]

pok wi, i think it was very wise not to attempt the skiing. an injury would have spoilt the rest of your vacay.

luzern & engelberg looked very picturesque indeed.

future phenomenon said...

salam tumpang ziarah. jika ada yang berminat dengan teori konspirasi, sejarah nusantara yang hilang, sufism, kebangkitan akhir zaman..sila lah ke

harap salam ukhwah akan bertaut demi masa depan..sekian

Pak Zawi said...

Auntie Yan,
Usahla gigit jari, join je la kita orang on the next trip. Most probably akan pergi ke Easter Europe. next year probably.

Pak Zawi said...

We definitely had a good time. when the other half retires at the end of next year, we will be able to travel even more as there are more packages being offered during the non peak period.
I am just being practical about anything, something cheaper but serve the purpose will do for me. Further more I tend to lose things whatmore with senility getting the better of me hehehehe.

Pak Zawi said...

I must have made history by being the first man to wear 'semutar' on Mt Titlis or anywhere on the Alps. never thought of that! thanks to you for reminding me. I will have to redo the caption.
Dato' lat is another person who used to enjoy ice kepal in his young days.
Yes it was a wise move indeed and the move saved me 18 Euros hahahaha. Me the cheapskate.

Uncle said...

Dear Pak Zawi.
Breathtaking! I did try skiing at Saas Fe before and came back blue black that lasted for 2 weeks! Not a very good experience indeed!

Anonymous said...

Seronoknyeeee tengok Pok Zawi touring europe. Berapa gak wei belanjo semo sekali. Beraso geram jugok kito nak gi getek.

Breheng Bemban, Kangkong

Pak Zawi said...

Breheng Bemban,
The package price costs RM9246.00 that covers airfares, bus tours and Eurostars Railway from Brussels to London. All breakfast at hotels and other meals on our own. RM200 discount for those above 55 yrs old is given. Optional tours Mt Titlis Euro40, Madamme Tussaud Pound 22.5, Canal Cruise in Amsterdam at Euro 10. ! Euro = RM4.60. Duit poket bawa la RM5,000 lagi untuk membeli belah. Ambo habis RM25K untuk 2 orang.

Pak Zawi said...

Shahrir (Uncle),
Suffering from gout, I did the right thing by not skiing. Otherwise I will suffer a trauma that will not allow me to walk at all and spoil the rest of the tour since they all involve a lot of legwork.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

omg, check out the hot chica behind the counter. no, i mean, check out the cool dude with the snowboard...hehehe...

personally i like the picture of the river stream. imagine if there was such a beauty in our country, in no time squatter homes will be erected along the banks.

mekyam said...

pok wi,

the musical insturment the lady is playing in the photo with the little girl, i believe it's a swiss harp.

couldn't make out the strings at first because of the photo angle.

Awang Goneng said...

Pak Zawi,

The elaborate fold and magnificent pile of your semutar make you look more like the Wali of Swat (in Pakistan) than the Pok Zawi of Jalè Pintu Pong (in Kelatè). I have enjoyed reading about your travels and am happy to have met you when you stopped in Londra, semutaless, I regret to say. And thanks for the one you gave me. I shall try it out one day, but first you must write on the 1001 ways of semutaring.

Just a guess: that instrument the lady is playing, could it be a scheitholt (dulcimer)? It could be a hammer dulcimer, but then she's strumming, not hammering, so perhaps Mekyam is right.

Pak Zawi said...

it really amaze me that whenever there is a water body be it a lake or a pond, there will be some form of a fauna making it a home. Water birds are the common species.
You are right, such clean streams will attract the squatters. Our authorities seems to be helpless in trying to control them and prefer to close an eye and collect rents instead.

Pak Zawi said...

yes it was a stringed instrument and definitely a harp. A Swiss harp should be apt. Thanks for the info.

Pak Zawi said...

Awang Goneng,
Trying to tie the semutar with gloved hands was useless. it was too cold for me to remove the glove and thus couldn't tighten it better. Using a brand new piece of 'kain batik lepas' or 'kain batik barat' as you call it was very trying. Anyway making history as the first man wearing a semutar was a feat by itself.
I would rather let eloquent you to write that piece about the 'semutar' as it will reach an even bigger audience and the literary level will reach a higher pedestal. let us give AG the honour of doing the piece and Pak Zawi will give the list of uses to AG to dwell on.
I will google on the names of the intrument provided by you and mekyam to confirm the intrument. The simpple name of Swiss harp should suffice at the moment. It was definitely a harp as the strings were similar to the harpsichord.
To have met AG and his spouse in London and treated to dinner was an honour for me and my spouse.

edelweiss said...

Pok Zawi,

supo filem hindi .... dilwale dulhania le jayengge...

Salute lah .... u r one true kelantanese lah pakai semutar kat on the alps!!!!...

hehehh keno tunjuk ko my hubby nih...

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Salam Abang Zawi!

Sorry that you had to miss skiing. Still, you got to taste snow, play in an igloo and do bodysurfing on a snow slope. What fun!

I love the photos. The candid wedding photos are great! I love the clean stream too, of course, and look forward to the day when KL can boast of the same. God knows what happened to the RM1 billion pledged by YTL to clean up the rivers of KL. All gone into their marketing campaigns and to put Yeoh's daughter's face all over the local papers, I suppose.

Abang Zawi, I think those are swans, not geese. Although both are closely related, the swan has a patch of black unfeathered skin between the eyes and bill. The goose is usually feathered throughout.

I have never seen a musical instrument like that either but it sure looks fascinating!

Best regards,

Tommy Yew said...

Wah Pak Zawi, I can see u really2 feel on top of the world. Must be worth every sen u spent on this trip. Lovely scenery snapshots u took but I can’t help to notice u got roving eyes too….heheh, those photos of damsels, girl with harp, girl smoking, girl in souvenir shop, girl in cable car, girl with boyfriend, girl getting married, etc. Don’t know whether your Makcik notices, but I think u took them photos sub consciously ??

The only swiss watch I can afford is a Swatch (that I got a collection), tho I kinda like the Jaeger lecoultre reverso with a perpetual calendar watch that they tried to sell me once. Aiyoh very painful if I were to part with that kind of hard earned money. Did u visit any chocolate factory there?


Pak Zawi said...

Balik P Mas nanti datang la rumah ye.

Pak Zawi said...

Ee Lynn,
We all definitely enjoyed ourselves. It was the highlight of the tour and worth the Euro 40 we paid to go up the mountain.
YTL is a business outfit, they will get the most out of every sen they spent. Anyway no amount of money can keep our rivers clean as long as our people continue to regard our rivers as sewrage.
I will make correction as per the swan.
Mekyam has noted the musical instrument as a Swiss Harp.

Pak Zawi said...

Tommy yew,
My other half do notice it but she didn't seem to mind or pretend not to mind hehehehehe.
Actually I have a Swiss watch, just a Rado anyway given to me by my Cooperative which I chaired for several years and the gift was at retirement. Never wear it so I gave it to my son. I would have worn it if it was a Rolex hahahaha.
We did visit a chocolate factory while in Brussels Belgium.

Tommy Yew said...

Pak Zawi,
If I wear a Rolex King, people will think I'm an Ah Long or a pimp, if u wear one, people will think u r a corrupted government official, if Muthu wear one, people will think it's a knockoff from Thailand, heheh...sorry if I offended anyone, joke2 only mah. Oh or worst still nanti hand kena chopped off too!!


Pak Zawi said...

Tommy Yew,
We all should take it as a joke.
if I were to wear an original Rolex they would never believe it's originality. If i can prove that it was really an original they would think that I have squandered my pension gratuity or EPF withdrawals. During my service with the government I was never in a position to be bribed with a Rolex, whatmore a Rolex King hehehehe.

svllee said...

Hey PAk Zawi! Just reading your Grand European trip, from Kak Teh's blog and hopped over here. If I was in London then I would have loved to meet up. I just came back from Malaysia.

I share a Seiko Kinetic like you do ;-) best watches!

Pak Zawi said...

I was thinking of the same thing while in London, meeting you there would have been a bonus.
You wear a Seiko Kinetic too? 'Someday all watches will be made that way' is what the Seiko people says. I thought you would be wearing a Rolex or an Omega at least being a top photographer in London.

kbguy (福生) said...

droping by to say hi to the Thai girl again..

svllee said...

Hey, I hate changing batteries in watches, it always go wrong after doing so, hence I got me and the missus Kinetics. It's never failed me yet. Rolex? How can I have a watch that is more pricey than my cameras! Might get my hand chopped off in some back alley somewhere ! I have heard stories like that before.

Pak Zawi said...

Lim (KBguy),
You better make Lucerne your nect destination of travel. Polish up on you Thai language and she will be following you back to malaysia on your flight home. Puyin suai mak mak.
Stay at the hotel where I stayed and her shop is just a walking distance from the hotel. Should you decide to go, I will give you the direction to her shop hahahaha.

Pak Zawi said...

In your line of work, the cameras are more important than watches. Afterall the kinetics keep a good time as any Swiss watches. Mine has been serving me fine since 11 years ago. So why change?
The prospect of being robbed of your Rolex and have your hand chopped off (even if you are wearing a fake) is so real especially if you are a tourist walking alone in the back lanes of a redlight area of Paris, Amsterdam or London looking for a suitable subject to shoot (with the cameras of course!). I skipped those places even though I was very keen to do it and I was in the vicinity. They are a great subject of study. Maybe you should do it if you haven't done it.

Life for Beginners said...

Oh I miss all that snow... I've visited Switzerland before but my favourite ski slope is still Kitzbuehel in Austria. :)

P.S. Thanks for dropping by my blog with your kind words!

Pak Zawi said...

Thanks for the reciprocal visit.

kbguy said...

Kinetic watch,,, you have to adjust the time after a week or two. They either moved 10 to 15 minutes faster or slower.
Anyway, time to update your blog with Paris, Mr Zawi. Can't wait to see more and hear from you !!! Perhaps you have some more 'puying' from Paris.

Pak Zawi said...

You must have bought your Seiko Kinetic from the pasar malam. Mine never deviate by more than a few seconds a month.
For My Pasir Mas, I am getting very lazy nowadays because of LAISI which I am updating more often.

H J Angus said...

Glad to know U had a good trip to Europe - it's nice to travel with family and friends.
I know you promote good English and so wish to advice a few minor errors in this post.
Re the pretty lass in the shop, you made a wrong guess.
Ladies from the Philippines are called Filipinas; the guys are Filipinos.
She is still "available" - just a typo.
Keep writing - Congrats on a good following!

Pak Zawi said...

H J Angus,
Thanks for the correction. I am most grateful. It's been awhile since we crossed each others path.