About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Swiss Transportation Museum

We woke up this morning at 8am, showered and got ready for the day. Our host served us a breakfast of cereal, cheese, meat, bread and juice.

We headed out, taking the bus to the train station. We walked over to the boat docks to see about buying tickets for a dinner cruise. The ‘Spaghetti Cruise’ was sold out, so we booked a cruise with an ala carte menu.

We jumped on another bus and took it out to the Swiss Transportation Museum. We bought combo tickets so that we could see and IMAX film about the Alps.

The outer walls of the museum are decortated with all sorts of wheels.

I spotted some trains and 1/87th vehicles in the museum gift shop and ended up buying something for myself and something that will end up in Blodgett someday. Brandon bought an EasyJet diecast plane to add to his collection.

We started in the train building. There were so many trains to look at: passenger trains, streetcars, incline trains, steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, and even an HO layout of the Swiss Alps.

Many photos of trains.

Swiss HO layout.

After finishing the trains, we went out into the courtyard so that Brandon could ride a peddle bike around a street course. They also had a construction area with peddle dump trucks, diggers, rocks, sand and gravel, as well as some roads that needed work. Brandon had a great time with all of this.

Street course for kids to learn the rules of the road.

Having fun playing construction.

We headed into the building with airplanes. They have a lot of airplanes on display inside the museum. Outside, in the courtyard, they have two SwissAir passenger jets on display. We wandered through this building looking at the models, real planes , balloons, and blimps. Upstairs they had a nice display of physical tests astronauts must pass to go into space. They also had a full size replica of one module from the International Space Station.

The museum had many planes and models on display.

Inside one of the Swiss Jets.

Brandon learning how hot air balloons work.

Brandon testing his readiness for space.

It was time for us to head to the IMAX theater. We watched ‘Di Alpin’. It was the story of the Alps and one man’s adventure to conquer the north face of the Eiger, the same route that killed his father 40 years ago. It was a great movie. We all enjoyed it very much.

After the movie we went to the cafeteria for lunch. I had some pizza. Katrina had soup and Brandon had a bratwurst.

After lunch we headed to the building with ships and the map room. We immediately went up to the third floor to see the giant floor map of Switzerland. I’m not sure what the scale is, but the entire floor is the map. We had to put on special Swiss slippers so as not to scuff up the map. Brandon had fun searching for Murren and Luzern and the Matterhorn.

Brandon searching for Murren on the giant floor map.

We moved downstairs to look at the ships and models of ships, as well as some trams, funiculars and ski lifts. The building was pretty hot, so we didn’t stay long.

Next, we headed into the automobile building. What an interesting building. We all expected to just see a big display of cars that you must walk around to see. Instead, one wall tall 3 story wall was lined with large racks of cars stacked all the way to the ceiling. An automated lift moved back and forth along the wall picking cars out that people the audience had chosen. It would grab a shelf with the car, bring it down to the display area, slide it off onto a round platform, then rotate the car as descriptions were given. Totally cool!

Automated vehicle picker.

Selection of vehicles for viewing.

Vehicle on revolving viewing stand.

Picking a new vehicle for viewing.

On the second floor they had some slot cars you could race by answering questions correctly about various forms of energy, etc. There was also a kids play area with die cast cars, roads, buildings. Brandon really enjoyed this area. Oh, and downstairs they had these clear display tubes with displays of all the Matchbox cars ever made. The tubes were moving along a track above our heads. We could pick a tube number and the automated track would eventually move the tube down an elevator to a viewing area. Also very cool!

An old city bus from Zurich.

Mobile grocery store.

Old city bus display.

Enjoying the play area.

Our next stop was the last train building to see a section we missed earlier. At this point we were hot and tired. Brandon wanted to play in the construction section again, so we found an umbrella to sit under while he played. Katrina read. I finally got up and played around on the scooters. They had racks of scooters near each building entrance. All sorts of sizes and shapes of scooters. Visitors could just grab one and ride in the plaza.

More trains.

Brandon and I enjoyed the scooters.

More construction work to be done.

Around 6pm, when the museum was closing, we left and decided to walk along the lakefront back to downtown. We had about 45 min before we needed to be at the boat docks for our dinner cruise. The lake is very popular with swimmers, sunbathers and people biking or strolling. We walked, taking breaks in the shade to cool off. Brandon talked us into a pre dinner ice cream cone.

We reached the boat docks just in time for boarding. The staff showed us to our table and we perused the menu. Katrina and I both decided to have the all you can eat salad bar. Brandon had fish and chips. The salad bar was very good, with some interesting German options. We were eating before we were even cruising on the lake. Eventually the ship got going and we enjoyed a nice cruise. Later in evening Brandon enjoyed a cup of ice cream. Katrina and I shared a bowl of vanilla ice cream with warm cherry sauce and whipped cream.

Lake Luzerne

We had an absolutely beautiful sunset on our return trip to Luzern. The boat arrived back at the dock around 9:45pm. We crossed the street, hopped on a bus back to our room.

Beautiful sunset.

It was another exhausting and very wonderful day in Switzerland. I’m going to miss the Swiss and will plan on returning as soon as we can.

One tired 8 year old.

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