The Rigi is probably the most Swiss of the Swiss mountains: not the highest, not the most famous, but special. In the centre of the country, with a view to the Alps and far into Germany. The Rigi is my mountain. I grew up in her shadow, did my skiing on her slopes (yes, the Rigi is female!) assisted my father during the Rigi Schwingen and helped my uncle (once) to bring his cows up to the mountain pasture for the summer months.
Becoming an adult I felt there was a bit too much shadow in my little town, very little sun in wintertime, the valley a bit too narrow. I moved away from the Rigi. This June, I came back, we spent our month in Switzerland on the Rigi, in Rigi Kaltbad. A dear friend let us live in her vacation flat. Not a cabin, not a hytte – but the flat with probably the best view in Switzerland. It sits on 1400 meters, 1000 meter over the Vierwaldstättersee (not correctly also called Lake of Lucerne). From the big terrace you look straight down to the lake and ahead at the Alps. A wow-view during the day and at night! And even during bad weather (also biggest parts of June), the clouds and the fog, the lightning and the rainbows put up a big show.
Whatever makes the Rigi attractive – the views, the fresh air, the cows – was already there in the big times of tourism, at the end of the the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century. Four to five Grand Hotels were filled with rich Swiss and international tourists. Two cog railways (the one from Vitznau being the first in Europe) and a mountain tram made it easy for them to reach their destination without climbing or even hiking. When I was a child taking the railway to the top was not the thing to do. Only the one who had walked up could really enjoy the air and the views.
On 2016 I come back here as a tourist. And I see more. The grass is greener, the view more spectacular, there are more flowers and rocks. I film the railway, the cows, the squirrel and the view. Things that used to be normal.
And on the second or third day I made an observation: I had a strong feeling of being at ease, of being home – sitting in the fresh air, the concert of the cowbells in my ear. Yes, I am a tourist that has come home – for a few weeks.