Articles about Echo Trails and our tours
Once a year, on the eve of Dec. 6, St. Nicholas Day, the town of Küsnacht-am-Rigi, a medieval picturesque village outside of Lucerne puts on a “Klausenjagt”; litteral translation “St. Nicholas Chase”.
This is a unique procession dating back to pre-Christian pagan times attended each year by about 20,000 people, consists of a parade of around 1,500 participants, and lasts far into the night.
The procession is organised in six stages.
- First come men cracking long two-handed sheep whips.
- Next come men wearing Iffelen or Infuln, which are enormous, incredibly ornate paper hats which resemble a cross between a bishop’s mitre and a stained glass window, lit from the inside by candles, and as much as seven feet tall.
- Behind them is St. Nicholas himself, with four attendants in black robes and hoods known as Schmutzlis, who hand out pastries.
- After them comes a brass band playing the traditional Klaus song, followed by a large group ringing trycheln, large bells which are descendants of cow bells.
- Lastly, the entire procession is followed by men blowing cow horns. Participants and watchers then generally head on to celebrations in local taverns.
What does this all have to do with ECHO Trails?
You see the medieval village on a number of our Day tours.
June in Switzerland
The clean forest smells, the rustling sounds of the melting snow and the sprouting meadow flowers makes a visit to the Swiss Alps in June a special experience.
Here’s what Chuck wrote about his experience:
Fantastic and amazing four-day circuit hike
If you can possibly do so, this fantastic four day circuit hike (out and back from Lucerne) is worth building your entire Swiss vacation around.
Echo Trails sets up hotel stays along a hiking circuit around the far end of Lake Lucerne, your luggage is transferred from place to place for you, and you are free to hike the amazing and tranquil trails far far from the crowds of Mt Rigi or Mt Pilatus carrying only a day pack. The ‘hard’ part of the hikes (i.e. the big uphill sections) are by cable car or cog railway, leaving you free to hike along a combination of spectacular Alpine trails as well as lakefront trails without feeling over exerted.
I did this hike along with my grown (27 year old) son. We’re both in decent shape but not avid joggers or cardio exercise nuts and we felt perfectly comfortable with the amount of energy the daily hikes took, even given the altitudes involved.
The first day is with a guide so that you feel comfortable with the (excellent) trail signage. After that you’re on your own through alpine meadows, local villages, and nature preserves, and with a variety of options each day to make your hike more strenuous or more relaxing, whichever you’re in the mood for.
Plus, you end up using lake steamers, cable cars, cog railways, and in one stretch a surprisingly luxurious local ‘postal’ bus to get around between hiking segments which adds a fun element to the whole thing.
The hotels ranged from a simple village establishment, to a fully renovated Belle Epoque grand hotel on the lake, to a modern hotel with a gigantic and amazing super modern hot mineral bath complex halfway up Mt. Rigi.
Echo Trails thought of everything, down to supplying a mobile phone in case of questions or confusion (which we never felt the slightest need to use).
I just can’t say enough good things about this circuit hike. We took what seems like approximately one million photos as the scenery and views were spectacular at each turn of the trail.
An amazing and memorable experience.
Truly worth building your vacation around.
I would give this ten stars if I could – it was that good.