Exploring the world's built environments and seeking sustainable solutions.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

SCONES’s last days in Europe

We arrived at our last city yesterday afternoon, and in many way’s it was as if the best was saved for last.  Lucerne is one of Switzerland’s beautiful lake cities, with much of the things we’ve come to love in Europe, such as walkability and beautiful architecture.  What makes this city especially outstanding is that not only does it surround a beautiful lake, but it is enclosed by the Swiss Alps! 
We enjoyed our last guest lecturer yesterday evening, Laura Adams, who is an environmental scientist living in Switzerland and collaborating on a lake restoration project.  Her team is working to provide sollutions for the de-eutrification of a lake involving private as well as public partnerships.  One of their focuses for the project is to generate income from the excess phosphorus, which is the main cause of eutrophication due to agricultural run-off.  Some of the possible income generators could be burning the sludge collected from dredging the lake and selling the ash to farmers.  

Another potential income generator could be creating retention ponds for catails and using the dredged sludge for fertilizer, then selling harvested catails to facilitieis to use them to create biofuels.  Laura will b coming to UC Davis this fall to pursue a graduate degree in hydrology.  We’ll be looking for her!

The next morning we gathered together after enjoing our most luxuriest breakfast of the trip ( and our first hotel stay) to set off for an Alpine adventure climbing  Mount Rigi, ’the queen of the mountians’.  But before we tackled the 5000ft above sea level mountain, we traveled across Lake Lucern by ferry.  
Early morning on the clear sparkling calm waters, we took in the the spectacular views of the Alps around us. We were all a little awestruck and very excited.  The adventure ahead would involve a mountain cog wheel train, a fairly challenging and steep hike and a gondala ride on the return trip back.  Not a bad way to end a wonderful experience abroad in Europe!

Our cog wheel train waits for us to board and begin our ascent up the mountain. 
The ride is a series of one 
beautiful view folowed by another!