Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887


A Pleasant Trip to the Rigi

Not alone was Ellen White interested in the spiritual health of the office workers in Basel, she was also happy to join them in wholesome recreation. Late in August she, her family, and a large group of office employees went on an all-day outing. Their destination was the Rigi, a group of mountains lying between Lakes Lucerne and Zug. The broad panoramic view from the top of these mountains is magnificent. After a sixty-mile train ride to Lucerne, they all took a steamer to Vitznau, where they boarded the sturdy little rack-and-pinion train for the ride up to the mountain. EGWE 214.3

“The Rigi is new, one of the most popular resorts of Switzerland,” Ellen White remarked. The view of the lake's “greenish, blueish waters,—is ... a most beautiful sight” (Manuscript 33, 1886). EGWE 214.4

She was fascinated by the little train that took them up the mountain. EGWE 214.5

“The car consists of one carriage holding fifty-four persons not divided into compartments. It is more like a city railway car. The gauge is that of ordinary railways. Between the rails in the center run two others close together provided with teeth on which a cog wheel under the locomotive works. The train is propelled upward by steam power.”—Ibid. EGWE 214.6

After twenty minutes of climbing, the train plunged into a tunnel, then burst into the light again to cross a deep ravine on a bridge supported by two iron pillars. EGWE 214.7

A little farther on they reached the station at Kaltbad. To their left was a large health resort. “This place looked interesting,” she noted, “and I would have much liked to have spent some hours here.”—Ibid. EGWE 214.8

Still farther up they reached Rigi-Staffel, where the rail line from the other side of the mountains joined the one on which they were traveling. Again she wished she could stay, but the train went on: EGWE 214.9

“We climb, climb higher and still higher until we become almost giddy and we have reached at last the summit. ... We had a nice chance to view the scenery. We looked down into canyons thousands of feet and where streams of water were running swiftly.”—Ibid. EGWE 214.10

Descending again, the cheerful group of workers found seats under the trees while they waited for the steamer. EGWE 215.1

“The steamer glides up to the landing, and we step on board. It is crowded so that it seems next to impossible to urge our passage in the closely packed crowd. The scenery on this Lake Lucerne is very beautiful but we see a shower arising. The muttering thunder and the lightning flash warn us to take shelter.... We hasten down before the crowd gets in motion; and there out of the cabin windows we see a most beautiful sight—the large drops of rain falling upon the smooth surface of the lake look like glittering diamonds. I never witnessed such a scene as this before.”—Ibid. EGWE 215.2

The rain was still pouring down when the steamer docked. Willie White tried to find a hack to take them to the railway station, but none was available. The schedule was close, and there was nothing to do but to hasten through the downpour to the station and catch the train for Basel. EGWE 215.3

The wet weather could not dampen their spirits, however, as Ellen White said: EGWE 215.4

“We were rather a wet, uncomfortable, sorry-looking set. Ella clapped her hands and in a joyous tone exclaimed, ‘Now Sara, aren't you glad you went to the Rigi? Sara, aren't you glad you went to the Rigi?’ We had a good laugh and tried to look at the matter in her light and drop out the dark colorings.”—Ibid. EGWE 215.5

Now it was time to lay plans for another long trip. Once again Ellen White was to become involved in the thick of preaching and counseling responsibilities. EGWE 215.6