When I think of the Alps, I automatically think of Switzerland first. But did you know that all of Switzerland's Alps cover only about 14% of the total Alps. Nope, not me either. The Alps are huge in land mass, going through 7 countries, but what makes Switzerland unique is how much of it is covered with Alps, like 65%, and that it contains some of the biggest and most impressive Alps, like the Matterhorn. The train trip from Milan to Lucerne is a perfect way to see some of the most impressive parts of these mountains in a relatively short 3.5 hours from the comfort of your warm train seat. After our disappointing lunch stop in Milan, we jumped on an IC train heading north to Lucerne (again randomly picked for size, location, and what little I could quickly deduce from my big guide book). The route slowly meanders through the plains around Milan before beginning a slow climb into the first of the 2 Alps on the trip, the Italian Alps before crossing over into Switzerland near Lake Como at Chiasso. This is where things really start to get interesting and Alpine looking through this narrow section of Italian Alps before making the border crossing into Switzerland. The route then continues a long slow climb before reaching the famous Gotthard pass, then descending to Lucerne, or you could stay on the train and go on to Zurich. This is a fantastically dramatic few hours that would be worth the round trip for a day trip even if you were just based around one end or the other. You see everything in a short time from classic Italian villages and flat farmland, glaciers, beautiful Alpine lakes, to snow covered mountain peaks with Swiss villages of half timbered houses and farms in this dramatic high country.