Friday, October 29, 2010

Swiss Rail Tour

Our Swiss Rail Tour with IRT and Great Rail Journeys started in London with a Eurostar train to Cologne where we spent the first night.  The hotel was a 2 minute walk to the cathedral so we had a quick look before it got too dark to see (hence no pictures!)  

The next day we went to St Mortiz via the Euro-City along the Rhine for much of the way.  Lovely scenery.
Our first excursion out of St Moritz was on the narrow gauge Bernina Express to Tirano in Italy and we were able to travel in this old Pullman coach which had been very lovingly restored inside.

 This lake marks the divide of the watershed in Europe.  Again spectacular views of the mountains.
 Going down the valley into Tirano was breathtaking.  I'll have to stop using all these adjectives, but we were lucky with the weather and to see the snowcapped mountains surrounding the valley was beautiful.
 This little section of track is a world heritage site.  It's quite old and a very tight circle for the train to turn on.
 A small section of the old part of Tirano.  The local dish there is pizzoccori which we enjoyed for lunch-pasta made with buckwheat, and mixed with cabbage and potatoes and cheese, then baked.  Delicious!
 There we are standing on Piz Nair overlooking St Moritz.  Lots of snow up top, but the ski season hasn't quite started.
 And the view of St Moritz from across the lake at the foot.  A lovely hour's walk around the lake.  To save trekking up the roads to the hotels, the town has installed elevators and escalators to get people up to the main section - it would have been quite the hike otherwise to get to our hotel (the Monopol - very nice).
Our next train trip was the Glacier Express and on our arrival in Zermatt we passed this lovely old building on our way to our hotel (the Park hotel Beau Site) -another excellent one.
 Zermatt has a section in town of these old buildings- and many more can be seen up the mountain side.
 The cog railway up to Gornergrat took us to the top where we were able to sit outside and enjoy the scenery - so many glaciers and when the clouds are gone (which they weren't) a view of the Matterhorn.
 And this was the train.
 Another outing had us on the train to Stresa on Lake Maggiore in Italy.  Our tour of the lake was cancelled due to the races of these gigantic boats.  Lots of noise and rooster tails, and we watched one race but that was more than enough.

 And finally the Matterhorn!  We knew it was there all along, but clouds were constantly covering all or part of it.  On our last day we took three gondolas up to Kleine Matterhorn and instead of taking the last one down, we walked - it was a glorious day and it was definitely Heidi country.
 On top of Kleine Matterhorn
 If you look really hard, you will see the ski tows and skiiers  below.  They drop down from where I am standing to take the picture and ski on the glacier year round.

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Rajasthantraveling said...
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