Europe 14 - Day 11


This time I was up at 5.50am, early enough to catch the sunrise. I had also discovered the time-lapse feature in my camera, so I switched it on, sat the tripod outside and went back to bed. You can see the outcome as a short video file below. We walked back to the railway station for the Glacier Express to St Moritz. It was a long day but the whole adventure was superb. I was even interviewed on the train for Swiss television! At St Moritz we walked the short distance to the hotel. By this time the cloud had come down and it was snowing. A good hotel, handy to the railway station, wonderful view and with reasonable food (it should be for the price).

Sunrise on the Matterhorn

I set the camera to take photos at 30 second intervals and went back to bed to keep warm.

Matterhorn 6.08am.

The camera took 60 photos at 30 second intervals from 5.50am to 6.20am. To see the full effect of the sunrise on the Matterhorn, I have created short video. It runs for 18 seconds and you should be able to click on the image below.

If the video does not play, try downloading it: MP4 format

Zermatt to St Moritz - The Glacier Express

This train voyage had been billed as the highlight of our whole holiday. We had high expectations... The Man in Seat 61 describes the Glacier Express as "..Europe's slowest express, its a narrow-gauge train which takes 7½ hours [it took us 8.10 hours] to cover just over 290 km, at an average of around 40 km/h. But you won't mind, as spectacular Swiss mountain scenery unfolds outside the train's massive panoramic sightseeing windows while you eat lunch accompanied by crisp Swiss white wine.."

And that is exactly what we got !! But I think they could improve by using New Zealand white wine...

We got onto an almost empty train at Zermatt. We had booked First Class for the better seats, food and view and were the only people on our carriage, at first. The train made its way slowly down the valley to Brig where several large tour coaches were waiting, and the hordes descended. After a few minutes of chaos they all found their seats and we headed east for the long voyage to Chur.

Something that had puzzled me in the train descriptions was how it could go to Chur AND St Moritz. We found out. It bypasses St Moritz to get to Chur then changes engines and heads back to St Moritz on another line. Another time I would get off at Chur, stay there the night and get the Bernina Express from Chur the next day. If only they had explained that bit...

The engine waiting to take us back down to Brig
No doubt about it - it's the Glacier Express.
Heading out of Zernmatt.
Soon the staff came through and set all the tables - real glass and crockery.
Back down the valley.
Passing Tasch.
Gathering cloud, it could snow at Zermatt today.
Passing typical Swiss chalets.
Swiss goats.
Apple blossom.
A steep part of the track - the cogs were useful.
The track has tight corners...
and bridges.
But the road has bigger bridges.
Nearly back down to Brig.
After Brig the train follws the valley floor for a while.
Passing meadows full if flowers.
Road and rail.
The track now climbs passing many small villages on the hillside.
Chalets scattered across the valley side. Perhaps they are summer holiday houses!
A field full of buttercups.
Another small village.
This one is larger but they all have churches with steeples.
Plenty of snow on the mountains.
Another small church.
What else would you name the coffee from the Swiss Alps?
Not a lot of traffic around.
A small valley glacier.
"Hotel Restaurant Diana" - really??.
Chequerboard farming.
I saw a car flash by. Managed to photograph this one - car on a train.
The spring thaw and the snow was melting fast.
Approaching Andermatt.
Dropping back into the valley.
Building flood protection - wrong place to build the village at the mouth of the stream.
Village on the floor of the valley.
Closer to the snow up here.
The valley side covered with fences - to stop avalanches.
Heading into the snow.
Lunch time! Complete with full table service and "crisp" Swiss wine.
Oberalppass - at 2048 metres the highest point on the train line.
Down hill again.
Typical village. Many had a crane - new building work.
An alpine meadow - cows, with bells.
Coming into Disentis/Mustér.
They let us off while they changed engines.
Our old engine on right and the new red and green ones.
A reminder we are on the 1327 to St Moritz.
To prove she was there.
And so was he.
Coming into the village of Trun.
The Church in the middle of Trun.
Nearing the start of the Rhine Gorge.
A small hydro-electric station at Danis.
Almost into the Rhine Gorge.
The start of the Gorge and the large landslides of limestone.
Towards the end of the Gorge.
Swimming - in this weather?!!
After Chur, the line goes back towards St Moritz.
Passing castles in the air....
Cows don't get square meals any more here either....
A neat church on a hill.
We are heading for those snow-covered mountains.
But first a few viaducts.
This one looks bigger - it is the famous Landwasser Viaduct.
Gone... into the tunnel, and we will follow shortly.
What did you think of THAT?? !!.
Swiss Television - and I was next!.
What was that?... Where did they go?.
We left them on the platform.
Part of the Albula Spiral.
Hotel Preda Kulm.
Decorations on a house.
The Engadine Valley.
Nearing St Moritz.
We have arrived! The Railway Station at St Moritz.

St Moritz

We had departed Zermatt at 08.45am and we had arrived at St Moritz at 4.55pm, a total journey of 8.10 hours. It was a fantastic trip and well worth the time and cost. It was spectacular to do it in early May while there was still some snow around. It would be even better in the middle of Winter. I had booked into the Waldhaus Am See Hotel on the shore of the lake and only a few minutes walk from the station. We needed the walk after sitting on the train all day. The weather was overcast and looked like snow on the mountains above us. We had a lake view room in the hotel and it looked over the lake and the town. I then went for a short walk around part of the lake, there was a fresh wind and light snow that made it rather cold. Spring was only just arriving here, with a range of mountain flowers just appearing. So back to the hotel for dinner. At this time of year there are few guests, the skiers have gone home and the summer hordes have not arrived. The restaurant was nearly empty, the food was good but not wonderful, the waiter was odd, but the view was great.

Hotel of St Moritz from the train station.
Hotel La Marga.
Carlton Hotel.
Waldhaus Am See Hotel.
More of the snow-clad mountains.
Looking across the lake from our hotel room.
Its snowing up there - it was cold enough too!
The Glacier Express at St Moritz.
Our hotel from the path around the lake.
The path that circles the lake.
Spring had not arrived on the north-facing slopes.
Chalets and mountains.
Some small white dots....
were flowers.
White Gentians.
Purple Gentians.
An attempt at authenticity in the hotel.
The dining room. The view was the best part.
View from our room at night.


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Last updated: 02/10/2014