Sunday, November 01, 2015

Bernina Express and St Moritz

This is the highlight of the holiday and the reason why I choose this package. We woke up at 5.30am and dressed up appropriately for the trip. Took a 15 mins stroll by the lake to Villa Carlotta and back to the dining hall 6.30am sharp for a quick breakfast. Perhaps subconsciously I was preparing for the cold weather later in the day but I really like to enjoy the Lake early before sunrise to get the feel of the atmosphere. At 7.00am we meet the group at the lobby to board the coach for St Moritz. We left punctually at 7.10am. Dawn was just about to break. Our seats have rotated again I I chose the window seat so I can snap pictures along the way. The drive is northward towards Tirano. This is going to be a long drive day. Along the way we saw the hillsides scattered with houses, elevated roads and vineyards. There are very few cattles. Saw no sheeps and no agricultural activities.

From the hotel to Tirano the ride took nearly 2 hours over 101km drive. We arrived the train station in Tirano at 9.05am and boarded the 10.02am train to St Moritz. Bought some souvenir fridge magnets from a stall outside the station. An hour later the train stopped at Alp Grum scenic lookout and we disembarked to take lots of photos with the snow and majestic alpine mountains in the distance. At 11.40am we left for St Moritz arriving 12.30pm to a stupendous weather with good sun and blue skies. So the Bernina Express had taken 2 hours 35 minutes over 142km to scale the Swiss Alps to the summit at Ospizio Bernina before descending to St Moritz (inside Swiss border). Being within the EU there was no border checks but we brought along our passports just in case. St. Moritz is well know for winter sport vacation. It was the host city for the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics. It also hosted the 1934, 1974 and 2003 Alpine Skiing World Championships. Thanks to its favorable location, St. Moritz enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year.

Andrew led us through the car park where the coach will be waiting for us at 2.30pm. He took us up 3 escalators to the city level where we found a cafe, Hauselman, to have hot soup (€9 x 3) and ordered salami croissant, scone and pretzel (total €11.60) to eat. Later we explored the lake. Took lots of photos on the way and in St Moritz itself. Apart from tourists there's hardly any activities in the city. Perhaps it is nearing winter and most of the tours are winding down.

We said goodbye to St Moritz and left at 2.30pm for the hotel. The driver took a different, shorter and windy route home and arrived the hotel at 5.15pm. What a wonderful day this has turned out to be!

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