Monday, June 10, 2013

Glacier Express

The Glacier Express is one of Switzerland's popular tourist adventures. Even though we're not exactly tourists, we need to experience the tourist options so we can recommend them or not to visitors. Besides, we wanted to do this anyway! We were lucky enough to have our dear friends from the USA, Lynn Adams and Pam Wilt, come visit us here in Switzerland. Tom was able to take a vacation day and take this rail tour with us girls. The GE is an 8 hour train ride between Zermatt and St. Moritz and can be taken in either direction. We departed Zurich and took the train to Zermatt. Sadly, the skies were not kind to us and we didn't go up to the Gornergrat to view the Matterhorn. There was nothing but cloud cover and fog to see. We learned that some hotels and stores close during the slow period between the ski season and the start of summer holidays. We were still able to do some shopping and we also peeked into the Matterhorn Museum while hoping the sky would clear. 

Our hotel concierge recommended a local restaurant to try Swiss specialties.

raclette - you can have as many servings as you want

dried meat plate - served on a slice of a tree

As we stood hoping for the majestic Matterhorn to come out and greet us, we watched a street cleaner repeatedly wash one street corner. Note, it had been raining most of the day. How dirty could it possibly be? 

the cleanest corner in Zermatt

Is there a piece of the Matterhorn there? Still hoping.
Lucky for us, the sky cleared overnight and we got to see the Matterhorn in full glory before we had to leave Zermatt.

Although it is beautiful, it has also been unkind to climbers that tried to reach its peak. The cemetery has many graves of climbers who failed.

 Time to board our train for the ride to St. Moritz. 

We opted to travel first class giving ourselves more room to spread out. The purpose of this train ride is to view the amazing mountain and valley scenery along the way. There was no shortage of beauty. Taking pictures, however, was a challenge. We got lots of pictures of power lines, poles, insides of tunnels and reflections in the glass windows, but also spectacular scenery.

At one of the stops along the way, we were serenaded by this accordion ensemble. 
I love the edelweiss on this accordion

Sights along the way

If the valley has a village, there will be a church.

fences to hold the snow back and avoid avalanches

Our ticket included a hot meal which was served to us in our seats.

zum wohl!

actually quite tasty

can't skip the Heidi coffee
We were trying hard to find wildlife out our windows. Finally, there was a sighting!
Or maybe we were getting a bit punchy.

not much here but the church

Here you can see the other end of our train as we curve along this bridge (and reflections).

Must admire Swiss engineering. It's absolutely phenomenal what they've done to make everywhere accessible by train. 

Finally, we arrived in St. Moritz. This escalator is a very civilized way to get from the lower part of town up to the higher part.  We were there the first weekend of May -  it was still cold.

the white building is our hotel

friends in the neighboring room!

view from our hotel window
Auf wiedersehen St. Moritz. Time to go back to Horgen so we can continue our adventures from our home base.