Top of the world

I decided to go on my longest railway journey in Switzerland yet, to St Moritz, the famous winter sports resort. Wasn’t quite sure what I would find there in Summer. Some of the journey down was on territory I have covered before, from Zurich to Chur, but it did not seem familiar, and was breathtakingly beautiful. No sign of curtain-clad Von Trap children today, but I did spot the odd lonely Goatherd!

From Chur we moved onto single track mountain railways for a 2 hour journey to St Moritz. Again the scenery was fantastic, but really has to be seen to be appreciated. Photos from a train carriage don’t really do justice to it!

When we finally arrived in St Moritz, we were beside a lovely lake. Quite small, so I decided to walk round it. I had been thinking of a swim (had my towel and trunks with me) but it was a bit cooler today and no-one else was braving the water, so I decided not to either.

I was keen to get up into the mountains, but most of the chairlifts etc. only seem to work in winter. I did however find one which would take me to the top of Piz Nair at just over 3000m. To put that in context, St Moritz itself is at 1856m, so I wasn’t going mega high. It was noticeable that the air was thinner even in St Moritz. Walking up the slope to the cable car entrance left me much more breathless than it would normally have done.

Oh yes, back to putting things in context – Mont Blanc the highest European mountain is 4800m and Everest is 8846m.  Ben Nevis, Scotland’s (UK’s) highest peak is a mere 1344m – not even as high as St Moritz!

Having paid my 32 francs return, we entered a funicular railway carriage which carried us quite high. We then got out of that and into another railway carriage which took us even higher, and finally into a cable car which took us to the peak, which was very high!

At the cable car station there was a track leading up another 100ft or so to the real peak, so I clambered my way up that, with loads of Japanese tourists. It was quite an easy climb and the views from the top were fantastic. You could look down and see the lake in St Moritz, and it looked tiny. It had taken me probably 45-60 minutes to walk round it. We could see snow on some of the mountains around us, they looked the same height as us, but there was none on Piz Nair itself. I was conscious that time was moving on and so I took some photos and made my way down the three stage descent pretty smartish, arriving at the bottom in time to catch a train at 16:37.

By a pleasant coincidence this train was going a different route back and we went through the Vereina Tunnel which is supposed to be the longest narrow-gauge tunnel in the world at 19km. I’m no expert – just going off what it says in the guidebook. It was LONG and it took ages to go through as we had to wait twice for oncoming trains to pass.

This train took us to Landquat and from there, I caught an express train to Zurich.

All in all a very pleasant days outing. Spent about 8 hours in trains, excluding the time it took to go up the mountain!

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