Today’s excursion was a six-hour journey described as “the most scenic train trip in the Alps” on “the slowest express train in the world.” I’m just going to use the description provided to us, because I can’t describe it better. The trip “spans dramatic aqueducts that cross plunging gorges, remarkable tunnels [including the longest railroad tunnel in the world] that bore through hillsides and some of the most inspiring alpine landscapes you are ever likely to see.” We crossed 291 bridges and went through 91 tunnels as we traveled through the Rhine Gorge, the Grand Canyon of Switzerland, and crossed the Oberalp Pass at 6,670 feet to St. Moritz and the Upper Engadine lake district. The Glacier Express was an elaborate engineering project that took decades. When it was completed in 1930, it became possible for everyday travelers (like us) to see some remote areas of the Alps. We boarded the train in Chur, had lunch onboard, and arrived at our destination–Zermatt–in time for dinner.
At the Chur train station, the train arrived from our right. People rushed to climb onboard and grab seats facing left so they could look forward as the train moved. Ted and I have a philosophy about mass transit: no matter what you pay for your seat or where you sit, everyone takes the same route to the same place. We waited in line for our turn to board and, naturally, all the left-facing seats were filled, so we took a seat that faced “backward”–just like half the passengers. When we left the station, the train reversed directions and all the people who hurried to sit facing forward ended up riding backward! Patience sometimes has its rewards.
It was a cloudy day, but there’s nothing you can do about the weather. The scenery was still beautiful. It was difficult to take good pictures through the train’s huge observation windows because there was a lot of reflection. but that’s life. Now, here come the pictures.
We’re ready to ride the Glacier Express.
The scenery was beautiful, even with the clouds–except when we traveled through the clouds.
Somewhere along the way, it was lunchtime.
Some of the tunnels were really long. Perhaps even boring for some people. Note the photographer in the window reflection.
About halfway through the trip, when we emerged from one of the tunnels, this is what we saw. Everyone on the train cheered for the sunshine.
When you have to cross a gorge, you need a pedestrian bridge–and some brave pedestrians to use it.
Our hotel in Zermatt was a short walk from the train station. When we crossed the street from the station, our guide told us to turn around. This is what we saw. Definitely an ooh-aah.