On Bernina Express to St. Moritz

BerninaExpress_newSt. Moritz, August 2011 – One summer day, Mr. King suggested that we escape the hot tropical Singapore heat and get some crisp cool mountain air. Where? St. Moritz. All I could picture were snow and skiers…. but it was not so.

Our journey took 4 hours from Zurich, and we boarded the famous Bernina Express at Chur on the Albula Line. The Bernina Express is a fleet of panoramic trains, connecting Switzerland to Italy. Travelling through 196 bridges, 55 tunnels and numerous slopes, we saw magnificent sceneries and marvels of nature along the Swiss Engadin Alps.

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To avoid crowds of tourists in the town center – St. Moritz Dorf, we stayed in St. Moritz Bad (pronounced “Bar” with a “d”) at Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains. Transport between Dorf and Bad is very convenient as buses ferry passengers back and forth.

Lake StMortiz_newMr. King & I spent our first afternoon, walking around Lake St. Moritz. We were taken aback by the breathtaking landscape. The blue skies were so clear. The lake mirrored a crisp reflection of the surrounding woods & mountains, and the snow-capped mountaintops acted as a surreal backdrop.

On the second day, we ascended to Salestrains from Signalbahne via cable car. The home of Heidi (named “Heidi Hutte”) is there. Heidi is the main character from the famous Swiss works of fiction by Johanna Spyri, about an orphan girl and her grandfather on the Alps. Since my childhood, I adored the Japanese anime series – Heidi based on Spyri’s books, and its theme song kept replaying in my head as we went in search of the hut.

Heidi_new

Heidi Hutte was modeled after the original built in 1792 that was used for the filming of the famous film, Heidi; it was rebuilt in 1979 above St. Moritz and is located at its present location since 2003. The hut is tiny, only enough to fit a rectangular table, a chair and a hearth. The sleeping quarter is just a bed of hay in an attic above the stable that formed part of the hut.

The walk down to St. Moritz Dorf was a pleasant one, with numerous Swiss chalets lining the trail.

ChesaVeglia_newOur morning exercise made us famished, and we were more than happy to see our lunch venue – Chesa Veglia, one of the oldest farmhouses in St. Moritz, dating back to 1658. Chesa Veglia is part of the legendary Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. What better way to dine than sit on the alfresco patio overlooking the lake and Swiss Alps!

Be sure to check out my next post – Eating in St. Moritz!

All photos were taken by Mrs. King.

[ Note for skiers at St. Moritz: I suggest you stay in St. Moritz Dorf, because it would be more troublesome to commute with skis on the bus. The main funicular railway station is at the center of Dorf. ]

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