Travel

This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life. This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new….

…Thy infinite gifts come to me only on those very small hands of mine….. Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali

 

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A high Alpine resort town in Switzerland

Some places on earth are simply unlike anywhere else. The mere mention of their name is strangely compelling and brings to mind all manner of stunning imagery. St. Moritz is one such place –  1,856 metres above sea level, in the heart of the spectacular Upper Engadin lakes district, where the notion of winter holidays and present-day winter sports were born, and where Olympic Winter Games were held on two occasions. In St. Moritz in winter, the snow, the sun and the mountain backdrop become a scintillating work of art just waiting to be explored.

The amazing variety of the high – alpine region ranges from sporting activities in the mountains and valleys, to cultural and culinary highlights, to the wonders of the Engadin’s landscape. In winter, top chefs in St. Moritz and in the Engadin treat guests and locals to special delights, with dishes ranging from rustic to the exclusive.

The Glacier Express is probably the most famous and most luxurious of all the Swiss panorama trains. It revels in the claim that it is the slowest express train in the world. Passengers ride this train with its panoramic windows and at-seat restaurant service for the journey and not just to arrive, even though Glacier Express destinations such as Zermatt, Davos and St Moritz count amongst the most popular and most glamorous Swiss Alpine resorts. The complete Glacier Express route between St Moritz and Zermatt takes around 8 hours. En route, the trains cover 291 km, cross 291 bridges or viaducts and pass through 91 tunnels. The Glacier Express trains run usually three times per day in each direction during summer and once per day in winter.

Trenord is a railway company which is responsible for the operation of regional passenger trains in Lombardy region in Italy. I took the Trenord service from Milan to Tirano. It will take almost two and half hours to reach Tirano. Tirano is a town in Valtellina, in northern Italy. It has only ten thousand inhabitants (2017) and is adjacent to the Switzerland-Italy boundary. The river Adda flows through the town. Tirano has two neighboring railway stations. One, a standard gauge station, is operated by Trenitalia, the state railway company. The other, metre gauge station, is operated by the Rhaetian Railway. The line of the Bernina Railway connects St. Moritz with Tirano. The complete line was opened in 1910. In 2008 the Bernina Railway as well as the Albula Railway were recorded from UNESCO in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

I took the Glacier Express from Tirano to St. Moritz. Tirano is a town  in northern and is adjacent to the Switzerland-Italy boundary. The river Adda flows through this town.  The next train was from St. Moritz to Chur. Chur is the capital and largest town of the Swiss canton of Grisons and lies in the Grisonian Rhine Valley, where the Rhine river turns towards the north, in the northern part of the canton. The city, which is located on the right bank of the Rhine, is reputedly the oldest town of Switzerland. Later I took the next train from Chur to Zurich.

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The Bernina Express is a train connecting Chur (or Davos) in Switzerland to Poschiavo in Switzerland and Tirano in Italy by crossing the Swiss Engadin Alps. For most of its journey, the train also runs along the World Heritage Site known as the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes.