We enjoyed a nice breakfast overlooking the lake and mountains at the Eurotel before we left Montreux for Chur. There was a great spread of meat, cheese, eggs and bread.
Traveling in Switzerland with Fast Baggage and a Swiss Pass
For our trip to Chur we used the Fast Baggage service to ship our luggage to the train station at our destination. This is great because we didn’t need to worry about lugging our bags on the train platforms. All you need to do is bring your voucher for Fast Baggage to the ticket office at the train station and put a tag on your bag. Your bag will arrive at your destination by 7pm of that same day (as long as you drop it off by 9am).
We got on a train that took us to Brig where we boarded the Glacier Express train. For our entire trip so far, all we have had to do for all trains and buses is show our Swiss Passes and add-on Swiss Peak Passes. These passes are really extremely convenient to have, especially since I don’t have any Swiss Francs – I don’t have to worry about buying tickets at the station. (More info on this below)
The Glacier Express Does Not Disappoint!
The Glacier Express train is the most amazing train I’ve ever seen. The huge panoramic windows make you feel like you are in a moving fishbowl. Perfect for viewing all of the sights along the way. The seats are very comfortable leather with tables between so you can enjoy a meal.
We are back in the German speaking section of Switzerland so the mountainous landscape is dotted with traditional alpine style houses. We moved up in altitude a bit where there was about 2 feet of fluffy snow on the ground. The train snaked through a region known for cross country skiing. There were skiers everywhere (some very visibly more novice than others). They also have plowed paths where people are taking strolls and walking their dogs. No sign of any cars or roads up here!
We continued up until we were 2,033 meters high. Up here the snow was so deep you could just barely see a river breaking through. This was by far the deepest snow I have ever seen. No sign of houses up here! They even had wooden structures up above on the mountain to stop falling snow from landing on the tracks.
While we alternated between snow blind areas and tunnels we were served a delicious lunch and some local red wine. The meal consisted of a beef consommé with fried pasta which was so flavorful. For my meal I had a pork schnitzel that was pan fried along with some spätzle. The schnitzel was so incredibly tender and delicious. It had some sort of spice on it that I couldn’t identify. The spätzle was also delicious in a butter parsley sauce. Who would have thought you could get food this good on the train. It’s like a restaurant with the greatest view in the world.
The train stopped for a few minutes at Disentis/Muster; just enough time to stretch your legs, enjoy the view and breathe in some fresh air. Before we took off again we were treated to some schnapps on board. They brought in a pro that poured the schnapps into a tiny shot glass from above her head; this was a lot of fun!
As we went down the mountain into Chur we went through many different faces of Switzerland. From alpine ski villages to wooded valleys with the most beautiful blue/green rivers. The mountains here were very rugged and rocky dotted with thousands of evergreens.
Glacier Express Arrives in Chur
We arrived in the beautiful city of Chur and walked across the street from the train station to check in at the Hotel ABC. After this we were brought on a walking tour of Chur which was pleasant because it was relatively mild out. The architecture of this city is much different than Montreux or Lucerne. You can really see the Italian influence with some German thrown in.
Chur sits at the foot of many mountains in the Rhine valley which makes the city feel very cozy and quaint. We walked down the main shopping stretch and learned that Chur is actually the oldest city in Switzerland. This was decided recently when the construction of an underground garage uncovered ancient tools. We walked past many beautiful fountains and were told that there is a fountain every 200 meters in Chur. We visited a Roman Catholic Church, at the top of a large hill, which was very beautiful and full of history. The altar in this church was built the same year that America was discovered. Outside the church were great views of the city of Chur and the mountains overlooking it.
Later on we received our luggage from Fast Baggage (which was very easy) then went to dinner at the Hotel Stern Chur. I started with a beef consommé with sherry, then moved on to a tasting of two Swiss dishes. One was a buckwheat pasta dish with vegetables and cheese. The other was diced fried potatoes with butter that you mixed apple sauce into. It also came with Swiss alpine cheese on the side. Both were very delicious and the potato dish reminded me of a potato pancake. We also topped off the meal with local red and white wines. It seems like every wine served in Switzerland is local and delicious.
A quick note on traveling with a Swiss Pass: the pass is valid for travel on the entire Swiss Travel System – trains, buses & boats. This pass even provides free entry into more than 400 museums in Switzerland – I don’t think in the amount of time we’re here on this trip, we’ll get to see them all. For the GoldenPass, Glacier Express & Bernina Express (tomorrow), we had additional reservations to accompany our Swiss Passes to allow us to travel on-board these scenic trains.