Saturday, October 29

Train Tour of Switzerland

Gornergrat overlooking the MatterhornWe spent Mum & Dad's last week here on a fantastic train trip around Switzerland. With our first class tickets in hand, we headed off from our local train station to our first destination: Zermatt.

Switzerland in Autumn is absolutely stunning, and with clear blue skies on 6 out of the 7 days, the weather couldn't have been better. Our afternoon in Zermatt was spent taking the railway up to Gornergrat at 3089 metres.

Switzerland in AutumnThe next day was the long (9.5 hours) but wonderful train journey to St Moritz on the Glacier Express, one of Switzerland's famous panoramic railways. Despite the gentle rocking of the train and the sunlight streaming through the windows, we all resisted napping in order to keep our eyes on the spectacular views. Train enthusiasts would have a greater appreciation for the incredible way the railway twists and loops up the valley to St Moritz.

Glacier ExpressArriving at 7pm, we decided to spend two nights in St Moritz to give us a chance to explore the place the following day. Most things were closing for a break between the summer and winter seasons, but we managed to find a interesting museum, then had lunch in a restaurant on a mountain top overlooking the town. We followed this with a much-needed 1.5 hour walk through the forest back to our apartment.

Walking in LiechtensteinThe next day it was off on the train again to Liechtenstein, a tiny country (26 x 12 kms) between Switzerland and Austria. We stayed in the quaint capital, Vaduz (population 5,000) and enjoyed a walk up a steep hill to look at the Vaduz castle, home of their head of state: Prince Hans-Adam II; and his family. We didn't spot any royals though!

Next destination was Zurich, Switzerland's largest city. We decided to keep our visit here to just a few hours, enough time to visit the Zurich Zoo (great!) and then head down to the beautiful city of Luzern, where we stayed for two nights. One of the things I was keen to do was take the cog railway up Mt Pilatus. The railway is the steepest of its kind in the world with a gradient of 48%, but this is nothing compared with what you see from the top. The Swiss AlpsThe views were the truly unbelievable! The sounds of a woman singing and a Swiss horn echoing across the mountains really topped it off.

After a great time in Luzern, we arrived back in Geneva on Thursday afternoon - enough time for Mum & Dad to organise their packing in preparation for flying home on Friday. They would still be in the air as I type this, about 4 hours away from Adelaide after 32 hours of travelling. It was very sad to see them go - it's such a pity Australia is soooo far away and they can't just pop over anytime!!
View over Luzern from Mt Pilatus
Click here for all pics on Flickr of Mum & Dad's visit.


Gab said...

Jess, your photos are amazing - some of them are just like postcards. I particularly liked the one of the Matterhorn, but I didn't care for the tarantula one (for obvious reasons I think!).

Very envious of you train journey too; you sound like you all had a ball. I know it's great when you can show your parents a beautiful country and they love it.

batreg said...

I agree - the photo's are amazing! The colours are great and considering it's a duplication of what you were actually seeing the real thing must have been spectacular - looks like you had a great time with your family, let me know how you go with getting Australia relocated for better weekend access!