All aboard the Bernina Express.

48 The Bernina Express

The Bernina Line was completed in 1910 and is part of the narrow gauge network of the Rhaetian Railway and is the only Swiss railway to cross the Alps. From the southern terminus at Tirano just 429 metres above sea level it climbs 1824 metres to the Bernina Pass at 2253 metres above sea level in a horizontal distance of just 22 kilometres with a gradient of up to 7 %. All without rack-and-pinion technology.

33 An early start

We had an early start to drive along the western shore of Lake Como passing through Dongo and Domaso to reach the head of the lake. Crossing the bridge we headed north ,towards the Valtellina Valley and Tirano. In the lower stretches of the valley Maize is the main crop. This is made into Polenta. Try it with some local ‘Bitto’ cheese. Higher up the valley there are vineyards clinging to the hillsides. The grape variety is Chiavennasca, the local name of the Piedmont Nebbiola. It produces some potent wines. One such is called ‘Inferno’ 14%. We were told that it gets it’s name because if you drink to much of it, the next morning you feel like Hell!

We arrived in Tirano at 10.30am with an hour to spare. Time for a coffee and a look at the church famous for the Shrine to the Madonna di Tirano.

P116 The Church at Tirano

At 11.30am we boarded the Bernina Express for our incredible journey through the Alps to St Moritz. The train passes over viaducts, through tunnels and alongside lakes. The scenery is magnificent especially near Alp Grum where we could look up to the glacier.

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Top tip. If you travel this route grab a seat on the left side of the train to enjoy the best views. We were in the end carriage so at one stage I got up and went to the end of the compartment where I could look out of the rear window and see along the tracks. If only someone had cleaned the window.

79 Through the back window

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We reached St Moritz and we had a choice. Go to the upper town and look in the shops, all the big names were there – Cartier,Channel, Gucci, or go down to the lake. No question about it. We were straight down to the lake.

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We wandered along the quit pathway before finding a bench to sit in the shade and eat our picnic lunch.

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There were lots of wild flowers and I was soon on my hands and knees taking pictures.

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We had almost three hours in St Moritz before making our way back to the coach for our journey back to Lake Como. We came over the Maloja Pass with its hairpin bends. The road was designed so that a 55 seater coach can just negotiate the bends.

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We stopped for a coffee break at Chiavenna and finally got back to our hotel at 6.00pm.

Another memorable day.

About crosbyman66

My aim is to create a photo diary of my walks and my travels. I have two main hobbies, walking and photography and these complement each other. I am a senior citizen, what used to be called an old age pensioner, but I don't feel old. Since retirement I have had more time to pursue my hobbies and the opportunity to travel more. My philosophy now is - Do what you can, while you can. My other interests are fine wines and keeping fit. These may not complement each other but keep me happy.
This entry was posted in Food and drink, Italian Lakes, Lake Como, Landscape, Photography, Switzerland, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to All aboard the Bernina Express.

  1. Ostendnomad says:

    Fantastic sceneries. Greetz Stef

  2. Doreen Thomas says:

    Lovely holiday, Alan & Jean.

  3. Lovely set of images. (Suzanne)

  4. crosbyman66 says:

    Thank you. I always enjoy reading your blog.You and Pierre take lots of beautiful images on your travels.(Alan)

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