Zermatt to Chur – The Glacier Express – 15th May 2015

Sadly, when we woke up, it was raining heavily and the most sat low on the valley with the Matterhorn completely obscured.  Still, today is the day that we are going on the Glacier Express!  We’re not taking the whole route as we’re staying for two nights in Chur, but we’ll cover the remainder of the route when we take the Bernina Express tomorrow! 

After a very good continental breakfast, the hotel took us to the station in their electric taxi (no cars allowed in Zermatt) and we boarded the train.

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The first section of the journey, to Visp, retraces the route that we took yesterday, down the valley.

The section from Visp to Brig ran through a valley alongside the normal gauge Simplon railway. Beyond Brig we should have been able to see the Jungfrau from the other side, but alas the weather did not improve!

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However, there were some fantastic views of fast flowing rivers.

The next brief stop was Oberwald and since Brig the staff have laid the table ready for our lunch!  We also took the opportunity to drown or sorrows for the rain!

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Shortly after leaving Oberwald we entered the 9 mile long Furka tunnel which allows the glacier express to operate all year round. What we didn’t expect was that when we emerged the views would be so different:

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The rain had turned to snow and there were some audible gasps (from other passengers). As we were served lunch we pulled into Andermatt with the snow falling heavily.

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We soon arrived at the highest point if the journey, the Oberalppass (2033m) and then descended steeply for the next 20 km until we arrived at Disentis  at about 1000m, during which time be finished our meal. As we descended, the snow turned to sleet and by the time we arrived at Disentis, there was only a light covering of snow on the ground.

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The last stretch for us took us through a  steep sided gorge with more spectacular views, known as the Switzerland grand canyon.  We soon arrived into Chur, Switzerland’s oldest city OK time at about 2.30. Here we left the train whilst it carried on to St Moritz. We will do that section on the Bernina express tomorrow.

We found our hotel just a short walk from the station and having checked in we set out to explore the city. Thankfully it had stopped raining, although it was still cloudy, and we were able to see the cathedral and old town. It’s a pretty city, quite compact, and easy to walk around in an afternoon.

After a quick drink to avoid a shower we headed back to the hotel for a shower before heading out for food. We ended up in a Swiss Mexican place where, unusually, no one spoke much English and there was no menu translation… Quite refreshing really and there were no menu choice disasters! 

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