Starting Point – Zermatt Station
Departure Time : 7:52 A.M.
The glacier express departed from Zermatt dot on 7:52 a.m as expected. On the fourth day in Switzerland this punctuality felt normal and I would have been surprised if it happened otherwise.
After our visits to Jungfrauch and Mount Titlis the appetite of new endeavors was increased tenfold and the stay in Zermatt had proved quite promising. It was a real surprise to experience this car-free cozy village. Our Hotel was in city centre just 150 m from railway station. While walking on the road, a two storied bakery shop caught our attention. The display of fresh glossy Pretzels and aroma directly hit our senses and we looked forward to delicious dinner.
Zermatt is mainly known for skiing and mountaineering on the Matterhorn, beautiful peak seen towering above the village. The backdrop was perfect. There were occasional rain showers and weather was chilly. It was late evening and we decided to explore the main street for some good restaurant. After an hr of peeking here and there we zeroed down on a cozy restaurant offering classic Swiss cheese fondue. After relishing the dinner, we returned to our Hotel as the next day was to start early. The authentic swiss village touch was morning rich buffet breakfast with regional products. With this satisfying stay we boarded Glacier Express and started the journey with quiet an excitement.
On our fourth day of travelling we were not very keen on having another High-Altitude tour and were glad to relax and seat back as train passed through vast spread of green fields on both sides. The coaches are designed with panoramic sealed windows all the way to the roof which allowed travelers to seat comfortably and enjoy the ride with personal headphones providing information about the milestones on the route.
Watching the scenic route adorned with vast spread of brilliant coloured flowers in green fields it felt like Nature is celebrating. Its inviting to join the celebrations, offering the moments to treasure! And that’s exactly what we did in the journey. Treasured the moments!
Though Glacier Express is called an express, it’s the slowest train travelling at 24 kmh speed. The route is designed to offer the panoramic view of varied landscape. Our starting point Zermatt was on the Italy border of Switzerland situated at an altitude of 1605 m. After departure from Zermatt, train started ascending.
The route was quite narrow in this region. At many places train passed though narrow path with massive rock walls rising to well over 4000 m. It’s quite intimidating.
The first stop after Zermatt was the town of Visp. This small town lies at the foot of Europe’s highest vineyard and experiences sunshine round the year. The glimpses of town from the train felt friendly and active. Sometimes when train passed through the scenic villages the village felt very quiet and minding their own business.
After passing through Visp, the train started descending till 651 m for the next stop at Brig. It was a small flat stretch with gorgeous view of valley. One of our fellow travelers were a Chinese couple from Bejing. In the relaxed atmosphere, we started our conversation and this time it was ‘Yes English.’ We exchanged pleasantries and quickly agreed on the fact ‘It’s very beautiful. This Nature is unmatched in the world’. It was interesting to talk to complete strangers from some distant part of the world and agree to each other’s view in just five minutes. Some things are universal and loving Nature is top among st it.
We ordered our lunch with lot of debate as the menu offered authentic swiss preparations along with some Indian dishes. Wow! Indian Travelers are really welcomed here. By the time train had departed from Brig following the Rhône Valley. Mountains, occasionally seen snow-laden fir trees and pretty Swiss villages line the route. It reminded the story of ‘Heidi – The Girl from Alps’. Beautiful, Peaceful!!
The express continued its way east into the V-shaped valley. By the end of valley, we had reached an altitude of 1366 m. We entered a tunnel leading to Andermatt. We have passed numerous bridges and tunnels, and each has faced an enormous engineering challenge. As the travel continued, we could feel the perseverance and dedication shown by the creators behind this smooth luxurious ride.
This express is yet another classic example of vision, methodological implementation and marvel of engineering which is observed at every place in Switzerland. After crossing this pass till Andermatt it was fairly flat stretch. The Glacier Express took halt of fifteen minutes, and we got out to stretch our legs.
As we passed Andermatt, the staff started serving lunch. It was an elaborate affair. A snow-white tablecloth with sparkling cutlery was spread on the table in between. Soon our three-course meal was served. Capuns, Glacier Salad followed by APFELSTRUDEL. Melting movements! We devoured the meal. Soaked in the exotic views we thoroughly enjoyed culinary delicacies.
Now we were at the Oberalp Pass. We could see the way winding upwards. The slow climb presented stunning views. We reached at 2034 m, the highest point of this journey from where the river Rhine rises. This was a completely different landscape. Could see the glaciers drifting in the river flowing through the bare mountains. The sight was spell bounding.
Reaching to the highest point, the express started it’s descend towards Disentis. After a brief stop and a change in the locomotive, the train descended further, and we entered the wonderful Rhine Gorge. Now it felt like slithering along the pebbly river flowing through the valley. Just Cool!
After 5 hours journey comfortable and relaxed journey we reached to our destination Chur. It was certainly pleasure but more than that it was an experience of luxurious travel through a very difficult path. We waited till Glacier Express completely disappeared from the view towards it’s last stop of St. Mortiz. With this one more successful endeavor, we proceeded to catch local train to Zurich, Kloten, our last stop of the tour.