Switzerland, the Most Beautiful Railway that should be in Your Bucket List

The Bernina Express

During my childhood, I lived closely to the train station, only 100 meters distance! That time, most of my journeys were spent by riding train. From Kepanjen to Surabaya, Kepanjen to Jakarta or the shortest ride, Kepanjen to Malang. Even now, I still remember crystally train schedule in Station Kepanjen. 

Thus sentimental things has brought the reason why my heart pumped so fast when I saw the pictures of Bernina Railways in Switzerland. 

When I and my husband decide to do Eurotrip, Switzerland is not on our initial destination because we know it will hurt our budget badly. Then accidently I saw Bernina Express-the one of Unesco World Heritage somewhere in the internet, I know impulsive-me couldn't hold the urge to insert Switzerland during our trip.

Landing from Santorini to Zurich, we buy train tickets in the airport that brought us directly to St. Moritz bad. First, we take off from Zurich airport to Zurich Central station to change the train. We are given options by nice lady behind the locket to catch at least two next trains so we can grab lunch in the central station. Then we departed from Zurich to Chur.

One thing you should know about Switzerland train or we can call Rhaetian Railways (RhB) is ridiculously luxurious. Yes, it is more expensive if we compare to any other trains in Europe Countries, but you won't lost any cent to enjoy it. We buy second class that feels like VIP class. I even asked to the stewardess if I sit at the correct class (yeah shame on me).

View along Zurich to Chur
The Bernina Railways route is start from Chur to Tirano, Italy. Our first leg is riding train from Chur to St. Moritz via 'regular carriage' then at the next second day, we ride from St Moritz to Tirano via panorama carriage. The train is same one, the only difference is the carriage between reguler and panorama  (and different price of course).

Even in Regular carriage, the glass window is very wide that you can take pictures, thousands of pictures from different angle. During our ride from Zurich to Chur, we can see what exactly I always imagined from Austria Landscapes. Yes, you read it right, Austria. Small hills with green grass, some houses, barns separated wide enough then several times, we can see castle on the hill. At the valley, the tallest building usually the church tower and silly me suddenly remember the background of Candy-candy drawing at early 90's. 

Why I said Austria because what I always imagined from switzerland is Alps covered in snow. Not that ridiculously photogenic green panorama which can bring peace and solitude to your heart and your eyes. 
I know you want live here, don't you?

Even sleepy and tired, I refused to close my both eyes because I don't want to waste even one second during my time in the train. Luckily, our carriage is almost empty and we can switch seat as we pleased from left to right and reverse just to shot beautiful scenery from the window.

Arrived at Chur, we switched train only for two good minutes and sit at the larger window view that very wide-like my phone screen. 

The Pine Forest and houses in the valley

Opened in 1904, the 61 km Bernina pass line features 13 tunnels and galleries and 52 viaducts and bridges.  This is not a rack railway and the train winds its way gently through splendid scenery.   

On the highest railway across the Alps, the Bernina Express climbs up to the glistening glaciers before descending to the palms of Italy far below. This rail link between Northern and Southern Europe builds bridges between regions with different languages and cultures. 

It links up regions with different languages and cultures. While Zurich-is mostly German speaking citizens, St. Moritz-France speaking citizens and then at the border of Poschiavo and Tirano, they speak Italy fluently.  
Beautiful Viaduct during Chur to St.Moritz Route

From Chur to St. Moritz, we saw the hills, bridges, viaducts, tunnels then slowly the train ascending to the higher altitude and the scenary gradually dominated with melted snow-dirty snow-then the white sparkling snow.

Arriving at St. Moritz bad, we can see snow everywhere even the lake is still frozen. Luckily the temperature is not as cold as Iceland even the city is still frozen. I will skip the St.Moritz part to the next post so I can continue to describe the Bernina Railways without being interrupted.

From St.moritz to Tirano, we ride the panorama carriage that pretty much almost the same with our carriage from Chur to St. moritz only the different is the edge of the roof made of glass. The silly comparison is just like Samsung S7 and S7 edge. That's it.

Just like Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, right?

The train from St. Moritz to Tirano walks slower because we ascending to the Alps plus the fleet and snow that closed the track. Our view were white and white everywhere that made my camera overexposure. 

Starter view from St. Moritz bad

Since I love snow the most, I was ecstatic. I even forgot the change my camera lens and awed by the scenery. The train also made stop several times at the station. The mechanic will check that snowbreaker at the front of locomotive work properly. Or several officers looks busy cleaning the rail way from the snow.

Loco with snow breaker at front
 The higher the altitude, the whiter our scenery. After ascending, slowly the train descending and made turns just like turning the mountain so we won't missed any scenery from the left and right side.

It's white everywhere except the train

At some point, the highest altitude, I can see the clouds were the same level as we are. This is what I call ride at the heaven. We don't need ride any ATR flights to see the highest altitude of Alps. 

Ride at the Heaven
The Brusio Circular Viaduct
Descending, we can see the green valley and local houses. Then we spotted beautiful viaduct, the Brusio Circular Viaduct is a true masterpiece of bridge engineering on the Bernina Line. It was built to limit the gradient of the line to just 7 per cent

I can see little heaven namely Poschiavo-little city at the border of Switzerland and Italy. Cited from Wikipedia, Poschiavo has an area of 191 km2 (74 sq mi). Of this area, 19.8% is used for agricultural purposes, while 32.1% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 1.8% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (46.2%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains)

Valley City-Poschiavo

Before we closing to Tirano Station, we can also see beautiful lake at the south side of Poschiavo namely Lago di Poschiavo. Daydreaming behind the windows, I couldn't imagine living at the beautiful village just like Poschiavo. Imagine at the winter, the village will covered with thick snow and at the night, if we see from above, the lights will look like sparkling dots between white background, something that we would like to see at the postcard.

The Bernina express is excellent exemplary of the use of the railway to overcome the isolation of settlements in the Central Alps early in the 20th century, with a major and lasting socio-economic impact on life in the mountains. It constitutes an outstanding technical, architectural and environmental ensemble and embodies architectural and civil engineering achievements, in harmony with the landscapes through which they pass.

Overall, Bernina Railways is the best trip I ever done in my entire life. It was short journey yet countless time I am feeling very grateful has a chance to experienced it. I mean, beyond Santorini or per say Paris-the most famous destinations in the World, this underexposed Unesco World Heritage will easily topped the list. It has everything; experience, scenery and wonder! That's why I encourage you, at least once in your life, experience this journey and you don't need to bring books or during the ride, because you won't get bored even for one second.

Bonus : Our Selfie

You can booked the train in advance thru Rahetian website or here! Someday soon, I would love to comeback and experience the other railways, Glacier Express. 

See you at next posts!


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