SWITZERLAND REPRISE -- 2009
Interlaken - Zurich - Chur - Tirano - Chur - Arosa
We covered Interlaken - Zurich -
Chur - Tirano - Chur - Arosa - Zurich in a leisurely 4 day round
trip before flying home. See also
INTERLAKEN TO CHUR VIA ZURICH
We left Interlaken on the ICE via
Bern to Zurich , said good bye to the tour group and continued
on to Chur. It was a Saturday and the trains were nearly empty -
we essentially had a private car for the Zurich to Chur leg of
the journey. Chur is the oldest city in Switzerland, dating back
at least 1000 years. We stayed at the Post Hotel (now managed by
Comfort Inns), much modernized since my previous stay 14 years
earlier. The railway station was also new and just a short walk
from the hotel.
CHUR TO TIRANO
Bernina Express is still the best train ride in Switzerland and
a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Glaciers, lakes, spiral tunnels and viaducts, all leading to
semi-tropical vineyards in Italy. Tirano (not to be confused
with Torino farther south) is a border town, probably as ancient
as Chur, and is the connection point to the Italian State
Grades of up to 7% are handled without rack and pinion traction, and
the line handles considerable freight as well as the better
known tourist traffic.
The Bernina is easy
to see from inside the panorama cars.
The Bernina arrives
at noon and leaves again at 1 PM, so we stayed overnight at
Hotel Bernina to give us time to explore the old city and
cathedrals. Compared to the gleam and polish of the Swiss
counterparts, the Italian trains looked beaten-up and grubby.
The Italian trains
are not as pretty as the Swiss.
Work trains and log buggies mingle with the Bernina at Tirano
is a beautiful trip to a beautiful lakeside town - if I had the
money, this would be my retirement home. The Chur-Arosa railway was
founded in 1889 as an independent company (ChA) and its network
had always been linked to the main network of the RhB in Chur.
This link enables the exchange of passenger coaches and freight
cars. The merger with the RhB was the beginning of the
modernization of the ChA railway.
Leaving Chur, the route follows the streets of the upper part of
town to gain access to the Plessur River valley. There are 41
bridges and 21 tunnels on the 25 Km of the meter gauge line.
Slow and easy is the the only way to move in Arosa