Day 3 Sat 25 Mar 2006, The Glacier Express
The bells in Chur are loud, and if your staying in the old town I doubt if you could avoid them - ear plugs required. I checked out of the hotel and headed back down to the station. Phew! talk about a bun fight to get on the Glacier Express - even first class is packed! There are a few people on this train that need to pack the "countrybagging" style - i.e. light! Before I made it down to station I had a quick wander around Chur, and made it up to a viewing point so I could see all across town. It is completely surrounded by mountains, very beautiful. Anyway, back to the train; we're retracing some of the journey I did yesterday before branching off to Zermatt. The weather today is much better than it was yesterday.
We're running down a river valley and the water is clear, but it has a milky green tint to it. I bet it is freezing cold. The Swiss seem to be quite a dour lot, not many big smiles and the people on the trains aren't much better - mind you am I any different?
The journey was great, with some excellent views - the train uses a cog system to get it up the inclines, some of which are very steep.
I was expecting Zermatt to be a small place, with not that many people - boy was I wrong! The place is packed, and I've never felt more out of place. Everyone else has ski gear and I have none. I checked into the hotel and then went back to the tourist information place.
I'm going up to a viewing point high above Zermatt tomorrow, I'm just hoping for good weather.
My Swiss rail pass got me into the Alpine Museum for free, and after that I took a wander around the village, which is car free - but it is served by a fleet of little electric trolleys. The trouble is that you can't hear them coming, I wonder how many people have been run over by them? Ah, the weather has started to close in, it may not be snow, but it's not that far off it.
My hotel room is very good, I've got a double aspect room with views of the Matterhorn (but I've yet to see it). Swiss hotels have an interesting technique when it comes to keys. When you go out you insert your room key into a key holder hanging in reception. Only when your key is in this board can you remove the external door key from below your door key. You can only remove your door key if you replace the external door key! Very clever!