Glacier Express … third time lucky!

Okay, since I have shared on the recent excursions that we did in autumn, I believe it is time to start sharing on the earlier excursions that we did in spring this year! And to kickstart the much loooong overdued sharing of our spring excursions … let me begin with our ride on the Glacier Express (finally!)

It took me ages to finish this entry … mainly because I lost my mood in the middle of doing it … something that tends to happen whenever I have too many photos to choose from and when I want to include most of them if I can!  But since that is not possible (especially since I have very limited free space left in this blog) … I had to be very selective and this tends to delay the writing …

Anyway … after missing the Glacier Express … not once but twice last year (which left an everlasting trauma on the mum who now hesitates going on any train trip with us, at least not without a lot of persuasion on our part! ;)) … we made it on time for our date with the Glacier Express in April this year.

We tried hard to get the mum to do it with us again, but she changed her mind after we had already paid for the seat reservation and for the hostel stay at St Moritz. We knew that she was keen to go on that special train ride … but I suppose she was just not keen to try and do it with us again lah! hehehe … poor mum! And she also decided not to join us when we did the Bernina Express a week later … even though we had already paid for the seat and hotel reservation, too!

Nevertheless, this time being our third attempt trying to ride the famous Glacier Express train … touted as ‘the slowest express train in the world’ … we made sure that we would not miss the train again! And fortunately, we did not! So … it was true the adage that third time is lucky lah! hehehe … 🙂

In order to save us from having to sleep over at Zermatt (one end of the Glacier Express route and which is 3 hours away from Lausanne), we took the Glacier Express from Visp which is about 1.5 hours from Lausanne. Just like during our less successful trip last year, we decided to sleep at St Moritz at the same Youth Hostel. And then the next morning after checking out of the hostel, we decided to do a bit of walking along the lake before catching a train home.

So here are the photos of our successful and interesting ride on the Glacier Express in the spring of this year.

Finally catching the Glacier Express train at Visp … more than a year later! The table was nicely set for the long journey. The Glacier Express left Visp at 11.07 am and only arrived in St Moritz at 5.58 pm.

Except for a quick stop in Andermatt and Disentis, there are no other stops between Brig and Chur so meals are offered on board the train. There is a choice between a full course and the recommended dish of the day (le plat du jour). But you can also choose to bring your own lunch on board … which was what we did!

Passing by Bettmeralp cable car station and a ravine after leaving Brig.

The morning started fine enough even though it was quite chilly. We could see some patches of snow up on the mountains as the train made its way through the valleys in the canton of Valais. But the weather soon changed and so did the landscape … as we were enjoying our lunch.

And this was our simple lunch on board the train … vegetable fried rice, mixed salads and potato curry puffs … with hot coffee. Never had a simple meal tasted so good! hehehe … 🙂

The landscape soon turned white and snowy … nice!!!

It occurred to me that, after missing the Glacier Express twice before, the weather seemed determined to help us make up for it this time by ensuring  that we would have a memorable train ride. Throughout our train journey, we got to experience rain, mist, snow … and the occasional clear sunny sky! How about that!? 🙂

It started raining as we were admiring the snowy landscape through the Goms valley while enjoying our packed lunch! What a spoiler!!

But still … the hubby and I faithfully took several shots of the landscape despite the rain as a sweet reminder of our successful Glacier Express train ride. And we continued to take many more shots even as we were enjoying our lunch … and later through the mist and the snowfall!! 🙂 Of course, I cannot share all of them here … so these are just selected shots of our ride on the Glacier Express train.

The mountain valleys were a little misty as a result of the rain … and we could not even see the top of the mountains as the Glacier Express was passing through this particular area … a pity, although at the same time kind of nice, too!

But when the rain subsided, everyone started taking out their cameras once again to capture the scenic snowy landscape. Unfortunately, after the rain had passed, it soon started to snow next as the train went higher and higher!

Chair lifts for skiers hanging still under the heavy snowfall as the Glacier Express climbed up the mountain  towards Oberalppass. From here, we did not take as many pictures as the heavy snowfall did not make it worth the effort to do so.

Reaching Oberalppass, a mountain pass in the Swiss Alps that connects the cantons of Graubünden and Uri … while under heavy snowfall.

The train passing through the highest part of the route … with the mountains all around beautifully covered with snow. Thankfully, the heavy snowfall stopped while the Glacier Express was passing through this area so that we were able to enjoy the  superb view… phewww !!! 🙂

So the cameras started to appear again … and a few of the passengers even stood up so that they could get a good shot of the beautiful mountainous landscape that surrounded us … including me, of course lah! hehehe … 🙂

If you notice, there is a dam up on these mountain as can be seen from the picture above.

A closer look of the dam, walled between two mountains … as was seen from the Glacier Express. Very impressive, no? It is the Lai da Curnera … which  is 153 m tall and stands at about 2,000 m above sea level. I remembered posting a picture of this dam in a previous entry on taking the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn and was amazed to discover that there was more snow on this trip (which we did in early spring this year) than when we took the MGBahn in the middle of winter (in February) last year!

The huge glass windows of the train definitely afforded a very good view of the surroundings. Unfortunately, with these modern windows it also meant that we had to battle with the reflections on the window when trying to take our shots! So … many of our shots had reflections on them as a result of it! haizzz …

But we tried our best to get good clear shots … although not always very successful lah!

I truly enjoyed it when the Glacier Express passed through all these snow-covered mountains and valleys. Passing through the deeply snow-covered Oberalppass certainly was one of the highlights of taking this train. The next would be when the train passes through the Albula/Bernina area, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The train making its descent down the mountain … to head towards Chur … where it will stop to enable passengers (who are transiting at this city, the oldest in Switzerland) to get off the train and for new passengers heading towards St Moritz or Davos to board the train.

Normally, there will be fewer passengers after Chur as many will get off at Chur. So we were able to move around a little by this time or even change to other seats if we wanted to!

The landscape took a different look after leaving Chur as the train made its way through the Engadine region heading towards the alpine resort town of St Moritz.

Passing through an area of River Rhine between Ilanz and Reichenau known as Vorderrhein (or Anterior Rhine in English) which is often described as Switzerland’s grand canyon. This stretch of the river is popular for water related activities, in particular, white water rafting.

And so it was no surprise that we saw a group of kayakers on the Rhine on that day.

The train crossing the Rhine.

Passing through an area called Thusis, which is dotted with many old châteaux (or castles in English).

Snow-capped mountains could be seen yet again, as the train started to climb up again, as it made its way towards the upper Engadine valley to head to St Moritz/Davos.

About to pass through the famous Landwasser viaduct between Alvaneu and Filisur … the  signature structure of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Albula railway.

And soon the train was on the viaduct … which is 130 metres long, built on 6 stone arches about 65 metres above the ground and espouses a curve with a 100-metre radius.

For those heading to Davos, they need  to transit in Filisur to change to another train …

… while the Glacier Express continued its way towards St Moritz.

And since we were going back up the mountain valley (St Moritz is situated at 1,822 metres) … the landscape  started looking snowy once again … nice! 🙂

Passing through a village called Bever with its beautifully decorated buildings … before finally reaching St Moritz just before 6.00pm.

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7 thoughts on “Glacier Express … third time lucky!

  1. Hi Roger, thanks for writing to let me know that you enjoyed reading my blog. That was really kind of you. And the answer to your question regarding the packed lunch on board the glacier express is that it came straight from my kitchen, i.e. I prepared the rice, the salad, the curry puff as well as the hot coffee for the long train ride to St Moritz. 🙂 A full or half-course lunch could be requested on board upon reservation … but after having to forfeit our earlier seats reservation twice (as we missed the trains), we did not think that it was a good idea to make reservation for lunch on board! And we did not stay in a hotel but in a youth hostel in St Moritz.

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  2. Hi,
    I enjoyed reading your blog. I was just curious: the packed lunch that you show in the above photo looks tasty. Where did you get it from? I am guessing it must be the hotel you were staying in.
    Best Regards,
    Roger

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  3. Sorrylah Kak Maz, for making you wait so long for this entry. Insyaallah, I will try to share the ride on Bernina Express very soon. The landscape in summer will be different because there will not be a lot of snow, although you might still see some along the way, I am sure. But I think you might like it better because you will be able to see lots of green and beautiful flowers. Nice to hear that you will be coming to Europe again. Hope you will be able to stay longer this time so that you can really enjoy your trip to Europe!

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  4. Jarak Visp dgn St Moritz nak dekat 300km, so kira jauh jugak lah. Kalau naik keretapi biasa pun tetap makan berjam juga. Begitu juga kalau memandu. I memang suka buat karipap kecil2, jadi tak membazir. Satu dua kali masuk mulut dah habis, tak terbuang!

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  5. CT, thank you for this N3.(I have been waiting for it.) Would the landscape be better in Summer? I wonder. Making my plans for europe again this coming summer, we probably cover german and belgium.
    Yes, those karipap looks sedap! Have a good weekend.

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  6. Sungguh indah pemandangan sepanjang perjalanan itu. Berapa jauh jarak antara Visp – St Moritz tu CT? Tak boleh tahan tengok karipap tu. Comel-comel, rajin awak membuatnya.

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