Today we left Italy behind and headed back towards Switzerland. Before we could make it back to the land of perfect cheese and bell-clad cows, we had to take a two hour bus ride. Jeurgen entertained us first with a story from his childhood about when his elementary school teacher told his parents he needed therapy because he wrote a short story about killing Lassie. Apparently he wasn’t a fan of the tv show. “Stupid Lassie hearing the sound of danger 30 miles away. Little Timmy always being so well-behaved and nice to his parents. What a loser!”
After the bus ride we stopped in Tirano, Italy, which is really only significant for being the first stop on the scenic Bernina Express, the scenic train ride through the Swiss Alps that we’d be taking shortly. Other than that, Tirano pretty much had food, gelato, and…not much else.
But we got some pretty decent pizza and a glass of wine. We still had an hour to walk around town after that. We kind of kept walking in circles. Killing time. Looking at cheesy gift shops. Refilling our water bottles. Looking back at the cheesy gift shop… We had too much time in Tirano.
But it was okay, because soon we made our way to the Bernina Express. Words cannot describe the views we got from that train ride. Luckily, pictures are worth a thousand words, so here you go. Seriously. Go to Switzerland.
Once we were off the train, we took a walk with our tour director in St. Moritz’s small downtown. St. Moritz has only really been a town for about 150 years, so its downtown area is very new, shiny, and modern by comparison to Lucerne. It’s also lined with high-end stores like Rolex, Gucci, and Prada rather than the cheesy souvenir shops, which was probably good, because if they had been there, I would have bought something.
Well, we gave up on Gucci and Prada and settled for…well…more chocolate. You can’t be in Switzerland for more than ten minutes without seeking out chocolate. You can smell it in the air. It calls for you.
Following our chocolate search, we made our way back to the hotel. Jen and I had broken from the group, so we kind of had to invent our route back to the hotel. We had to walk from the street down to the sidewalk along the lake, which was down a 30 degree slope. So of course, as I was inching down the hill, my feet went out from under me and I slid the rest of the length of the hill on my butt. That was fun. It was definitely the prettiest view I’ve ever had for a fall.
We did eventually make our way up to our hotel and settled in. On our way to our room we passed a courtyard with like 20 people playing those giant horns from the Ricola commercials. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture, but it was as hilarious as it sounds. We had a mountain view right from our room, which was amazing. The air was crisp like a New England fall day. We also were looking for a place to refill our water bottles, and found a pamphlet that says “Crisp, delicious mountain water flows through our taps,” which we were like, “Oh okay Switzerland, get off your high horse.” And then we filled our water bottles from the tap and realized it really was crisp delicious mountain water, cold as the stuff you get from the nozzle on the fridge.
After unpacking, we made our way to the hotel’s buffet dinner which was delicious. Stew and potatoes and bread and salad and a platter of dessert choices. In the words of Jeurgen, “You want two stomachs to eat here.”
But after dinner came my highlight for the day. The hotel had an agreement with the spa complex across the street. The spa had a heated pool outside with a mountain view, also featuring in-water benches with jets and bubbles and an infinity edge. It was amazing. We even got Catherine and Stella into the water, which, was a victory.
On our way into the spa we’d seen some slides, so we knew they existed. We then went on a hunt to find them. It turned out that the complex had a little mini water park called “Fun Tower,” which had some pretty quality slides. There were two dark tube slides and one open-air slide with three lanes for racing. At one point, Jen, Steph, and I raced on the three-way slide and Jen got stuck halfway. We kept yelling for her to make sure she wasn’t dead. There was also one of those slides with a straight drop, which I decided to try even though I was terrified. It was actually really fun, until I knocked my foot on the wall of the exit. Oh well. It was worth the bruise.
Lastly there was the “spa” room, where Jeurgen convinced us to walk through the Nordic spa. We didn’t realize what that entailed. There were two small wading pools next to each other. He led us through the one on the right side, and felt warm water. Then we left that pool and walked in the left one, which had icy cold water that felt like pins and needles in your legs. I was like “Jeurgen, why did you do this with us?!” and he said “It’s good for your blood pressure!” to which I responded “I have good blood pressure!” But then it was okay, cuz Jen, Steph, and I spent the last few minutes of the day wading in one of the other warm pools.
It had been a gorgeous and eventful day, but our wakeup call for the next day was 6am, so we braved the cold, walked back to the hotel, and collapsed into our beds with a mountain view.