Like many international families we tend to spend our summer holidays in a country where our children can meet family and discover something of one (or all) of their parents’ cultures. Since several years we spend a few weeks of the summer holidays in Switzerland for exactly this reason. We want our children to bond with family and to get a feeling of how life could be in Switzerland.
Personally, I find it important to discover Switzerland by using public transportation. If you don’t live in Switzerland or have an address there, it can be quite expensive. But there are ways to keep it low-cost (find more information on the SBB site).
The other day we chose to take a daytrip which involved a train ride from Disentis to St. Moritz (and back), travelling along the Rhaetian Railway.
Coming from TIcino (near Biasca), we started our journey in Disentis/Mustér until Reichenau/Tamins and got on the Bernina Express to St. Moritz.
The Albula /Bernina lines run along 122 km of track and passes 55 tunnels and over 196 bridges and viaducts and are a masterpiece of engineering. Its combination with the surrounding landscape made it to its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Rheinschlucht or Ruinaulta is also called the Swiss Grand Canyon, where the railway runs alongside the Rhine (Rhein) and the Ruinaulta amazes you with its bizarre geological formations.
The amazing Albulaviaduct is between Bergün/Bravuogn and Preda – here below rendered by an interesting scupture that you can find at St. Moritz station.
In Bergün you can get off the train and visit the Railway Museum or decide to first admire the Albula Viaduct and descend right before the Albula Tunnel in Preda. The actual tunnel is going to be replaced by a new one in 2021, but will still be functioning as escape tunnel for the new one. – You want to find out more about the construction of the tunnel at the Albula Tunnel Infoarena in Preda: “packed with all manner of exhibits and facts in German and English worth knowing about geology, tunnel technology, logistics and other exciting subjects involving the region and its very own railway. Fun items such as a virtual footplate ride and children’s slides and climbing frames complete the list of attractions on offer.” – You can take a 90 minutes tour to discover all about the tunnel and the railway (I advise to book beforehand, especially in the weekends as the number of participants is limited!). Younger visitors will be delighted by the presence of Kobali the Mole, with an adventurous expedition through the construction site, „virtual blasting” and a surprise included!
We ended our journey in St. Moritz, the cradle of winter sports and where will take place the 2017 World Ski Championships.
The Bernina Express continues to Tirano through the amazing landscape up to Pontresina and Bernina – with the highest point at 2253m Ospizio Bernina) – before descending towards Poschiavo and Tirano. – We didn’t have that much time the other day, so we’ll have to return next year to complete our tour.
If you want to find out more about this route, visit the Rhaetian Railway site.