Someone can say that I pay too much attention to the mountains and trips in Switzerland. Well, I need to admit: I fell in love with them! I never lived next to the mountains and never had such a close experience with them. For me, they represent something magical, something eternal and incredibly sublime; besides, they are quite picturesque, especially in a combination with wonderful blue lakes of Switzerland.
But let’s not allow my philosophy to fill in all this post. The place I stayed was located in Engadin valley, Graubünden canton, jammed in between high mountains. The valley is already located high above the sea level, and for skiing and hiking you need to go even further up. On the top of the mountains it could be regularly observed how piles of snow got wiped to the sky with strong winds. That didn’t add me enthusiasm to climb up and feel that icy wind. During all my stay there, I didn’t risk to go on any top and preferred to stay close to warm houses and equipped civilization.
Needless to say, ski resorts in Switzerland are a place where rich people from all around the world come together. I didn’t really meet someone famous, but I am pretty sure that behind all those high collars of expensive fur coats and rainbow-coloured ski goggles were some celebrities, if not internationally famous, but at least locally. The usual day of ski tourist in Engadin valley consists not only of ski trips, but also tasty lunches in sophisticated restaurants or warm cafe, as well as evenings together with Glühwein – at this extent Engadin ski tourist is not that a big difference to Mürren one.
Okay, so how can actually a person who does not ski entertain herself there? She can go for a walk, visit local lakes (at least two of them), conquer some hills with a sledge, go for a cross-country ski, go skating on an open-air ice rink with a breathtaking view on all surrounding mountains. Finally, as she doesn’t ski and doesn’t have to spend all her fortune on a Ski Pass (a ticket for going up the mountain with a cableway or ski lift), she can visit local restaurants and cafe, checking out cheese fondue.
We were not staying in St. Moritz, so this little town was included in the entertainment program. I can’t say that it is a very special place and worth going there on purpose: it’s a nice village, with expensive shops and incredibly pompous hotels. There were a lot of Russians and almost all women wore fur coats, although the weather was not chilling cold.
St. Moritz is famous for not only prices, but also for hosting some interesting winter sports. For example, snow polo or horse races on the ice of the lake. The horse race takes place in February, when the ice on the lake is in the most frozen condition and the lowest chance of falling into the water exists. Though I am still curious, what happens if the ice is not good enough for withstanding several horses with riders.
Another popular tourist entertainment is the Glacier Express. It takes you to the incredible route between mountains, along steep rocks and even sometimes under a ski lift! It takes about 8 hours to go from St. Moritz to Zermatt, and in our case the train was fully packed with people of all ages. Unfortunately, we arrived in Zermatt when it was already dark and missed an opportunity to see Matterhorn, one of the most famous peaks among Swiss Alps (although I do regularly see this peak on the box of colourful pencils from Caran d’Ache company). Zermatt town was crowded and a bit dirty, though local authorities put an effort into keeping the place clean: all cars except for special electrical vehicles are forbidden there. Maybe next time we will be lucky both with Matterhorn and impression from the town.
In order to understand Switzerland better it’s worth going at least once to a local ski resort. If you fail to enjoy it, at least it is a nice thing to boast in front of the friends.