The next morning we checked out of the Matterhorn hostel, left a thank you gift for the unbelievable hospitality and headed out to explore Switzerland with the end goal to be in Chur by the 9pm or so. With no real itinerary other than our final destination we decided to play a little game stolen from Denise. Since we had all day, we rolled dice to determine which direction to take and another roll to determine which stop we should get off and explore. East or south, by odd or even, and how many stops before we get off, from the total number of dice. We ended up going south towards the center of the alps. We hopped off 3 times to explore smaller towns and change directions. Our last hop off in a small town called Andermatt smack in the center of the Alps. With only one direction to take the game ended there, east, straight through the alps, towards Chur.
This last train was the coolest. The Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn, a 2 car slow train that cuts directly east/west through the alps. It is slow not because it is old and rickety, but because of all the sharp turns and steep grades. The views were non-stop amazing. The conductor was pretty chill and chatty and kept coming by to tell us about the area. The coolest part of the ride; the windows roll down completely allowing you to hang out of the side of the train!! Freaking cool.
From the attendant, we learned that hunting ram requires custom made bullets and being hunting season you could hear gun shots every now and then from the train. As long as your hanging out of the window 🙂 Also, there are little houses that are sprinkled all over the fields near the tracks and on the sides of the mountains, they are not all houses – they were camouflage for the flack cannons during WWII and would split open right down the middle to reveal the cannons when needed. We saw where streams collect from the alps become two rivers and where they come together to create the start of the Rhine. And if your wine key sucks and you find that half of your cork breaks in your bottle, the attendant is more than happy to help you open it for you 🙂
3 hours of steep grades, twisty turns, sharp cliffs, mountain villages, rivers, sky scraping peaks, 2 bottles of wine, and one of the coolest sunsets in motion ever we arrived in Chur. Epic! If you have the time, take it, and if you get a pass, well, thats a no brainer. There is another train called the Glacier Express that runs the entire length of the alps in about 5 hours or so. This has a glass roof to see the sights, and serves dinner fine-dining style. This one is much nicer and a lot more amenities. We didn’t take this one 🙂 And it isn’t included in the pass, but you do get it 1/2 price if you have one. So keep that in mind.
We got in to Chur (pronounced something like, phlegm-long U-rolling R, hard to say, but fun to try) right about when we planned and walked to Kristin’s friend’s, Rafie and Fabio’s, place. Pretty much de ja vu all over again…a short walk, great place, great people, great hospitality. One of the coolest apartments I have seen; they had a huge private roof deck with a great view of the entire city.
They had just eaten dinner and had plenty for us so we joined them for what felt like was going to be an easy night chatting, and drinking some good south african wine. I couldn’t be any more wrong. We quickly learned how to count in swiss german with a new drinking game using dice, lies and truths. I dont remember the name. After that it was, drink, shot, drink, shot…you know the drill. Fabio is a trooper, stayed out with us till 4 in the morning, then got up and went to work at 630.
At some point in the night we had gotten Donär somewhere near where we went. I have no idea what it was or what was in it, but all that I can say is that it was by far the best Donär we have had this entire trip. Hands down. Drool.
The next day we woke up and made breakfast with Rafie. It was a beautiful day so we hung out on the roof deck or a bit and wandered around the city checking out the views. We stopped near his place and grabbed a cider and relaxed in the sun. About midday we headed off on the last train out of Switzerland to catch a blablacar from Sant Galen, a town on the Switzerland/Austria border. From there we planned to head to Fussen, a small town 2 hours or so outside of munich, to camp out for the night and visit the most famous castle in the world, Neuschwanstein castle.