Helen in Europe travel blog

yes, that's snow in the background; halfway along the Bernina Express

quintessential viaduct pic during the Bernina express

the train moves so slow you can photograph it spiralling around the...

lovely villages along the way; very Swiss of course!

It's Switzerland!

hot, hot, hot in Tirano

Having an early night and deep sleep at the Art Atalier bnb I was feeling very privileged to enjoy such luxury and company, especially for an Airbnb as they can be pot luck to an extent. Piroska even made me breakfast and some bread rolls to take with me on the trip. 'We will definitely see each other in the future!' were our parting words as we performed the three sided European kiss and I rolled down the charming hill only 5 minutes from the station and towards – perhaps the highlight for many tourists visiting Switzerland – the Bernina Express.

When booking my ticket and reserving a seat I noticed that most people had chosen carriages at the front and I wondered if they had some privy knowledge of which were the best carriages for viewing. Nevertheless, I exercised a different philosophy, thinking, why not book a seat in a near empty carriage? Well, did this pay off! I had four seats to myself as did nearly everyone else in Carriage and we had the added bonus of being able to photograph the front of the train as it spiralled its way down a hill and under a viaduct. Those of us in Carriage 6 were able to seat jump from right to left as the views changed, and that was 2nd class! The family opposite me were from Romania and the youngish woman who resembled one of my art students in Bendigo with her blue cropped hair was from Finland. Touristy it may be but for me it was the perfect way to finish my time in Switzerland, with such gorgeous views supplemented by historical information on the audio, but not too often. I wondered if I would be bored sitting in a train for so long. Four hours later I didn't want it to end. Once we disembarked at Tirano, the heat hit us; we had gone from chilly under 20 temperatures in Chur to 32 in Tirano. Meanwhile my sim that was Swiss of course stopped working and I reminded myself that we were back in Italy. I headed off to the bank to exchange my Swiss Francs back into Euro. Hooray, back in the land of Euro, I thought. The next stage was the three hour bus trip from Tirano to Lugano. Suddenly the penny dropped and I realised that I was about to be in a bus, in the back seat, seeing all the Lake Como sites I saw but not from the advantage of the ferry; I thought to buy a ticket from Tirano to Lecco but it was too late, and about five extra hours were added to my trip as I travelled from Lugano to Monza to Lecco. The Asian couple sitting next to me seemed little interested in the views and the woman fell asleep almost on my shoulder! Her hair tickled my neck and I thought I had three hours of this. When they awoke, I noticed the husband typing in Korean and I struck up a conversation with them letting them know how much I loved their country. Maybe this proved a good move as they let me out before them in Lugano which was perfect as I had less than 5 minutes to catch my train to Monza! My running past came in handy as I grabbed my wheeled suitcase and headed off in search of the correct platform. Made it! At least I had pre purchased my ticket so all I had to do was experience the life of a commuter for a few hours, knowing that soon I would be back in the luxury of my home stay with two bathrooms, a gigantic kitchen, a comfy bedroom and wardrobe all to myself. Switzerland was over!

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