Well, the day has come, my travels around Europe have taken from from Hungary to Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, the coast of Italy, through Milan and up to here, Tirano, home of the start of the Bernia Express. A short wee cute train ride up from Sondrio and I am here. First action is to go an buy my ticket, double check the times and do my usual – Wardy Here! video.
There is a boy I follow called ‘The Man from Seat 61’. This boy has done a power of travelling and if you are planning to go anywhere by rail, he has done it and has an extensive guide, with great advice and he was well used going across Asia (www.seat61.com). He writes – The Bernia Express is one of the most scenic train rides in Europe, or for that matter, the world, and a personal favourite too. The fabulous Bernina Express is a narrow gauge train with panoramic sightseeing cars from Chur & St Moritz in eastern Switzerland south to Tirano, just across the border in northern Italy. Let me tell you, all his hype was on the money.
I have about 90 minutes to kill, so I have a wander round the town. You can see on arrival that it’s very touristy. Stalls selling Fridge Magnets and plenty of restaurants are in view. Part of this is, that its the main stop if you are travelling down from St Moritz, seemingly a bit skiing town. Time for a wee sit down, 3 course meal with plenty of wine sir please and I stumble into the first gaff, that has a lovely terrace oot the back, but the problem being its reserved for coach parties only, despite only half the seats being used. They offer another table, but ma heids nipped, I say thanks but wander off to another doozy place up the road.
Most of the shops are shut between 1pm and 3pm, what the bloody hell is that all about. I have 30 mins till ma train and I want a carry out. Im rooting about the place with no joy. I’ve given up and as I stumble back towards the station, I spy a buthers come cheese shop and doozy, the boy has some wine of the go, corked wine as well, but I have a waiters friend baby, essential on travels when you buy cheap drink and beers. I’m loaded up and ready to go, case picked up, seat located, everything all laid out for my trip and raring to go.
It’s advertised that the Bernia Express is the most spectacular way to cross the Alps. The carriage has massive windows to give you those panoramic views to admire the most splendid scenery baby. We take off very slowly and the train guide gives us some advice on the region, what height we are at and what’s coming up ahead. The train snakes back up forth, winding back and forth slowly up the mountain, climbing up and over the Alps, glorious glaciers on view, following which it descends into just as beautiful area into Switzerland, What is interesting is you are experiencing is two different regions, different cultures and ways of life.
Taken from my brochure, the train negotiates the 55 tunnels, 196 bridges and inclines of up to 70 per mille with ease. At the highest point, 2,253 metres above sea level, you will find the Ospizio Bernina. Here, visitors can delight in the cultural and natural surroundings and enjoy the Alps at their most impressive. The railway line from Thusis – Valposchiavo – Tirano has UNESCO World Heritage status. Thanks to the modern panoramic cars, you will enjoy unrestricted views of the unspoilt Alpine panorama.
I was tipsy before I set off and I quickly get fired in about the Sauvignon Blanc, with a makeshift cup, from my water bottle cut in half. Just when i was worried i may run oot of liquor, a couple of Bonnie Lasdie’s come through with the menu and follow up with their drinks and cheese cart, don’t mind if I do ladies, local beer and cheese will take me down the mountain. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks and it did not dissapoint. The photo’s on show are just a snapshot of over 100 I took, including some videos, all good quality with my wee magic camera.
I was blown away brothers and sisters. I have been on a good few train journeys and I hopefully have many more to follow. That said, it was an emotional trip for me. I am happy to admit that the journey makes you take a good look at yourself in the face of such excellance and beauty. Think about what you do day to day and what you should be doing day to day. I am a bit of an arse at the best of times and although I would like to convince myself I have had a fairly successful life to this point, before I set off on my travels earlier in the year, when I think about what I could do, truly applying myself, i’m dissapointed. Whether in the cold light of day that changes me as I grow older, I do not know. I am more than happy for all those who read this to ask me from time to time, what has Wardy done since he came back down the mountain.
One big box ticked for the Wardster. A fairly expensive one, but hey, its only money. For now, exnjoy the photo’s, lots of blogs coming in a short space of days now I have consistent wifi to upload photo’s baby!