Armed with a gratis all day travel pass, we set off for our first port of call, the Punt Muragl funicular. We left the Chesa Spuondas Hotel with a veritable spring in our steps as we skipped along the meadow path that led to the village of Champfer and our bus to the mountains.
With time on our side, we had a quick scout around the village. The sign on the picture below delighted yours truly. I didn’t think the place was that bad!
Waiting for the bus with us was 82 year-old Anna, a sprightly lady who had been hiking in the region since she was a little girl. Dressed in shorts, walking boots and with her trusty walking stick, she was off for a gentle 15KM stroll. The mountain air was the secret of her agility apparently.
The bus soon arrived and we travelled through St Moritz centre, past the lake and out into open country. I was tempted to hop off and have a look at the famous Cresta Run, the best known bobsleigh track of them all, but as I knew this would have not really interested Mrs Wilbur, we stayed on for our planned destination.
In no time at all we were sat in our bright red carriage, traversing upwards into the clouds. As we looked out into the panorama, gliders floated past, a wonderful way to travel in the vast space I conjectured.
The view from the top at 2,456 metres above sea level was brilliant as you would expect on the beautiful sunny day.
It didn’t take long before a lone hang-glider honed into view and blatantly posed for the cameras. He swooshed and glided close to the mountaintop, seemingly determined to show his good side.
A coffee, slice of carrot cake and second mortgage later, we drank in the view some more and then headed down.
We then waited for a local train to take us one stop to Pontresina. It was seriously hot and with the station building being pretty much a wooden shed, there was not much respite.
The twenty minute wait seemed to drag on for far longer, so we were delighted when our train edged around the bend towards us. This was unusually a request stop, so we waved our arms furiously lest we be stuck in the shed for a further hour.
Pleasingly we were spotted and glad to board for the eight minute journey, where we changed trains for the climb up on the Bernina Line to Bernina-Diavolezza for the giant yellow cable car to Diavolezza, 2,978 metres above sea-level. The car was apparently big enough for 102 people plus the driver, but happily there were only ten of us on this ascent.
By now the time was 16.4o and we had timed it perfectly for the last ride of the day. This did mean that we would have about five minutes up top before we needed to descend again, but the good-humoured car operator promised not to leave without us.
The ride up was spectacular. We had never before been in such a huge cable car and the big glass panels gave a wonderful view of the whole mountain valley and the large mountain lakes. The journey up took about ten minutes and we were left with a few minutes to yomp around the snowy terrain and to enjoy the chilled fresh air, before heading down again.
Our train back to St Moritz was about thirty minutes away. I managed to avoid the temptation of going to Tirano again so I could do the Brusio Viaduct the other way round and waited patiently in it has to be said pretty nice surroundings.
Although we had seen bits of St Moritz through taxi and bus windows, we hadn’t really seen St Moritz so decided to spend some time there on arrival at the train station. It’s situation is marvellous with the adjacent lake and mountains, so we left through the back exit for a wander around the lake to stoke up the appetite before dinner.
We took our refreshment at the splendidly named Blue Rabbit Restaurant – £95 for two beers and a sausage and potato dish each!
Our free pass was used for the last time as we took the bus via Bad Moritz back to Champfer and a twilight walk through the meadow for a beer nightcap on the veranda.
After such a wonderful day with lungfuls of pure mountain air, you would have thought I would be bushed out, but the result of the UK referendum on whether to remain in the EU was due in the early hours. I was to have an extremely fitful sleep………