Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle

Winter/Spring 2016

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine

Issue link: http://read.dreamscapes.ca/i/631317

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Page 37 of 47

A nyone who has ridden Swiss rails has a story of pulling from the station as the second hand hits its mark. There's truth there, but travel on Switzerland's rail system—the world's densest train network—is about the journey. Efficiency is simply a nice perk. Confession: Even if Swiss trains were noto- riously tardy I'd still be a fan, hooked by the seductive stream of towering peaks, sun- kissed lakes and green valleys dotted with larch wood chalets. A buffet of rail lines criss-crosses the tiny country—3,551 kilometres to be exact—and it's hard to know where to start. With concierge-like precision, the nation has unveiled the Grand Train Tour of Switzer- land: you choose the itinerary, they craft a seamless prearranged train and hotel package, all on one travel ticket (Swiss Travel Pass). Be forewarned: like any sumptuous buffet, your eyes may outpace your stomach. Here are two of the eight classic train journeys to whet the appetite. A UNESCO ENGINEERING MARVEL There isn't a curve the Bernina Express cannot seduce. From the palm-lined boule- vards of Lugano across the mountains to Chur, Switzerland's oldest town, it's an engi- neering masterpiece—passing through 55 tunnels and over 196 bridges and arched viaducts. Achieving the near impossible is what made UNESCO take notice: the route is a World Heritage Site. The Bernina Express links two contrasting landscapes, from the Italian-speaking Ticino canton that exudes a Mediterranean vibe to a mountain-dominated Swiss cliché of glaciers and blinding snow. DREAMSCAPES WINTER/SPRING 2016 38 ALL ABOARD! BY JOSEPHINE MATYAS TOP: At the highest point of the Bernina Express, the landscape is one of snow, ice and glaciers. The high point marks the exact point of the watershed between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea. Josephine Matyas ABOVE: Created in 1959, the Swissminiatur park is a family-friendly way to see meticulously created models of the highlights of Switzerland— buildings, trains, mountains and valleys are all in one spot. Josephine Matyas OPPOSITE TOP: The small city of Chur is known for its outstanding medieval architecture. Switzerland Tourism/Lucia Degonda OPPOSITE BOTTOM: In the car-free town of Zermatt, the majestic Matterhorn is a highlight for all visitors. Josephine Matyas TO THOSE WHO THINK SWITZERLAND'S TRAINS CAN BE SUMMED UP IN ONE WORD—EFFICIENT—I SAY NOT SO FAST.

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