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Exploring the Old Town of Chur, Switzerland

I sat down on the train, making myself comfortable for the journey ahead. It was about 15 minutes before departure so I decided to fill out my rail pass documents. I pulled out the ticket I had purchased the day before, Christmas Day. I read the date on my ticket, the 27th of December.

I read it again. Maybe I was confused. I checked my phone. It was the 26th. I had a ticket for the wrong day.

I flung myself off the train and ran. Pushing past people, the panic in my brain thinking what if we missed this train? I ran into the busy ticket office and up to the info counter. Hoping the lady would understand my frantic English I explained that the ticket I had been sold the previous day was not for the correct date, and that I needed to be on that train due to depart shortly. She kindly allowed me to skip the queue and gestured to wait for the lady on my left to be available.

It felt like a long wait, when really I guess it was about 2 minutes. When I explained again, she was very helpful and didn’t seem concerned at all. The only issue was the first class seat reservations could not be transferred as you cannot book them that close to departure. At this stage I didn’t care so long as I was on that train. So with a little refund for those original seat reservations, I ran back to the train with the correct tickets ready to depart.

As luck would have it, the seats we had sat in, the seats we reserved for that journey the following day, were not reserved, so as we still had first class tickets we could remain there rather than having to move carriages. It was a welcome relief as my heart was still racing.

Too much excitement for a cold morning in Munich.

As the train departed the station, I sat back and relaxed ready to watch the breathtaking landscape change around me as we journeyed through Germany, to Austria, and then Switzerland. It was a big day of train travel but one I was looking forward to.

Our destination was Chur in Switzerland, a place that I had mispronounced to the ticket officer when initially booking our tickets on Christmas Day. As an Aussie, we automatically pronounce words phonetically so I had asked for a ticket to Ch-ur. The ticket officer replied with ‘there is no station in Switzerland with that name’. Well there is, I tried to explain, but I cannot guarantee that I am saying it correctly but I don’t know how else to try. I eventually showed it to him on my phone and he replied with ‘oh, Coor’. Sure I said.

I should have double checked the date.

The journey from Munich to Chur was in two parts. First, the train from Munich to St Margarethen in Switzerland. This was the longest leg and one that required us to purchase a ticket supplement as we would make a stop in Austria, a country that our rail pass did not cover, even though we ourselves did not get off the train here. The second train was from St Margarethen to Chur, a shorter trip but one with some spectacular views of the mountains around us.

On arrival in Chur it was getting dark so we were not really able to see the landscape around us, however I could tell that we were in a valley with giant mountains rising up around us. We checked into our accommodation for the night, the ABC Swiss Quality Hotel, picked for its easy proximity to the train station and great reviews.

I was excited to visit Chur. We had opted to stay here to board the Glacier Express train rather than going to St Moritz due to cost. I knew we would still be able to enjoy that journey and that I wouldn’t feel as though I missed out. The prices of Chur accommodation were so much more reasonable than St Moritz so the decision was easy. Also once I Googled a photo of the town in winter, I was pretty much sold!

Chur is reputably the oldest town in Switzerland so for that reason alone I knew it was going to be an interesting place to look around. It’s well preserved historic Old Town is car-free making it the perfect place to wander around getting lost in the narrow streets.

Chur was at one point in its early days Roman ruled, and for this reason I had decided it would be the perfect place to find some good Italian influence. Also known as food. As dinner time rolled around, we set out to wander the streets of the old town in search of a restaurant serving up some authentic Italian cuisine. What I wasn’t aware of however was that December 26th was St Stephens Day, and therefore a public holiday. Many of the restaurants I had looked up were closed.

We eventually found a building, which kind of looked more like a house, that had its lights on and a promising menu. We were the first to be seated, which in Europe is never surprising as we seem to eat much earlier than everyone else. We sipped on wine from Tuscany and ordered the spaghetti vongole (baby clams) which was the dish we most enjoyed from our time in Italy. This was the meal we had wanted and it was delicious.

We headed back to the hotel for a restful night, because the next day would be a big one.

We woke early as I had a plan to find the vantage point from the photo that I had seen on Google that made me want to visit. I wanted to get there for sunrise. So after filling up on our hotel breakfast, we set out for a walk in the cool morning air.

I had done some Googling the night before and was pretty sure I knew where I wanted to go to get the view I was after. As we walked through town and first light began to uncover the area around us, we realised we would be walking up the steep road that wound up the mountain in front of us.

The climb warmed me up and the view was totally worth it. From the vantage point we could see the old town sprawling out in front of us, the terracotta roof tops covered in a light dusting of snow. As the sun came up behind the clouds, we were not treated to a colourful sunrise, but as the light poured into the valley below it was quite spectacular to see everything come to life.

This was one of my favourite moments, just us and the incredible view laid out in front of me. Different to the one covered in snow I had seen online, but spectacular in every sense of the word.

When I finally had decided I had taken enough photos, we descended back down into the old town. It was still early and we had the place pretty much to ourselves. We still had a couple of hours until our train would arrive, so we spent the time wandering around admiring the beautiful buildings, and the colours.

Chur was a place I found fascinatingly beautiful. I am not sure what else there is to do but look, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have wanted to do anything else. I was worried our short time wouldn’t be enough time, but I was happy with spending the time I did have just looking around and admiring the colours of the beautiful old town and marvelling at the size of the snow covered mountains that surrounded us.

Eventually it was time for us to leave and board the Glacier Express that would take us across the country to Zermatt, where more quaint towns and spectacular scenery was waiting.

Sally x

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