July 19th ~ Travel day Lucerne to Pontresina
Well, this was my punishment day for screwing up our reservations. The itinerary was intended to be one day taking the William Tell route from Lucerne to Lugano (overnight there for one night) and the following day taking the Bernini Express from Lugano to Pontresina. But since I somehow missed booking the night in Lugano entirely and had us staying in Pontresina instead, we had a lot of ground to cover in one day.
Instead of taking the ferry across Lake Lucerne (which we had already taken the old paddlewheel the day before) we left directly by train at the crack of dawn, 6:18 am. Our hotel had prepared a sack breakfast for us to take. It was ready for us to pick up at 5:45.
The train ride took us directly south out of Lucerne and was non-stop to Lugano, taking 2 hours and 36 minutes.
The scenery was pleasant 🙂
From Lugano, we were doing the Bernini Express which was a combination of bus and train. The first bus portion cut across the northern tip of Italy where we enjoyed that a capable driver was negotiating the narrow streets for us.
Passing by Lake Lugano and Lake Como was an extra bonus. I kept my eyes open for George and Amal Clooney…
The hillsides were steeply terraced and covered in grape vines. The bus portion was 3 hours.
Upon arrival in Tirano (still in Italy, but on the Italian/Swiss border), we once again were to transfer back to the train. This station was a little confusing to me and I found the signs lacking. It took three different people helping us to finally get us from where the bus let us out to the correct departure platform.
But the final lap of the journey made up for every moment of frustration. Taking the Bernini Express from Tirano to Pontresina was AMAZING!
For the next two hours we were glued to the window watching storybook vistas drift by. Mountain glaciers, long cascading waterfalls, sharp snow peaked crags, sunshine reflecting on pristine lakes, and numerous bridges and tunnels kept us well entertained.
Upon arrival in Pontresina we were met by a driver from our hotel. I had arranged being picked up via emails with the General Manager, Regina Amberger, prior to our arriving and it worked like clockwork (or course, we are in Switzerland).
When checking in, Regina personally greeted us, explained the free spa options and then escorted us to our room. We had splurged on this stop, booking a superior double with a valley view.
I can not tell you how thrilled we were to receive a corner room with two enormous floor to ceiling windows that looked out in two directions. From our bed we can soak it all in. In fact last night I sat here and watched the sun go down over the mountains. We left the curtains wide open and this morning, awake before 5, I watched the early rays catch the top of the peaks and morning dew slowly evaporate in the valley below.
If you ever get to Pontresina, and I sincerely hope you do, I can whole heartedly recommend staying at the Hotel Allegra. For a magical stay, request room 307 and enjoy the views for yourself!
I want to share just a bit more about just how special we are finding Switzerland and why. Tim was still hungry and wanted to find a snack before going to bed so off he went while I stayed in the room sorting through pictures and enjoying our view.
When he came back he had a big grin on his face. He was carrying a large bowl of chopped up fresh fruit and an over-sized piece of some kind of a berry pie/tort. I know I have previously commented on him being a fruit bat in a previous life, lol. Anyway, the fruit was in a crystal bowl, and the pie on a glass plate.
What was so unusual about this was that he got it about three blocks down the street. Tim reminded them that he wanted to take it back to the hotel. They informed him that it was not a problem to take the dishes, that they did not want to put it on some flimsy plastic, and that they would pick the dishes up from the hotel later.
On top of that, the kind lady at the restaurant had sent her helper to another restaurant down the street to pick up some better fruit for his salad!
As we sat enjoying his salad, and people watching from high above the street, we noticed a woman walking a dog down the sidewalk. The dog stopped, did his business and they walked on. A couple following behind them were noticeably distraught that she had not used a bag to clean up after her pet. Watching their body language, movement and gestures, they seemed to be discussing whether or not to confront her and make her return. Evidently they were still contemplating their options as they proceeded down the street.
Another woman, walking her own dog, unaware of the previous drama, spotted the offending offal, picked it up herself in a bag, and carried on as if it were normal to do so.
By this time, Tim and I were discussing whether or not we had died and were now in heaven and just not aware that we were dead. We seemed to be in a completely unknown alternate dimension of human kindness, caring, practicality, and awareness.
Overnight: Hotel Allegra, Pontresina
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that I can still be surprised by acts of human thoughtfulness and kindness. Am I gushing about Switzerland? You bet I am! We have seen and shared some “off the chart” places in our travels around the world, but for the entire package of “Wonderfulness”, I don’t know that it will be possible to get any better than what we are experiencing here.
And the exciting part is that we still have over a week here in Switzerland to see even more! Hope you will join us to see what else we discover along the way.