How my screwing up affected our trip – Getting from Lucerne to Pontresina

July 19th ~ Travel day Lucerne to Pontresina


View while traveling on the Bernini Express

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. 


Gus is a little perturbed with me, but excited to have a window seat

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 🙂


Still in Switzerland. Just before arriving in Italy.

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…


Just caught a glimpse of the lake through the buildings as we climbed the hill


Here is a little better view

The hillsides were steeply terraced and covered in grape vines. The bus portion was 3 hours.


I’ll bet a lot of good wine comes out of this area

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!


Tirano is the bottom right corner on this map. Pontresina is just before St Moritz on the map. The Bernini Express is a UNESCO World Heritage Experience.

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.


Some of the train windows open allowing you to stick your head or camera out to take a picture


Villages tucked in the valley surrounded by tall mountains


The famous Circular Brusio Viaduct


Crossing over the Brusio Circular Viaduct


My favorite shot of the day!


Glacier with waterfalls coming down the mountain


Hiking trails everywhere


I’ll bet this water is cold, cold, cold. Breathtaking though!


Walkway along the side of this pristine mountain lake


Melting snow runs off into the lake below


Morteratsch Glacier

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.

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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.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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34 Responses to How my screwing up affected our trip – Getting from Lucerne to Pontresina

  1. GeorgieMoon says:

    I loved reading this post. What an amazing trip. Magnificent scenery, great photos! Switzerland does sound like a great place to visit. I smiled when I read about the bowls of fruit and pie…..


  2. Karmughil Vannan says:

    Amazing! Switzerland continues to amaze with its stunning landscapes. More and more pics of swiss I see from your posts, it is getting highly stamped in my mind that I should swiss at least once in my life.


  3. Wow… what a stunning place!!!

    It’s hard to imagine that you took these images from a moving train …

    Great work and thank you so much for sharing 🙂


    • Yes, a moving train is not an easy platform for good photography. I had quite a few that were out of focus, blurry, or had a pole or bridge come into frame just as I was taking the shot, LOL. Thankfully I am both a persistent and prolific snapper and was able to come up with these to share. Thank you for your encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. amommasview says:

    Well, what can I say, you’ve stayed in one of Switzerland’s best corners… Just a tiny remark: Lugano is still in Switzerland and not in Italy. But hey, it really doesn’t matter as it is so Italian anyway 🙂 I’m so glad you are enjoying my home country and the area I grew up in so much. Looking forward to reading more from you soon 🙂


  5. Jerry says:

    So enjoy your narratives, It’s like being there thank you so much, please tell Tim I said hi


  6. Barbara Yurick says:

    Hi Tim and JoAnn,

    We were in Lugano, in June and found it a very beautiful city. I wish we had known about the train ride, the Bernini Express. We were spending 5 days in beautiful Lake Como. Now we will just have to go back. My brother and his family were in Switzerland last week and raved about the very generous and kind Swiss people.


    • Barbara, I would love to see more of Northern Italy and hope to concentrate on that area on some future trip. Did you enjoy Lake Como? I know there are some beautiful places to make “home base” and then explore from there.


  7. lindagayles says:

    You both inspire me with your posts. Your lifestyle IS heaven on earth.


  8. Merrill says:

    You made me smile! Gushing over Switzerland, yep, and especially with the story of the offensive dog owner and the charity of the other! People watching…


  9. Those photos can’t be real.


  10. Beautiful photos, Peggy. Gus and Eeyore should get together and discuss their travels. I am sure they would have a lot to talk about. –Curt


  11. We are travelling the same path in terms of blog posts at present though mine is a bit delayed as we were there in April! Am a huge fan of Switzerland and we have done the Bernina Express route twice now and honestly think I could do it every week and not get bored! We have stopped off at Pontresina before but not actually stayed there – will remember the hotel tip! Have a fabulous rest of your stay and look forward to reading more about your travels! 🙂


    • How lucky you are to have traveled this route two times! We are so awed by the natural beauty here. Each day I think it will be impossible to top what we have seen or experienced and then BAM, another amazing day pops up! I hope you get your blog caught up. I know how challenging it is to keep it current and some times it is downright impossible if you also want to see the sites and squeeze in any sleep.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes it’s an amazing part of the world! I think it’s great that you’re blogging as you go along – I actually prefer to write it all up when I get home and tend to put photos up on the Le Chic En rose Instagram and Facebook pages as I go along as it’s much quicker. Great that we get to experience your travels on a day to day basis – enjoy the rest of your trip! 🙂


      • Doing a quicker version sounds great about now.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Lauren says:

    We’re planning a similar trip on the Bernini Express. Thanks for the tips!


  13. Alice Gratias says:

    Enjoying all the wonderful Blogs. Our Panama trip canceled because of the virus. So going on train rip of So Rim of Grand Canyon. Love you both.


  14. I love this story 🙂 and awesome pictures to go with this!!!


  15. Cathy says:

    Don’t forget to see the Swiss Jura. It’s a lot less touristy than the Alps and very lovely. Great post!


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