14 Hairpins turns after lunch

Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
Trip End Jul 13, 2009

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Flag of Switzerland  ,
Friday, July 3, 2009

We started out from Lake Lugano en route to Lake Como, Italy. Como is the third largest of the Italian lakes and an easy drive from Lake Lugano. Lake Como is shaped liked an upside down Y. Anyone who is anyone visits here--George Clooney has a villa here and Versace was born here. It is a picturesque lake, lined with expensive villas and restaurants. We took a break across from the only island on Lake Como --Isla Comocino. Today there is a restaurant on the island where you can dine and, between courses over a three hour period, hear the history of the island told entirely in Italian. Mussolini was executed in front of Villa Bellemonte on Lake Como.

We stopped for lunch in Mennagio, a small town on the lake. It has a pretty waterfront walk and a few shops.  Across the lake is Bellagio, which was the inspiration for the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

We crossed back into Switzerland and entered the largest and least populated of the Swiss Cantons. It has land on both sides of the Alps and is the setting for the book Heidi. We started our climb up to the Maloja Pass --6000' in elevation. The bus driver honked his horn before each of the 14 hairpin turns to tell other vehicles he was there --he had the right of way since he was going uphill. Our tour director has a sense of humor, as she put Bolero on the sound system and somehow it fit. We finally reached the summit (we gave our driver a round of applause) and stopped at the top. A short walk took us to an overlook and there we had the entire Bregala River Valley stretched before us. It was an awesome testimony of the awesomeness of God. THIS is the landscape I think most people associate with Switzerland --towering, majestic mountains, green hills and river valleys-- Breathtakingly beautiful.

We continued on for a few miles and came to a few mountain lakes. One is popular for windsurfing and once again, our tour director showed her sense of humor by playing Surfin' USA.

We arrived at St. Moritz about 4:30. This is the quintessential Swiss ski resort, where every February women walk out onto the frozen lake in high heels and fur coats, sipping champagne and watching Polo matches on the ice. There isn't really much of anything in St. Moritz except shops and hotels. One hotel, which is closed in the summer, was the home of Czar Nicholas II. He never got to use it, as he was assassinated  before the family ever got to travel to St. Moritz to use it.

We took a bus to the town and walked back. It was a pretty walk along the lake. We had a late dinner with 2 other couples and now we are off to ride on the Glacier Express.
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joanne smith on

I've just returned from St Moritz, and I must say the journey down that mountain was awful! The coach lost control at the top and skidded to a halt sideways across the road! The back of the coach was nearly over the edge, and the driver was still backing back! If you Ever get on a coach down in the snow, make sure the coach has snow chains on. Next time, might not be so lucky!
10 of us then walked down the mounatin to safty, which took over an hour. Very scary experience indeed.

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