Trip Start Mar 05, 2010
Trip End Apr 21, 2010

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Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We travelled from Venice (via a 1hr stopover in Milan) to Tirano. It surprised us just how big many of the regional Italian towns really are – they are far bigger than anything in WA.  They also just seem to flow from one to the other without any real areas of "remoteness" in between like we have.  The Italy we have seen seems to be just one continuous path of humanity. 

Tirano is a small town in the North of Italy that borders Switzerland and lies at the base of the Swiss Alps.  The train ride from Milan to Tirano was great, wonderful scenery and we passed through many towns and lakes hidden up in the mountains of Italy.  Tirano is located at the foot of the “Bernina Pass”, which is an early passageway through the Alps into Switzerland.  We had booked the scenic, or panoramic, train ride known as the Bernina Express which was to take us up through the Alps an into Switzerland's oldest town, Chur.  The Bernina Express train is slower than a normal train and has large curved windows over the roof to improve visibility – we were both looking forward to the trip.

Next day - As the Alps trip left at about 2.30 in the afternoon, we had quite a lot of time to burn – seemed to make the day drag on.  Finally, time to get on the train!  Our seats were reserved so I didn’t have to push anyone out of the way to get a window seat.  We had great seats and the views were amazing.  The highest peak we traversed was about 2200m and some of the old station stops are as they were about 100 years ago.  Surprisingly it wasn’t very cold up there (many times sticking the head out the window proved this) and even more surprising was the number of towns we passed through on the 4.5 hour trip.  It is hard to comprehend the engineering and physical/human challenges the original workers must have faced in order to build the track.  The entire route is now world heritage listed.

We ended the scenic ride in Chur (pronounced Cor) where we had about a 10 minute window to find our connecting train to Zurich – or wait another hour in the cold.  It was now around 7.30pm.  We ran from our train (Amazing Race style), briefly into the station, found the required platform and our train and jumped on to grab a seat.  We then sat there for the next 5-8mins twiddling our thumbs as we watched everyone else bring on food for their dinner for the 90min trip.  We then wished we had taken more time in the station to grab something rather than rushing onto the train.  So for dinner out came a banana, some chocolate we’d saved and some freebie train biscuits.

Off to Zurich.
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Nina Biffin on

Loved Italy shots. Did you meet any Mazzolettis in Northern Italy.This is Nana Vi's heritage. Enjoying your Journey. I'M off to Penang with 10 BTF girls in Sept. for 10 days and goingon the Queen Mary in Feb.2011 for 30 days.Stay safe. LOve Mume

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