THE GLACIER EXPRESS20130718_132541 

This train is known by many travel guides to be the most scenic train ride in all of Europe.  We had to see it.  We left from Zermatt & the foggy Matterhorn and took the full route through the entire Swiss Alps to St. Moritz.  

If you want a free ride on the Glacier Express check out the link at:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYvxIq8n_F4   or   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed2BZISLCrs

When we first tried to book the train, we found it cost around US$ 550 total for the both of us, on the German language MySwitzerland.com website.  The my faithful assistant, Linda Decker put in that mix that we had EU Rail Passes for the time we were in Switzerland.  Then the price dropped to only US$33 each.  Yipee.  Such a deal.  Then when we showed up to ride the train, we were told that we only had a “reservation” and not a ticket so we were able to contribute another US$251 each to the local train economy.  I am not whining because it was worth every Swiss Frank that we paid for the “joy ride” through the Swiss Alps.

We saw “all kinds of stuff” from the train.  The train is equipped with a 45 degree left and right diagonal glass ceiling so you can look up, and up, and up.

20130718_084825  This young lady did a super job of map navigation in many languages, on street maps, on train maps, on buss maps and on maps of maps.  I guess she has good math and logic skills.  (smart kid, aye?)  Ooops, I misspoke,  I can’t call her a kid any more or she will hit me.  Yes mam, she is a 100% certified adult these days.   20130718_100320 20130718_101816  20130718_123445 Unfortunately, I got this gal in trouble by talking to her in Spanish during their busy lunch time and her boss ground her up for my impropriety.  (sorry).

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The route we took on the Glacier Express can be seen as the red line on the following relief map.  As you can tell it mostly took valleys as the train route.  Which makes sense because who in their right mind would put train tracks on the tops of mountain peaks.  (Duuuuhhhh).

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We saw it all.  We saw the roofs made out of local flat wafer rock shingles.   They said the name of the rock and it was not slate as I had anticipated.  I guess a rock roof would last at least 50 to 75 years.  The rock roofs even gets moss growing on it some times.  I wonder if the rock roofs shake with rhythm if you play loud rock and roll with bass in the house below?   I may never know the answer to that one.

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Some times I wonder if I will pass Muster on some of the projects that I do at work and at home.  I am proud to say on this trip, we actually, and officially “Passed Muster”, as you can see.

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We saw the raw materials that cheese is made from.  Cows.  We heard all about how cheese is made and after the explanation, both of us came to the same conclusion that it sounded like making fine wine.  Never say that you want to buy “Swiss Cheese” in Switzerland.  They will not know what you are talking about.  Swiss Cheese is an American Term to describe a type of cheese that originally came from the Emmental area of Switzerland.  The Swiss and the Germans have over 50 different types of cheeses that are made with much pride.  But none of them are called “Swiss Cheese”.  (so get over it)

               20130718_123658 Now, I am sure that you are curious as heck how Emmental Cheese is produced.  Right?  (say yes).  Well,  there are three types of bacteria are used in the production of Emmental cheese: Streptococcus salivarius subspecies thermophilus, Lactobacillus (Lactobacillus helveticus or Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus), and Propionibacterium (Propionibacterium freudenreichii subspecies shermani).  In a late stage of cheese production, the propionibacteria consume the lactic acid excreted by the other bacteria and release acetate, propionic acid, and carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide slowly forms the bubbles that develop the “eyes”.  The acetate and propionic acid give Swiss its nutty and sweet flavor.  Historically, the holes were seen as a sign of imperfection and cheese makers originally tried to avoid them by pressing during production. In modern times, the holes have become an identifier of the cheese.   Now you know.  Aren’t you glad you asked?  OK, repeat after me,   Emmental Cheese   again,  Emmental Cheese   one more time, Emmental Cheese.  Right, now ya got it.

We saw people in Kayaks. 20130718_142544

We saw people floating down the river in rafts. 20130718_142823 

We saw people walking through the country side.     20130718_124055(0)

We saw long distance bicycle riders touring the country side.  20130718_124244  20130718_155008

We saw churches.  I’m not sure, but I think we saw god there too.

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We saw mountains and valleys.  We saw snow, grass, rocks, dirt, mud, ice, sky, clouds, rain, water, roads, people, buildings, interesting artifacts, geologic formations.  20130718_120809

We saw visible moisture in the form of precipitation from our dry vantage point inside the train.

Try taking pictures through that window, buddy.   20130718_113448

We saw more construction in Switzerland than any other country that we visited.   It must be a growth area.  20130718_130341

We saw charming valleys with quaint little villages.  We saw houses out in the middle of “no where”, I meant to say  “nature”.   20130718_155716

      We saw the raw materials to make chop sticks and tooth picks.               20130718_155710

We saw beautiful places and nice locations to live.  20130718_130650

The only thing that I do not remember seeing from the train is a glacier.  What?  You call this buggy the Glacier Express and I do not remember seeing even one cotton-picken glacier.   Well, it was in the middle of July and north of the Equaiter July means that it is summer time with less snow, but glaciers are supposed to last all year round, right?  Oh, well.  I am not disappointed (not very much anyway).

COMPARISION OF TWO VERSIONS OF RIDING SWISS “ADVENTURE” TRAINS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

This Glacier Express train ride was fun. and worth every Swiss Franc we paid Swiss Franc  07 28 13 JPEG,  but our three train ride yesterday from Interlaken, on three trains, inside the train tunnels bored in the Eiger mountain on the small cog geared train,

Eiger Mountain Switzerland 07 27 13 JPEG

inside the tunnels through the Mönch Mountain (in the Berneze Alps) on the train,

Mönch Mountain in the Berneze Alps Swiss 07 27 13 JPEG

walking through solid ice glacier tunnels, walking on top of real 100% FDA approved glaciers on the top of the Jungfraujock

Jungfraujock mountain 07 27 13 JPEG20130717_095656

was way more fun and exciting that the Glazier express.

I realized why when I saw a Glacier express magazine advertisement of a couple drinking a bottle of fine wine or champagne while dining on a gourmet meal, looking out the window while “sitting on their butts” for the whole seven hour train ride.  I realized the problem is, that I am not a spectator and I do not get any thrill out of over priced meals nor sitting on my butt watching events happening “out there somewhere”.   I am a participant.  I want to see the world up close and in your face.  Nothing ever happens to me, I always happen to things.   I am a player not a watcher.  That is why I liked the three trains and the experience we had yesterday on the Jungfraujock.  It was all narrated in the first person as to what “we” were doing not as to what someone else was doing and we were trying to squeeze vicarious enjoyment out of watching things outside our circle.  Well, maybe I learned something that I can cogitate over for a while.

Well I did find amusement when I found out that our locomotive had a nick name called the “Bugger Train” ;=)   I know, it just ain’t right to say such a thing.  But heck, who’s going to stop me and its not illegal, immoral nor fattening.   So, What the heck?           20130718_160213(0)

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And this young, graduated from the University, traveler, bicycle racer, math wizard, analyst, logistician, and this cherub saw everything.  She saw it all and had fun doing all that travel and cultural enrichment, all that geography seeing and movement.  Yep.  She is a good kid (I mean) lady.    20130718_162343  So, before I get pounded on for derogatoryizim (from the princess herself)  for me using the term “cherub” in my narrative description above.  I would like to define it as part of my subsequent self-defense and avoidance of her chastisement.   The word Cherub means….

cherub     /ˈCHerəb/  it is a noun     1. .A winged angelic being described in biblical tradition as attending on God, regarded in traditional Christian angelology as an angel of…     2. A representation of a cherub in art, depicted as a chubby (not in this case), healthy-looking child with wings.   In German it is: Cherub.  In Spanish it is Querubin.      Synonyms in English = ANGEL cherub or angel  07 27 13 JPEG

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THE FOUR OFFICIAL LANGUAGES OF SWITZERLAND.

German language (Swiss German accent)

French language

Italian language

Romansh language

And you think you have trouble just understanding all the varieties of just plain old vanilla flavored English?

On the Bern/ Zermatt (West)  side of Switzerland the common languages are French and German.  On the St. Moritz (East) side of Switzerland there is much less French spoken, German is common and the forth official language is spoken around St. Moritz.  It is called Romansh.  It is a dialect of Roman/Latin/Italian and around 35, 000 people speak Romansh.  I was surprised on this trip because after studying Spanish for over 20 years, I was able to speak and communicate well with Portuguese speakers from Brazil and Portugal.  I was also able to speak with people who spoke only Italian. 

See Romansh Language information at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7fJBUH1JCE  

Zi 4 Swiss Languages 07 07 13    JPEGZi 4 Swiss Languages 07 07 13    GIF

 

 

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