Mom and Dad M. came to visit us for about 10 days, and it was an action-packed visit from start to finish!

We hadn’t seen Mom and Dad M. since P’s graduation in May, so it was especially wonderful to see them after such a long time.  Despite their long journey from the U.S. and their six time zone adjustment, they energetically took on every adventure available!

A few hours after they landed in Zürich, we all hopped on a train and began our 3 1/2 hour ride to St. Moritz for the start of a very Swiss weekend.

St. Moritz

St. Moritz is a beautiful little lakeside town in southeast Switzerland, very close to the Italian border.  It is situated near similar towns and lakes that are nestled in a row between two lanes of mountains, which form something of a corridor between them called the Engadin valley.  St. Moritz claims to be the birthplace of the winter holiday and offers a wide array of winter sports, including bobsledding!  In the summertime, visitors travel to St. Moritz for its lake sports, mountain biking, and hiking trails.

On our first morning in St. Moritz, we headed toward Piz Nair, a nearby peak with some beautiful views of the nearby mountains and valleys.  We took a series of two funiculars from downtown St. Moritz to Corviglia, a station that provides a starting point for a variety of different hikes and bike paths.

View of the Upper Engadin valley from Corviglia

From Corviglia, we took a cable car to Piz Nair at 3057 meters.  It was fairly cloudy that morning, and the cable car took us right into a very thick, grey cloud.  Looking up at the line during our journey, and looking down at the line after our arrival, made it feel as if we were passing into another dimension.  At the top cable car station, we took in some very spectacular views that were ever-changing with the passing clouds.

Looking down on our cable car line
Piz Nair’s famed mountain goat statute

Hungry for more, we hiked up a rocky path an additional 30 meters to the summit.  The top of Piz Nair sort of felt like another planet.  It had almost no vegetation, and we were surrounded by colorful red, grey, and green rock.  As the clouds shifted, we enjoyed different views – some of enormous nearby mountains, some of turquoise glacial lakes, and some of the peaceful valley below us.

Approaching the summit
A view from the top

We made our way back down to Corviglia by cable car and enjoyed a delicious lunch of goulash and barley soup with a heavenly apple strudel for dessert at the mountainside Quattro Bar.  Then, we took to the trails and hiked halfway down the rest of the mountain.  Our hike took us past little waterfalls, fields speckled with wildflowers, and a herd of grazing cows with their bells softly ringing.  We ended our hike at the Chantarella funicular station, where we hopped on the funicular for the final leg of our journey back to St. Moritz.

Grazing cow

Once back in town, everybody rested while I took a little walk.  I went down to St. Moritzersee, the town’s lake, which is at a surprisingly much lower altitude than the downtown area.  On a map, it looks like the town is right on the water, but my walk to the lake involved two very long escalators down to the waterfront.  There was a little path that curved along the lake, and lots of people were sailboating.  The deep blue of the water, the bright white of the boat sails, and the imposing mountains behind them were an impressive sight.

St. Moritzersee

I made my way back to our hotel just in time to get cleaned up before we all headed out again.  Our destination was Muottas Muragl, a 2454 meter peak that looks down the valley corridor and provides yet more spectacular views.

We took a bus from downtown St. Moritz to the base of Muottas Muragl, then rode a funicular that took us through a dense pine forest up to the top.  The top of Muottas Muragl is the starting point for many hiking trails and it also has an excellent  restaurant.  We rested in some cool little chair/fort kind of things and took in the view, then P and I explored one of the shorter, easier hiking trails.

Sunset over the Upper Engadin valley seen from Muottas Muragl

We took in the sunset and watched the sky, clouds, and mountains change color, then headed over to the restaurant at the Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl for dinner.  We each tried a prix fixe menu that included creative and delicious dishes, such as pumpkin soup, halibut carpaccio, blueberry champagne sorbet, filet mignon, and an assortment of beautiful little cookies and chocolates.  It was an evening to remember.  The colors of the sunset were beautiful, the food was exquisite, and the company was spectacular.  It was perfect ending to a great day!