Taking the long way home: The Bernina Express

Well, it took me over three years but I did it…

SGMT | Bernina Express

SGMT | Bernina Express

It was an almost spur-of-the-moment decision to buy round-trip tickets to Milan and spend Valentine’s Day moping about in Italy. At first we were going to stay in Milan the entire time but the plan eventually evolved into a completely different creature — as plans do — involving Bergamo, a match at Camp Nou, and the most roundabout way of returning to Malpensa via Basel, Chur, Varenna, and Como.

I’m hoping to write about it all eventually but as I only managed two-fifths of our family trip last year, I don’t know how realistic that aspiration is. So just some random bits:

  • The endless photography in front of the Duomo in Milan is soul-sucking.
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  • Bergamo is 50 minutes but a world away from Milan — it’s heretofore relatively undiscovered by the Insta-crowd. At least there hasn’t been enough of us tourists yet to make the locals hate us.
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  • If you go to Bergamo, stay at least a night. We stayed at the Bed & Breakfast Sant’Erasmo and it just might be the most beautiful B&B I’ve ever stayed in, with the kindest hosts.
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  • I gained a much deeper appreciation for rank-and-file football players after watching a match at Camp Nou. The crowd’s meh response to the introduction of Inaki Pena (playing unused backup to Ter Stegen while Cillessen was injured) and the boos at the introduction of the Valladolid players (I mean why, they’re just doing their jobs, I would understand if it was, like, Real Madrid) would make you feel bad for them too. I mean, the lowest paid among them still earn soooo much more than I do, playing a sport they love, so their lives could be worse, obviously, but, yeah, I still kinda feel sorry for them.
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  • If I had the opportunity and more time, I would stay at Chur (or thereabouts) longer and explore the area. The Rhaetian Railway that runs the Bernina Express actually has a bunch of other routes served by the same red trains with panoramic windows being used for the BEx.
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  • Chur is not pronounced [chur]. 😀
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  • The Bernina Express has an extended stop at Alp Grum — a great opportunity to stretch your legs, take in the views of the Palu Glacier and the Val Poschiavo, and traipse in the snow (a delight for a tropical island girl like me).
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  • If I had to go back to Lake Como, I would still visit during the off-season. Maybe just shop for supplies before staying a spell in Varenna but even the reduced dining options was worth the chance to enjoy the lake in near solitude.
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  • Things you’ll never regret indulging in: gelato, polenta e osei, gelato, croissants, gelato. And I didn’t find any on this trip but also: millefoglie.

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Anyway, some more Bernina Express:

SGMT | Switzerland | Bernina Express

SGMT | Switzerland | Bernina Express

SGMT | Switzerland | Bernina Express

SGMT | Switzerland | Bernina Express

Talk to you all in another few months. ^_^ But hopefully sooner.



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