My Switzerland Experience

Ally Case on 17 October 2015
I arrived at London Heathrow for my 0840 flight to Zurich courtesy of Swiss Air. I had already checked in online so just needed to drop my bag and I was free to explore London Heathrow Terminal 2. I had the privilege of travelling Business Class on my outbound flight so with priority boarding we were on the flight with our complimentary small bar of Swiss chocolate in hand, all seated and ready for take off at 8.30, after a small delay we were air bound within 15 minutes. The service on board was excellent, a lovely breakfast consisting of bacon, scrambled eggs, tomato and hash brown, plus fruit yogurt and croissants and a choice of two delicious Swiss cheeses all washed down with two cups of tea from a China mug! The one hour 15 minute flight passes quickly with the help of the informative I flight magazine and free Sunday Mail newspaper. We touched down at Zurich airport at 11.25 local time.

We then proceeded onto the Swiss rail system which was very easy and one of the cleanest I had ever encountered. We had to get from Zurich Airport to the city in order to change finally arriving into Andermatt at 3pm where we were met by a chauffeur from the 5* Chedi Hotel who transported our cases to the hotel, whilst we walked the short distance of 100m to the hotel. Upon arrival we were welcomed into the hotel by Sven with a champagne reception and then a tour of this splendid establishment. After a quick change we spent a leisurely night at the hotel restaurant with a mouth-watering Asian dinner, retiring to the lounge for after dinner cocktails.

We met the following morning for an hour guided tour of Andermatt, this was absolutely fascinating, Andermatt is a very typical Swiss ski village with little chocolate box houses and hotels and lots of fascinating history stories. After our tour we checked out of the hotel and were all very excited for the next leg of our journey on the Glacier Express from Andermatt to St Moritz. This wonderful 5 hour journey meanders its way across the Alps passing lakes, over viaducts, through tunnels, the scenery is absolutely breath-taking. We travelled 1st class and enjoyed a sumptuous 3 course meal and wine. We arrived into St Moritz at 5pm where our transfer was waiting to transport us to 5* Hotel Walhaus in Sils Maria, a 15 minute transfer from the station. This hotel really has the wow factor, built in 1908, this family run establishment, currently being managed by the 5th generation, is truly a hotel with a difference. From the mountain side setting over-looking the lake to the traditional decor which spans the whole hotel. We were met by Patrick and Claudio Deitreich, the two brothers who are the currently manage the hotel. After a tour of the hotel which included the hotels private museum with artefact dating back to 1908, to the impressive wine cellar we retired to our rooms to prepare to dinner. This evening we were treated to a five course dinner in the hotels dining room, it was absolutely superb. After dinner we retired to the lounge for after dinner drinks in the company of the in house pianist. The following morning we were transported back down into St Moritz to await the Bernina Express, a rail journey which enjoys the scenery along the world-heritage Bernina Line. We disembarked at Bernina Diavolezza and took the cable car to the top of the mountain. Here we enjoyed a traditional Swiss fare to the Graubunden Region. There was a lot of snow at the top of the mountain but unfortunately the cloud was very low so we were unable to take in the spectacular views that we could only see on the many photos hanging around the restaurant. We were shown the many rooms which are available to book at the top of the mountain including the private hot tub which is available to pre-book. After descending the mountain we took the train back to St Moritz and a transfer back to the hotel where we enjoyed a few leisurely hours in the hotels spa. After another sumptuous buffet dinner consisting of local game we again retired to the lounge for after dinner drinks.

The following morning I opened the curtains to snow! What an absolute delight, this totally transformed the landscape in a winter wonderland. We enjoyed a horse-drawn carriage ride through the Val Fex, stopping along the way to take in the magnificent scenery of this part of the region.

An afternoon transfer took us back to St Moritz for our train journey back to Zurich and our flight home.

All I can say is that I was totally blown away with this country, not much bigger than Wales but with so much to see and do. I would recommend it to absolutely everybody - cyclists, walkers, winter sports, train enthusiasts etc. A must on anybody's bucket list!