Chur and Arosa was a daytrip from Flims. Arosa the main destination via Chur, the latter a 20km bus ride from Flims. Chur was ok. Arosa, is a beautiful location. But, the train journey from Chur to Arosa is a spectacularly beautiful journey, taken along the Glacier Express/ Bernina Express route at a leisurely pace…a contradiction to its name.
Glacier Express / Bernina Express
Contrary to its namesake. The Glacier Express / Bernina Express train from Chur to Arosa is the slowest express train in the world. That’s not a bad thing. With the scenery it passes, this is not the place you want to be rushing through. I would have preferred the train to have gone half the speed, even stopping every 5 minutes. There was hardly a place that isn’t picture perfect. From Chur to Arosa is a beautiful 26km route with an elevation of 1000m through the mountainous landscape of Schanfigg.
My Chur and Arosa post is not an informative one. With little to say about the history, landmarks and “Must See” places. These are areas you go to (outside of Winter season) to enjoy the outdoors and scenery. I could just as easily had spent the day on the Glacier Express / Bernina Express; repeatedly going back and forth between Chur and Arosa and had a thoroughly enjoyable day. I read that the Glacier Express / Bernina Express is the slowest express train in the work. That’s not a negative jibe. It’s route winds through, valley, hills and mountains. Crosses gorge, rivers and cuts through mountains. Not the sort of journey you would want to do a 100km per hour…that without the view factor taken into consideration.
I’m not doing this back to front. Arriving in Chur I headed straight to the train station. Ambling about Chur when I returned. Both towns are primarily Winter destinations. With a lake at its centre, surrounded by shops, restaurants, hotels and chalets, Arosa has a holiday destination feel. Enclosed by mountains; Arosa town sits in the valley. Dotted through the region are small houses, chalets, hotels and resorts. It’s a sprawling expanse of an area giving you seclusion only 15 minutes walk from Arosa centre.
Set up for Winter sports, during Summer it’s perfect for quiet hikes, relaxing and mountain biking. Though I only saw two or three people riding. I didn’t see any of the ski-lifts being used for bikes. Most of the lifts weren’t even on. Strange. There was no plan for when I got there. After arriving, I had a coffee, saw a track/road/path and started walking. Not taking one specific route, if I saw another leading elsewhere I took it. If I saw a less trodden path I’d take that. For most of the day I hardly past anyone. My focus was on the surrounding landscape, enjoying what nature had on display and letting my thoughts wonder.
Unlike Flims, Arosa has more open space. Flowing meadows bordered by dense forests of trees. As a base or place to live, I’d choose Flims. But, if I lived in Flims, I’d be hiking around Arosa regularly. Taking the Glacier Express / Bernina Express on the weekend just for the hell of it. Without dragging on about the place I hope the pictures do it justice. My visit helped clear my mind. Only stopping because I needed to get the train back. I wasn’t hiking at pace, partly because I didn’t have a destination. Sometimes going off track finding myself in the middle of a meadow…no person nor building in sight – using the cable car as a bearing to find myself back on a trodden path.
What a contrast, in winter the area would be a personification of tranquillity. Snow covering every inch. Mountains looking like overflowing white pillows, draped in puffy duvets flowing down into the valleys below. Summer, a different story. Organic rich shades of green, enveloping the valley like a blanket. A swathe of green like a creeper, crawling up the mountain only to be stopped by the lifeless grey on stone. The mountain tops of jagged course rock, followed just below what looks like grey powder; crush rock, running down the mountain in streeks and held in situ by the apposing green force. I’ll definitely be adding lots more photos to my FB page
Looks and feels like a town, it has city status and is the capitol of the canton of Grisons. Granted it was out of season and during the week, the place was very quiet. Nice quiet, not desolate. I’m sure Chur would be bustling in Winter. It has at least two ski lifts taking you up the mountains surrounding it. Chur has pretty elements to it, especially its location. Sitting in a horseshoe of mountains, there are gently running steams throughout. Carried down from the mountains running into the Rhine river.
Archaeological evidence proves that the are has been inhabited since circa. 3900-3500BC – on of the oldest settlements of modern Switzerland. More recently, 15BC the region had become part of the Roman Empire. In the 4th century, the area had the first Christian bishop north of the Alps. Ostrogoths were the first conquerors of the region in the 6th century. Followed by the Franks, then Magyars, then Saracens in the 10th century. After that Chur flourished until the town was burnt down in in 1464. From the 15th century through to the 16th there was jostling of power between the bishops and the residence. The latter eventually getting help from the Hapsburgs, Emperor Frederick II. Protestant reform took hold in the 16th century leading to the Bishop fleeing the region. German became the prominent language in the 16th Century over Romansh.
That’s it for Chur. Other than ambling around I didn’t really explore the city. Most places were closed. After the scenery of Arosa, swanning around a town or city was an anticlimax. I’m probably dong Chur an injustice. None of the lifts up the mountain were working. I wasn’t really paying much attention to the place either. Walking around for the sake of doing so. Killing time till the bus arrived to take me back to Flims. There was some interesting architecture, churches and even some interestingly odd graffiti, but I wasn’t’ interested. Heading back to Flims I was content with the day. The Glacier Express / Bernina Express and scenery in Arosa were awesome!