EUROPE, SWITZERLAND, TRAVEL

Graubünden Visual Diary: St.Moritz

27th September 2016

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My trip to Graubünden part 2.

St.Moritz famously hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1928 and 1948, and today it’s known as the cradle of modern winter sports.  No wonder my friends who are seasoned skiers disappear off London to ski in St.Moritz every February.  Apart from being the world class winter destination for winter sports, it’s also a popular destination for summer activities, leisure, shopping or weekend breaks.  The electrifying backdrop speaks for itself.  You can’t leave St.Moritz without sampling its famous Swiss chocolates, the cakes and beverages at Hauser Cafe and Hotel is one of the best places for authentic Swiss creamy chocolate treats.

Here are some of my highlights of the trip.  Scenery and greenery, mostly.

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|| St.Moritzersee ||

Probably one of the most spectacular lakes I’ve ever seen, you have a giant theatre in front of you.  It’s actually a smaller than the main lakes in St.Mortiz – Lake Sils and Lake Silvaplana. The beautiful surrounding lake of Upper Engadin Valley, is used for water sports in summer and winter sports in winter.  Can’t imagine what it’s like to skate across the frozen lake during the cold winter months, I wonder if you can do ice-fishing here too.  I would just sit here and watch the man and his dog on the paddle board all day long.

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|| BBQ at Lej Marsch ||

Summer gets really hot and humid in St.Moritz, a perfect excuse to dip or soak your tired feet in the lake or bathing pond, a BBQ and picnic with with friends and family whilst enjoying the cool mid summer evenings.  Lej Marsch is the perfect location for it.  Nestled in the forest of St.Moritz, only accessible on foot, a popular site for caravaners and campers alike, the abandoned former Olympic jumping hill now an old monument is also located in the forest.

Veggies on skewers, sizzling hot sausages and screaming hot potatoes.  What a perfect evening to end the first day in St.Moritz.

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|| Hiking From Muottas Muragl To Alp Languard ||

We took a cograilway* up to Muottas Muragl upper terminus, spent some time snapping pictures of the panoramic view, it was breathtaking.  We were blessed with the wonderful weather, not so hot and not so cold, but you can see overcast in the far distance.  I was wearing a convertible hiking trousers, I can unzip the bottom trouser legs if needed to be.

The 2.5 hour hike started off as easy on flat terrain, safe, no problem.  After an hour it got a little challenging with the pathway became steep and slightly rocky, one mis-step, you’ll fall and die.  The views were breathtaking, you can see the lakes in the distance and beyond, para-gliders dancing overhead in the sky.  I didn’t bring my walking pole with me this time, it could have relieved the stress on my body during the ascent, I was carrying a hiking backpack, a camera around my neck and an action camera in my left hand, imagine like running on steep hill with potato sacks over your shoulders and feeling breathless while walking pigeon steps. This showed how unfit I was.  But hey, the hike wasn’t that bad.

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A build up of lactic acid in the leg muscles and shortness of breath during the last stretch of hike, it was running for a marathon, legs and thighs felt heavy and sore like no tomorrow.  Once you ascended on the top there you see a restaurant 400 metres away, yes a restaurant, food, it wasn’t a mirage at all.  Upon arrival, this un-fit body deserved a gold medal for reaching the gruelling 2.5 hour finishing line.  A storm came out of nowhere, this couldn’t have come at a better time.  The hungry wolves took shelter at Bergrestaurant, I ordered a hearty warm meal enough to fill me my stomach for another few hours – Bratwurst with rosti and onion sauce, and hot green tea.  Simple food, simple happiness.

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Calm after the storm, we took a chairlift* down to Pontresina.  A much slower pace of a roller coaster ride.  Not to be missed!

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|| Stand-Up Paddling at Silvaplana ||

You can’t leave Graubunden without having a go at stand-up paddling at Silvaplana.  SUP has been gaining popularity around the globe for the last decade, watching some GOPRO video clips on Youtube, I was itching to have a go.  Did you know you can practice yoga on a paddle board too?  I can’t imagine doing a headstand pose on a paddle board while floating and constant motion on water.

After a quick demonstration from the instructor, I threw on a tight wetsuit, grabbed a paddle board and paddle with action camera attached, and headed straight to the lake.  I must say, the board was quite heavy to carry, the paddle boarders in the Youtube video made it look so easy.  Thankfully,  SUP was very manageable, the water was still, no rocky motion, just needed to get my posture right as I was leaning forward a lot. Fist pump for not falling off the paddle board.

Swiss Kitesurf GmbH – Sportzentrum Mulets, 7513 Silvaplana, Switzerland.

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|| Where I Stayed ||

A 2 night stay at the youth hostel, Jugendherberge St.Moritz.  The modern youth hostel in a contemporary building is located in the beautiful and peaceful area in Upper Engadin, and positioned in the edge of the forest with an open area.  A stone throw away from the town centre, the bus stop is right in front of the door step with efficient timetable.

The youth hostel has 306 rooms, 3 of the modern rooms is suitable for wheelchair users – 13 rooms with 2 beds and washbasin, 16 double rooms with shower w/c, 16 double rooms with shower w/c, 8 rooms with 4 beds and shower w/c, and 54 rooms with 4 beds and washbasin.  Like the previous youth hostel I stayed in, there are no in-room entertainment such as tv and no access to wifi. There are free wifi access on the ground floor, if you need a stronger wifi connection it’s located near the front desk in the reception area.  Amenities include a complimentary breakfast buffet (incl.), a spacious casual restaurant and bistro room, a fireplace room, 2 game rooms, ski and waxing room, tv room, laundry room for guests’ use, ski and bike rooms, and many more.  Packed lunch available on request.

I had my own private room for 2 nights.  A spacious 2 double bed with shower w/c big enough to fit a small family, with a window view overlooking the open green and woodlands, so peaceful in fact I slept very soundly.  Dinner was very chilled and lovely.  Non-intimidating, safe, friendly atmosphere, and the vibe is alternative.  I really enjoyed my stay there.  Wish I came better prepared with amenities next time, bring my own travel hairdryer, hand soap and a portable kettle.

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Like Davos guest card, all hotel guests receive a free St.Moritz guest card to enjoy some benefits in duration of your stay in St.Moritz, the guest card covers unlimited free cable car rides and public transport, discount on admissions – outdoor sport facilities, bike and boat rental, golf and many more.  St.Moritz guest card is available to guests who stay more than one night in commercially rented accommodations in St.Moritz.  Prices and conditions on enquiry, and benefits differs season to season.  Check out the official website for more detailed information about the St.Moritz guest card, and terms and conditions.


Kit Lee was a guest of Graubünden Tourist Board, and return flights courtesy of Swiss Air.

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