Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day Nine: Muottas Muragl‎

That night was definitely colder than the first night. We awoke to actual frost on the car. Chris was of the opinion that he would not survive another night as cold as that. We could either move on, or buy him a warm sweater. Aside from my claims of willing to be flexible with our trip schedule, I was rather loathe to leave without having gone up one of the mountains, so we decided to see what kind of shops might be St. Moritz....on a Sunday (NB. there is no Sunday shopping in Switzerland).

First though, was our day trip of going up a mountain. We had chosen to go up "Muottas Muragl". Don't ask me how to pronounce that, I can barely spell it. We had passed by the station for this trip already several times and found it again with little difficulty. The parking lot was jammed full. We decided to mosey on down the road 100m and park in a practically empty parking lot. To get back to the departure point we had to march single file along a rather busy road. There was approximately 30cm (1ft) of space between the guard rail and the pavement of the single lane road. Needless to say I was having panic attacks that my 3 year old would decide to dart into traffic. Illogical perhaps, considering it was painfully obvious even to a 3 year old that mommy was pretty stressed about staying as far from the road as possible and of course I had an iron grip on his little hand!

We got in the line-up to buy tickets and were quite entertained by an Italian woman directly in front of us who was having a very animated, very Italian argument with her poor husband. He was trying to park their car in the rather overcrowded lot and she was quite exasperated with his attempts. "He's from the North, you see. He is quite useless at parking. I am from Rome. I could park in a tree. I have no shame." To this we admitted that we were Canadian, and that we were in awe of the European ability to maneuver their cars into impossible places. "Yes, we have made parking an art-form". We whole-heartedly agreed.

We boarded the funicular train and started up the mountain. This mountain isn't as high as some of the other destinations in Engadine, but it does allow a gorgeous view of the valley and the lakes. At the top there is a restaurant and hotel. We unpacked a picnic lunch for the boys and then picked up some delicious soup at the cafeteria for the adults all while being serenaded by alphorns and yodellers. In the picture you might notice some fence posts. The posts have two thin wires connecting them, and this is all that separates you (and your children) from a somewhat steep drop. I'm not saying a cliff exactly, but sufficiently steep that an inadvertent tumble would likely result in injury. But that was just my illogical mother paranoia creeping in again.

There is a very short hike to a mountain hut where for the low cost of 1CHF (1 dollar) you can try some fresh alpine pastured cow's milk. Thankfully it was cold milk. I was worried it would be warm, which wouldn't have bothered the boys, but it might have been a little more difficult for the adults. It was very rich and creamy, so Chris only had one sip, but the boys and I readily finished the rest with enough gusto that the woman tending the shack seemed pleased.

We returned to the top of the funicular where there was an humungous playground. We let the boys play there for a couple of hours while we just looked in awe at the view. But then it was time to hunt for a sweater!

We walked the streets of St. Moritz, I was peering in the windows of Louis Vuitton, Versace, Burberry, Chanel, and a bunch of places that I didn't recognize the name of, but were surely exclusive shops of the rich and famous. None were open of course, being a Sunday. I thought we might have to walk into one of the upscale hotels with the Rolls Royce cars in front and see if the hotel shops had a sweater we could acquire. We finally found a corner store open, and miraculously it sold overpriced sweaters. Not as overpriced as the hotels though, I'm sure.

We headed back for our last night at the frigid cold campsite and let the kids play at the playground until they were well and truly exhausted. I remembered to put on socks that night, so I was much warmer. Chris also found his new St. Moritz sweater helped him sleep better too.

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