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Tourism and Excursions

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Just seeing the small wooden Alpine villages on the drive up and down the valley from Klosters is spectacular enough for many. But for those who want to venture a little further afield, Chur (pronounced 'Cooer'), the capital of the canton, is well worth a visit. It can be reached in 30 minutes by car or 45 by train. A merchant trading town at several crossroads of European trade, that wealth and importance is still reflected in the area of the Old Town. To reach Chur take the train or drive down the valley to Landquart.

Once in Chur, head for the old town (very well signposted). Many of the buildings date from the early nineteenth century, decorated with ornate frescos. Cobbled, pedestrianised streets run between them. The old town is especially charming at night on Thursday, when the shops stay open until 21.00 (beware Wednesday afternoons - most shops still shut at 12.00). Small shops selling the strangest things glisten in the dark - there is one shop, for example, that sells nothing but bottle openers! Always around the next corner is a fountain filled by water flowing down the numerous mountain valleys. The church which dominates the town is a fraud; it is relatively recent Anglican addition. The much older Cathedral Church of Chur lies in a square up steps that are completely hidden behind the Anglican Church. The Tourist Chur Office is well signposted, and worth visiting even if only to get a free map - it's quite easy to get lost in the many eighteenth century alleyways.

The world famous resort of St Moritz is just 45 minutes away through the Vereina Tunnel, with spectacular lakes, mountains and hotels of its own. Once through the Vereina Tunnel, the Engadine villages such as S-Chanf or Zuoz are worth a stop. Less than 30 miles away, they have entirely different architecture from Klosters, being made of stone rather than wood. Even the language is different as "Schweitzer Deutche" gives way to Romansch, a rather strange mix of Italian and Hungarian.

Another day trip is to Zurich. The motorway to Zurich takes about 90mins from Landquart, or take the mainline train from across the platform which takes a little less. Zurich is not, of course, the capital of Switzerland (Berne is), but it is by far the largest city. The Old Town is full of medieval buildings. There are two famous cathedrals, one of them housing what is widely acknowledged to be Chagall's finest work. Walk along the Bahnofstrasse, and you really are walking over gold, as the world headquarters of famed the Swiss Banks are there. Luckily it is not necessary to own all that gold to be able to afford the huge variety of shopping! Lake Zurich is a must, or a boat trip along the River Limmat. Tea at Lindt & Springli's teashop at the Paradeplatz is a Swiss institution.

The tiny principality of Liechtenstein, complete with its own castle, is about 45 minutes' drive away. Or visit Italy for the day. It's about 90 minutes' drive. A slower, but much more spectacular route is to join the Bernina Express from Pontresina or St Moritz across the highest railway pass in Europe, past the Mortoratch and Bernina glaciers.


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