The Bernina Express

For my wife’s birthday, we went to Chur on a Friday night and stayed in a very nice Hotel, the Romantik Hotel Stern. We had a nice, spacious room, and excellent food. It looks like a reservation for the restaurant is required, as the place was packed both nights we stayed there.

Early Saturday morning, we got breakfast and then went to the train station to board the Bernina Express. This is the highest railroad in Europe, and for a big part of it’s journey it follows the Rhaetian Railway, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

As this was still winter time, we were very lucky on this day to have clear blue skies the whole day long. The views were spectacular, especially later when the train approaches the mountain pass and you are in the m
iddle of the Alps. 

The trip we booked went from Chur over Filisur, Morteratsch, Poschiavo to Tirana. This leg takes a good 4 hours, with one short stop in Alp Grum to enjoy the scenery.

Stern.We then had 2 hours in Tirana for coffee and a bit of walk about before the train took us back to Chur. And although it was the same sight all over again, it was still marvelous. Not quiet as exciting as the
first time, but that was als
due to us getting a bit tired.

We spend a 2nd night in Hotel Stern and enjoyed another fabulous dinner there. After breakfast the next morning, we went up the local ski mountain (half-tax ticket saves you 50% on local ski lifts as well, very much appreciated), and enjoyed a 2 hour walk through the snow and a nice lunch opposites of the slopes. Beside a little bit of sun burn, a perfect day.

Traveling by train through Switzerland is a very relaxing experience. This was a stress free and very enjoyable weekend.



Leaving Marrakech

I stayed 3 nights in Marrakech, in a very nice riad which was run by a very friendly French man, it was time to leave and head for the Saharacamp.

Leaving was not easy for me, Marrakesh has an elusive magic, the evenings at Djemaa el-Fna with th snake charmers, boxing fights, story-tellers, the exciting drum music, the endless food stands are special, and a memory for which I am grateful.


Because of my bad weather experiences in the two mountain excursions of the previous part of the journey, I decided not to take the route over the High Atlas. This road has no alternative to offer, either one drives several hours to the Tizi-n-Test, and you can pass over it, or you arrive there and turn around.

I did not want to waste nearly a day of riding time that way.  So I took the motorway from Marrakech via Adagir and then left the highway for the last 200km. The route has some very nice views of the High Atlas, but in general this leg of the journey was about going the distance and nothing else.

At about 5pm I arrive at the camp, do my the checkin formalities, and am looking forward to dinner together with the others. We are a around 8 people today, on the 28th of March, the actual camp starts official the next morning.