Europe Trip 2012: Day 4 (June 25, 2012): On Top of the World

The trip is now officially underway. After the international travel nightmare and the beautiful train ride into St. Moritz now the trip can really begin. In typical Joel and Jenn fashion we did not adjust to the time change that well. We woke up this morning at around 1:30AM and were wide awake. We laid around, looked at our first batch of pictures, Jenn re-packed her suitcase, and we were all around lazy until we went down to breakfast at 8:30. The breakfast buffet is included with the price of the room at the Kempinski, and not only is the breakfast buffet one of the best we have ever been to, I believe it may be the best period. Let’s start with the selection. You have six different freshly squeezed juices, champagne, and every type of coffee or espresso imaginable. And the best part is everything we have tried so far has been delicious. Even though it was our first of four free breakfasts we both tried all sorts of interesting dishes. Jenn fell in love with the grape yogurt and I was torn between the breakfast pizza and the cold meats. Needless to say we loved breakfast and look forward to taking full advantage the next three days.


After breakfast we made dinner reservations at the main dining room at the hotel and went to talk to the concierge about different hiking options. After a good fifteen minute discussion with the concierge we decided to go to the closest lift called St. Moritz – Bad this is at most a two minute walk from the hotel. The lift takes you to the Signal station and from there you have around four paths to take. Two were mostly level paths to get you to nearby lifts. One was close to a four hour hike to get to the top peak and the one we chose was an hour and fifteen minute hike. So we went from Signal Station at 2130 meters above sea level (6988ft) to the Corviglia station which is 2486 meters above sea level or (8156ft).


The first thing I will say was that Jenn was a champ the entire hike. Even with her broken toe she powered through the hike even with some tough terrain. We had an incredible time making our way up the mountain. We passed grazing cattle, running streams, snow, and some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. We finished the hike in an hour and a half (15 minutes more than the estimated duration) and just felt a huge sense of accomplishment. We just had so much fun hiking through the Alps and I cannot say enough for how well Jenn did on the hike.


When we arrived at the Corviglia station we were exhausted. However our journey was not complete. We then took the lift up to Piz Nair which is 3057 meters above sea level (10,067ft). The views from this point almost seemed fake. You just felt that to some extent you were floating above the rest of the world. At the Piz Noir station we took a ton of pictures of the surrounding Alps and ventured around the surrounding area. They call the stop the “top of the world” and that is exactly what it felt like.


We spent at least an hour at the station and then took a few lifts down to the St. Moritz city center. The center has a few blocks of shops and is extremely quaint. We walked around, took some more cash out (no one seems to take credit cards), purchased some chocolate and walked the 20 minute walk back to our hotel. At this point we were ready for some R&R so we went back to the beautiful pool. In a role reversal from yesterday I was the one who passed out on the poolside lounger. Jenn woke me up and we took a two-hour nap before dinner. It felt amazing, truly what vacations are all about.

We woke up at 6:30PM and got ready for our dinner reservations at 7PM. Even more so then other European countries, Switzerland likes to eat late. Most restaurants at the hotel open at 9PM, and only the main dining room at 7PM. Each night is a new menu at the main dining room so we had no idea what was in store for us. The menu was not your everyday steak and fish menu but we lucked out and picked out some amazing dishes and had a wonderful dinner. We started off with a bottle of Pinot Noir which was light and delicious. We both got the three course option which allowed you to pick a starter, entrée, and desert. Jenn started with the Consumé of Swiss Spring Chicken with Root Vegetables and I had the Spicy Tartar of Engdima Beef with Quail Egg and Balsamic Pearl Onion. Jenns Consumé reminded us both of an Asian Miso Soup which was delicious. My beef tartar was also fantastic, full of flavor and so different from what I would normally eat.


For Jenn's main entrée she got the Roasted Mountain Lamb Chops which stole the evening, it was melt in your mouth good. I ordered the Roasted Filet of Loup de Mar (had no idea what it was) over a risotto and was very happy to find it was a fish. I wasn’t sure what I had ordered but ended up loving it. The fish was great but the risotto was top notch. We both had Créme Brule for desert which was fantastic. They also brought us out an assortment of pastries and chocolates as a thank you for dining with them. It wasn’t a cheap meal by any standards but it was so much fun and delicious all the same. Plus you couldn’t beat the company for a two plus hour meal.


We came back to the room after dinner at around 9:30PM and passed out. It was an incredible day and whether we were taking a nap or hiking the Alps I felt like I was on top of the world.