|Subject: A word on Arosa and Rapperswill Switzerland from our September trip|
For the past few years we have been flying into Zurich, picking up a car and driving to Chur. The reason are several. It provides a nice drive along the lake and it is a relatively short distance from the airport (probably about 80 km). This provides us a place to stay for the night and catch up on the sleep we didn't get on the plane over from Texas. We always stay up to the local time before bed but that first day is pretty long and tiring for us. Another reason we stay there is because it provided a nice starting location for heading South and East into the Dolomites (and other areas on future trips) or heading South and West as we tour Northern Italy or we tour West back into Switzerland and surrounding areas. And, it is also a nice ending location where we can drop the car and head out by train.
On our last trip we stayed in Chur coming back from the Dolomites and we got there before noon and had the rest of the day before we caught a night train (9:36 pm) to Paris. To take advantage of that time we saw a sign to Arosa in the middle of town and we checked the map. It looked liked it went into the mountains above Chur and we decided to go ahead and take a look as we had plenty of time.
What a discovery. The road was a very pleasant drive with great stop and view locations. One stop we saw a red train heading up the mountain across a long expanse bridge crossing a mountain river - which we later saw ended up at Arosa. The road eventually got us to a little town completely surrounded by the tops of the mountains in the area. A beautiful lake was right in the middle of the town with walking paths going around. What looked like two large groups of scouts were out in the middle of the lake on rafts and they seemed to be engaged in a race across the lake. Everyone was getting wet and at the end, many jumped into the water. This was September so I am sure that the water was not warm. It looked like great fun.
Many families were out walking their dogs or their children and some were fishing. It was a very peaceful and restful stop for us that afternoon and we loved the atmosphere. The train station was right by the lake where we saw the red train probably taking people up from Chur for the day and there were some with their bikes. Around the corner in front of the train station were several horse drawn carriages waiting to take you to your hotel.
This town is a ski town (lots of gondolas to the tops of the mountains) so there were plenty of hotels but the feel of the town was small and cozy and it would definitely be our next stop-over instead of Chur. I would be interested if anyone has stayed the night here and any hotel recommendations would be appreciated.
Also one other area of interest. Driving South from Zurich to Chur we drove across the lake to a little town called Rapperswil. It is right on the lake. We stopped there for breakfast and just for a short look around before continuing on to Chur. It had a castle which we did not go into (maybe next trip) and we enjoyed a nice walk by the lake and into the castle area (up the hill). It is obviously a small tourist area but it was a pleasant stopover and we got some good pictures there.
One funny note. As this was our first touring trip where we rented a car we were somewhat apprehensive. Actually, we were concerned just about getting out of the airport on the right road since it is actually a few kilometers North of Zurich. We soon found that we had wasted out time worrying as the first sign we saw coming out of the air port had Chur on it. A few minutes on the road and even through Zurich was not a problem as every where the road signs are very clear.
The funny thing we ran in to on the first day was at Rapperswil where we parked in an underground parking area. I pulled up and took the ticket to get in and parked with no problems. But getting out was another matter. I had assumed (incorrectly) that I just handed the ticket to someone as I left the parking area and paid a fee. When I got to the parking exit gate there was no one there and the gate was automatic based on a validated ticket. I knew right away I was in trouble because it was not validated and cars were piling up behind me. I rolled down my window and tried to talk to one who was entering and a very nice German lady told me to get out of the line and follow her. With great trouble I finally did re-park. She took me up the elevator to the first floor and sure enough there was the ticket validator on the wall across from the elevator which I had missed. She kindly explained how to use it and I stuck the ticket in the machine, put 5 Euro note in it and Tada all was well. She thanked me profusely for allowing here to practice her English. I found this kind of great kindness and interaction common on the entire trip. A little German and French helped along the way too.
Mike and Fran