What do you do when you reach the top of a mountain? Sit back, soak in the moment, spend some time looking around, take selfies and, finally, plan your trip back. But that isn’t the case on top of Muottas Muragl — located almost 2,500 metres above sea level in the Swiss Alps of St Moritz. As soon as you get to the top, another adventure awaits you — an “inspiration walk”, replete with art installations and natural views at each turn. The “inspiration walk” is also a five-mile hike!
Muottas Muragl or Mount Muragl overlooks the Engadin Valley and is located between the towns of Samedan, St Moritz and Pontresina in southern Switzerland. From the top, the views of Upper Engadin are so spectacular that you could easily forget you came up here for any reason other than the panorama. But Selina, our Swiss guide, suggested that we must do the inspiration walk too. Since Selina was generous enough to buy us a glass of wine from the bar atop Mount Muragl (yes, there exists one), we were courteous enough to pay her back by following her on the walk.
Just five minutes into it, the first stop awaited us: an art installation called Guot (Romansh for “the drop”). Made of stone, mortar and a white marble coating, it symbolised water in various forms, from rain to ice to snow. Created by German artist Timo Lindner in 2007, it marks the centenary of the Muottas Muragl funicular railway.
Soon, along the walk, we discovered a section of railway track, narrating the story of the region’s first panoramic train for tourists. The track was designed like an art installation by artist Curdin Niggli in 2007, to mark 100 years of the mountain railways.
Next came Sine Sole Sileo. Created by Fred Bangerter in 2011, it’s believed to be the world’s most precise sundial. It’s Latin for “without the sun, I am silenced”. Here, the power of the sun has always played an important role, in fact, Muottas Muragl is one of the sunniest spots in Switzerland.
By now, we had lost count of the miles we had trekked, the time we had spent or whether we needed any food or drinks to carry on. We just wanted to sit back for a while. But Selina suggested we wait for the next artwork, meant for the very purpose of soaking in the view of Bernina Glaciers all around. Created like a window of sorts by artist Ramon Zangger in 2013, you can take a seat inside the sculpture, titled Bernina Glaciers. Crafted from Engadin Swiss stone pine, this interactive piece allows you to rest a while, as your eyes wander across one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the Alps, the Bernina Massif.
Last but in no way the least, came Ils Trais Piz (the three peaks), created by Fabian Forrer in 2013, which is another mountain viewer, constructed from rusted steel. With so many mountain peaks all around, it could be difficult to remember all the names. So Forrer, a member of the technical staff at Engadin St Moritz, came up with an idea to create a work which tells the viewer about at least the three most popular peaks they were looking at. So, now you see Piz Bernina (4,049 metres), Piz Julier (3,380 metres) and Piz Ot (3,246 metres).
Muragl is accessible by the funicular railway, the Muottas Muragl Bahn, from the train stations Punt Muragl and Punt Muragl Staz. Since we were at St Moritz the night before, it took us a 30-minute drive to get to the train station. Interestingly, Switzerland is replete with funiculars, a mountainside railway service operated by a cable where ascending and descending cars are counterbalanced.
On the drive back, Selina had another story about St Moritz. A chic tourist spot with a cosmopolitan ambience, St. Moritz is considered a playground of the rich and famous. But, it wasn’t always the case. Almost 130 years ago, it was just another summer spot, particularly for those looking to escape Britain’s uncertain weather. On a bet from their hotelkeeper (who offered free accommodation if they didn’t like it) a group of Britons stayed over into winter. And they most definitely liked it! After all, St Moritz gets 320 days of sunshine a year. As Selina went on and on, my friend and I looked at each other and smiled. Our hearts and minds were still wandering on top of Muottas Muragl.
Alpine cheese buffet: At the alpine cheese dairy, cheese and curd are made over an open fire. You can watch them being made by hand the traditional way and taste the many varieties produced at the cheese buffet. The idyllic alpine hut is located close to the Morteratsch Glacier, and is easily reached on foot, by bike or train (train stop Morteratsch).
Gallery hopping: The galleries and museums of St Moritz are too well-stocked to be missed. You may combine a tour of the galleries with a stroll along the lake – where you are likely to come across many of the motifs that you will later encounter in the galleries.