Monday, February 25, 2013

ST MORITZ, SWITZERLAND---ON TOP OF THE WORLD FEELING!

KEE@FSWMAG.COM
ST MORITZ IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS GLAM-SPOT DESPITE ITS TINY SIZE.
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Horny Kee
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Top of the world in St Moritz's Piz Nair mountain top!
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Daniel Mantz and Kee Hua Chee
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Daniel Mantz and Michael Mantz
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Kee Hua Chee with a goat on his head
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Perfect perching!
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St Moritz's normal population during the low, snow-less season is a sleepy 5,000 but around Christmas and the start of the year, it swells to 15,000.

I was there for 4 days in February which is supposed to be high season but St Moritz was not awashed and knee-deep with tourists as the bulk must have left after January.

Still, everyone I met at Badrutt's Palace hotel was friendly and easy going since every hotel guest was a millionaire, multi-millionaire or billionaire. 

Everyone who goes to St Moritz does so for 2 things---skiing, skateboarding, ice-skating and shopping! The 4 S's!

The 30 or so designer boutiques and jewellers are all located in and around Badrutt's Palace hotel so if you stay elsewhere, it means you are a member of the lower classes!

From Badrutt's Palace hotel, a Rolls-Royce will take you to the train station which is just 8 minutes walk so don't bring a book to read or computer to work inside the Rolls-Royce.

I decided to go to the top of Corviglia and Piz Nair which is 10, 161 feet above sea level or 3,017 metres which lives up to St Moritz's slogan of 'Top of the World'.

There are 3 such peaks but since all look the same when you are up in the sky, I opted for Piz  Nair as the first funicular railway is in the heart of St Moritz.

The 25 Swiss Franc ticket (RM 78) is given free by Badrutt's Palace hotel to save guests the tedium of wondering where to pay as the amount is minuscule considering my Badrutt suite costs a staggering RM 19,000 a night! No wonder my welcome drink was a bottle of Dom Perignon! 

So up I went with Michael Mantz and 5 year old Daniel Mantz. 

The first train took less than 10 minutes. The second train about the same. The last was the cable car ride so it took around 30 minutes to reach the top of the world.

The first 2 funicular trains started from Chantarella to Coviglia where a cable car took us to Piz Nair. From the top, you can ski all the way down Suvretta valley and the slopes can be steep while beginners can choose the low gradient slopes.

I have skiied in Sapporo in Hokkaido but never in Switzerland. Or if I did, it must have been lousy as I cannot seem to remember!

Anyway, Michael Mantz skiied all the way down the day earlier despite not having touched a ski for the past 8 years! But skiing is like learning how to ride a bicycle or drive a car. Once you learned how to do it, you never forget.

St Moritz is postcard perfect small town made for multi-millionaires. In Kuala Lumpur, Cartier only shows cheap stuff in their windows costing from RM 10,000 to maybe RM 100,000. In St Moritz, Cartier windows boast one-off unique pieces like jewelled watches and spectacular necklaces with diamonds the size of pigeon's eggs. In a nearby jewellery shop, its owner Rebecca showed me a second-hand Chaumet necklace that cost US$ 1.3 million (RM 4 million) while a charming diamond necklace is US$ 900,000 (RM 2.8 million). 

The designer boutiques like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel are relatively small and carry a limited range of 'affordable' bags under RM 10,000 though all flaunt frightfully expensive bags. The idea is that a rich man will not think twice paying RM 10,000 for a bag compared to a million ringgit so such bags jump off the shelves.

Anyway, at the top of Piz Nair, I was greeted by  a life-sized bronze mountain goat and could see Italy and Germany or at least that was what I was told since 1 snowy mountain looked exactly like another snowy mountain! The Engadine . valley where St Moritz nestles spread below me. The highest peak is Piz Bernina 

Just standing at the top of Paiz Nair was an achievement though I did nothing more strenuous than stand or sit all the way to the top.

The crisp cold air made my complexion glow radiantly and it was not as freezing as feared. The temperature was minus 6 degrees so normal winter clothes are fine. 
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The Engadine valley showing Badrutt's Palace hotel at right with its tower
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The panorama widens as the funicular train climbs higher
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The railway tracks
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99.8% went skiing and Daniel Mantz, Michael Mantz and Kee Hua Chee made up the 0.2 % of non-skiiers
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I could see skiiers already gliding down the slopes
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Heavenly scenery
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Midway is Corviglia station
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How can anyone take a taxi or flight from this station?
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Daniel and father
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I thought Carlsberg would be here
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Waiting for the cable car to the top of the world
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L1400516_edited.JPGThe Chinks are now so important top jewellers like Cahn are making snake bling as this is Year of Snake

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Skiers, down to the last man, woman and child, except us!
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Kee Hua Chee is warm and snug in mink
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Gorgeous feeling
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That Top of World feeling!
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The symbol of Piuz Nair nearly 11,000 ft above sea level
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Daniel Manz and Michael Mantz next to symbol of Puz Nair
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Daniel Mantz and Kee Hua Chee
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Skiers preparing to ski down the mountain to the bottom which takes 30 minutes

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I wonder why this skier is lying on her back? She is not having a heart attack that's for sure
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Michael Mantz could not give a damn
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We are here...
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Kee Hua Chee with goat perched on his head
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Restaurant with a killer view
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