in late may, we (again) visited val bregaglia for another very nice vacation. the weather was great, except on monday when it snowed. we stayed once more in vicosoprano. we did some hiking from soglio to castasegna, and from castasegna to chiavenna:
posts about graubünden.
arosa • chur • disentis • engadine • morteratsch glacier • obersaxen • val bregaglia
we stayed during the first of the two “chestnut weeks”, dedicated to edible chestnuts which are growing all over the valley. except on the day we arrived on and the first half day, the weather was really good!
we again visited the chestnut forest in castasegna:
and we walked another part of the via panoramica, this time from soglio, and then descending to stampa:
also, again, we enjoyed some great culinary specialities. in particular, we enjoyed several meals (again) at hotel corona, where we also had the opportunity to meet the goats producing the milk for the wonderful goat cheese, which is part of our favorite tomato goat cheese salad. also the different pasta and meat dishes we had were fantastic. yeah well. if it wouldn’t be so far from here (5-6 hours by public transport, depending on how often you want to change trains), i’d guess we’d go there more often ;-)
the beginning of the trip, from chur to st. moritz, is similar to the last part of the glacier express train ride (starting in zermatt), following the albula line, and then follows the bernina line via the bernina pass to italy, peaking at 2253 meters above sea level.
we were lucky and the weather was (once again) quite good – which was quite some luck: on the day before, where we originally wanted to go but didn’t got a reservation, it was raining like crazy. the panorama carriages were once again nice, though taking photos is still quite a challenge thanks to the reflections which are almost always there. but hey, we were there to enjoy the views, and not to make great photos. (that’s for some other time. there’s a lot of beauty out there, for example the morteratsch glacier which we could watch while driving by.)
anyway. the second main part of the trip, the express bus from tirano to lugano, wasn’t as good as we hoped – i always feel kind of squeezed in a bus and am looking forward to leave it :-). the views were nice, but the next time i’d still skip that part.
while staying in val bregaglia, we also visited the engadine soap box derby from st. moritz down to celerina. unfortuntely, on that day, the weather was quite crappy – it was quite wet. (apparently it was dry before we arrived… hope it wasn’t us who brought bad weather :) )
anyway, we watched one of the rounds, and i took some photos. here’s a small selection:
most of the time, we had fabulous weather, except two rainy days and one pretty cloudy day.
the first hike we did was going by postauto up the maloja pass to maloja village, walking from there to the giant’s kettles nearby and from there to the belvedere tower, and then down the pass towards the san gaudenzio ruin and finally until casaccia, from where we continued by postauto.
this is the first leg of the via bregaglia route. this leg is really nice, with some glimpses over the valley (for example, at belvedere tower, and above casaccia, where you have a good view on the albignia lake dam), a lot of forests and shade, and nice rivers. parts of it go quite steep downhill, but even for untrained beginners as us, it was quite manageable.
the second bigger hike we did was the via panoramica (the yellow path there) from the power plant löbbia towards northwest of vicosoprano, from where we descended back down to vicosoprano. near the power plant, we saw a sign forbidding arnie to walk on the water:
whyever they put up that sign… crossing the bridge from the löbbia stop to the other side of the water basin, one enters the via panoramica and can continue to roticcio and from there on to eventually soglio. we left the path somewhere northwest of vicosoprano. (if you have a map, it’s the leftmost path leaving the via panoramica descending downwards to vicosoprano.) this is a really beautiful hike, with lots of nice overviews over the valley and on the mountains.
another day, we took up the cable car to the albignia lake dam. one can also hike all the way up or down, but i think that one is a bit over our capabilities… so instead, we enjoyed the little tiny cable car. on the top, one could still find patches of snow, and one has a beautiful panorama both over the valley and over the lake.
unfortunately, on that day, it was pretty cloudy, so we decided to not hike to the albignia hut (that’s something we’ll do next time…), but take the cable car back down and hike from there back to vicosoprano:
one day, we took the postauto up to soglio, a cute mountain town:
afterwards, we returned by postauto to promontogno and had dinner there.
another trip we did was to visit castasegna. they have a beautiful chestnut exploration path, which shows how chestnuts are planted, harvested and dried. also with a chance to buy honey from around there at a self-service stand.
back in town, we bought some drinks and met a nice cat with wonderful blue eyes.
after being in castasegna, we visited chiavenna, the largest town in val bregaglia, ending the valley at the italian side. we had dinner there, but unfortunately, the restaurant we chose didn’t start serving dinner before 19:00, and the last postauto left short after 20:00…
in vicosoprano, we stayed in hotel helvetia, a former hotel west of the city. while parts of it are used for offices, the other part is rented as holiday flats. it is equiped with a simple kitchen for self-catering, and without much luxury features everything one needs to have a good week there. and in case one is too lazy to cook for oneselves, there are two hotels with restaurants in town, for example hotel corona, where we had three excellent dinners.
last weekend, we revisited obersaxen for a waffle party. (sorry, no photos of the waffles, but they were really tasty!) again, the weather was great, even though it was sometimes pretty cloudy and sometimes even showers came down.
yesterday i made a trip to arosa, taking the cable car up to weisshorn and walking down around 750 m (total elevation difference); it was essentially this hike, except that i stopped at prätschli as the sun began to hide behind the mountains and as i missed the turn somewhen before which lead to maran. anyway, it was a great day for a hike, with clear sky, a bright sun (i had to use my sunglasses; something i haven’t needed in lappland ;-) ), and lots of snow.
several parts of the trail were pretty steep, for example the very beginning, which was a bit scary at first. at these moments, i really wished i had some kind of stick, and was somewhat afraid to slip and slide down. but nothing went wrong, i got down safely and without slipping. i had lunch at the sattelhütte, and did a lot of small stops to take photos. well, the whole thing took me much longer than the anticipated 2 1/2 hours, but who cares. :-)
the way back was a little more adventurous. the idea was to take the regional train from arosa to chur, and then changing into an intercity to basel, jumping out in zurich. i was sleepy (the night wasn’t very long, getting up at 5 and going to bed at 1 isn’t a good combination) and dozed off several time. at one point i noticed we were still at the same point as before i dozed off the last time, but then dozed off again. eventually i realized we were sitting in the darkness, the only light coming from the other train standing next to ours. i started to get awake a bit, and to listen to the other people in the coach, to find out what’s going on. well, nobody really knew, until the conductor walked by outside and someone in my coach opened up a window and asked him. apparently, the locomotive had a defect. eventually they got light working again, though no heating, and we even started rolling a few meters, probably to enable the other train to continue, as the end of our train was apparently blocking its way. after some more waiting, almost one hour after we stopped there in the first place, a second train came up from chur and we changed into that one, which after little more waiting took us down to chur. with somewhat more than one hour of delay, and our intercity to zurich having just left the train station, i ended up in an interregio train to basel via zurich, which took like half an hour longer than the intercity. so, with around 1 1/2 hours of delay, i finally got home. at least, we had some fun in the darkness in that coach, and also later on with light and on the new train; it’s great to sit among nice people :-)
(and no, i didn’t write that text into the snow. and there was more text, like hearts and names and stuff. didn’t took pictures of these, though.)