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 engadine.
europe » switzerland » graubünden » engadine
celerina • diavolezza • guarda • lavin • pontresina • sils • st. moritz
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.
the trip to the morteratsch glacier was my first hike where i took all my lenses. i also played around with the macro lens, though it is not that easy if there is a bit of wind which makes the plants you want to photograph move slightly (wrecking focus), and if you don’t have a tripod and have to hold the camera yourself, and of course your body is always moving very slightly. since for macro photography every millimeter counts (especially without high f-stops, which increase the focus area, but which really require a tripod and a calm subject), this is not a good combination. i still think i got some nice shots. here are a few impressions:
today, i finally did a hike i already wanted to do for a long time: i visited the morteratsch glacier in the engadine. there is a train station nearby, called morteratsch. from there, a trail leads to the ice front. it used to be that the train station was at the ice front, but that was more than 100 years ago, and since then the glacier retreated quite a distance – almost two kilometers. here are a few impressions from the hike to the ice front:
shortly before i reached the ice front, and just a few moments before i could see anything, i heard a loud noice. some ice collapsing, something breaking off, i don’t know. happens all the time, and it is always a good idea to know what you are doing when going on a glacier. for example, never go too near to places where ice seems to break off :-) anyway, even though i only was at the very bottom of the glacier – i’ve seen much more of some glaciers in canada –, there were many interesting views of ice formations, of mixtures of ice, dirt, rocks and water. glaciers are so beautiful!
while looking through the photos, i found a polar bear hiding in one of the photos. can you find it?
yesterday, i spent over 15 hours on various trains in switzerland. i started at 6 am at the main station in zürich and proceeded to zermatt via visp. in zermatt, i explored the city a bit in the 45 minutes i had, and got back to the train station to get on the glacier express, departing 10 am, which eventually led me to st. moritz. the glacier express is one of the famous panoramic train lines in switzerland, similar to the golden pass panoramics tour i did a couple of years ago, leading through the alps, peaking in oberalbpass at 2033 meters above sea level. the weather was mostly beautiful, except a lot of fog around chur. i had the three course meal on the train, it was really good. (there are also vegetarian choices.) finally, in disentis, there was a fasnacht parade going on.
i took some photos on the trip. unfortunately, one cannot open the windows of the glacier express, whence there are always some more or less ugly reflections lurking around. here are some of the better shots:
if you want to take a lot of photos, better take a usual train, since on these routes they often have windows which can be opened. i might do that somewhen soon, at least for the part from andermatt to disentis.
besides the inability to open the windows, the trip is great! if you have a chance, do it. it’s probably also very interesting during summer, and also during winter when there’s more snow than this year…
last weekend, i did a hike through the roseg valley with anmut and nik. the weather was stunning, it was warm (t-shirt time!), sunny, not many clouds. and, of course, snow. not as much as there’s supposed to be that time of the year, but still enough to be happy :-)
here are some impressions from the hike and the rest at the roseg glacier restaurant:
(and yes, most of these photos would have been perfect for project 52 a month ago…)