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posts about clouds.

after more than two years, we returned to the beautiful val bregaglia for vacation. again, we were staying in hotel helvetia in vicosoprano on the swiss side of the valley.

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 visited sils and chiavenna:

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 ;-)

this year we visitsed the german nordseeküste (north sea coast). on our first day, we were greeted by a kite convention held in schillig and a heavy storm. the kites were taken in before the storm blasted off, and on the next day we could admire them again.

one nice thing about the coast is that it isn’t that hot there. it’s usually a few degrees less than more inland, and there’s more wind, making the hot temperatures this summer way more bearable.

we visited norderney, did a mudflat hike from the coast to baltrum (walking on the ocean ground – how cool is that?), enjoying the wattenmeer in general, and also visited the harbor seal breeding station in norddeich. and, of course, just enjoyed the scenery, like walking at the beach during day and night.

definitely a place where we will return to!

some weeks ago, we visited the stanserhorn, taking up the “cabrio” cable car. up there, the weather was quite bearable compared to in zürich, where it was way above 30 degrees, though it was not as nice – it even rained a little. later, we took the ship form hergiswil back to lucerne.

we spent part of this weekend in zermatt.

on friday, we took the cable cars up to the top of the klein matterhorn, up to 3880 meters above sea level. it’s an amazing trip! unfortunately, we weren’t very lucky with the weather, and from a certain high on we were essentially covered in clouds. there also was kind of a snowstorm going on, which made it quite unconfortable on the outside:

(we didn’t walk up to the summit; without a ski mask it was not that much fun walking through the essentially horizontally flying snow…)

on the other hand, we walked a bit through illuminated glacier:

here are two photos from the trip down:

at least, it was possible to see something from there, even though we couldn’t see the matterhorn at all. but well, on the second day we got a glimpse. there were still some clouds around (and the klein matterhorn was covered by them a lot of the time), but this time we went up the gornergrat to around 3100 meters above sea level. up there, we had some really great views!

later, when travelling back, instead of taking the direct route via visp and zurich, we decided to follow the glacier express trail a bit by taking the matterhorn-gotthard bahn from visp via göschenen to andermatt, and then proceeded home from there. the last photos above are from that trip.

on sunday, we had a quite long and pretty intense thunderstorm. flashes firing off every few seconds, and finally, when it reached us, a constant rumble of thunder. while it didn’t got here, i tried to take some pictures – which is quite non-trivial, since flashes and pressing the trigger in precisely the right moment in advance don’t correlate very well. out of the few hundred shots, some were quite beautiful. below you can find three of them, with contrast intensified a bit.

on friday evening, we had a really amazing sky over hinwil:

the interplay of sunlight and clouds sometimes results in interesting shots… some days ago, parts of the sky was cut in two pieces:

sometimes, we can observe quite dramatic sky panoramas:

last week, we were in vacation in val bregaglia, a valley half belonging to graubünden, switzerland and sondrio, italy. we were staying in vicosoprano on the swiss side.

most of the time, we had fabulous weather, except two rainy days and one pretty cloudy day.

via bregaglia.

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.

via panoramica.

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…

hotel helvetia.

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.