Switzerland (and a bit of Italy) in September

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Adelaidean
Adelaidean
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Oct 30, 2017 - 8:17 AM in reply to Mark

Hi Mark, thanks for your comments.

I most definitely wanted to walk to Waldspitz, but the weather closed in once we arrived at Bachalpsee. Next time! And there was a bit of poor weather which meant Schynige Platte was not going to happen for us. Luckily, there is a lot to do and we did have some fine days. I considered the Eiger trail, as my husband loved the train ride from Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald passing Alpiglen, again, it will be on my to do list next time. Your photos are lovely. I feel very blessed to have had such a wonderful experience.

Fodors is a great travel forum too, I have my fingers in a few pies, so to speak, LOL.

As to Sils Maria, well, I hope I conveyed how beautiful it is, so tranquil, and as we get older, am mindful that not too strenuous or difficult hikes are the goal, this area has wonderful valleys and of course cablecars too. Much quieter than the Bernese Oberland, but I think extraordinarily beautiful.

Adelaidean
Adelaidean
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Oct 30, 2017 - 8:26 AM in reply to Mittens

Hi Mittens,

we are definitely ramblers, not hikers! We love how there is a restorative berghaus for a beer and lunch when you need one.

My hiking boots were purchased at Kathmandu, in Adelaide, but I think they are a rebranded Arrowsmith, as this was the box they came in. I went in to get Salomons which were recommended to me, but these were more comfortable. That is key, wanted ankle support, and light weight boots; but comfort is key. Waterproof too.

I like quiet villages, so Sils Maria was perfect, it is so charming with its' architecture, has a stunning location, easy with the bus to get to walks. So many walkers on the bus, I love the atmosphere, everyone planning their day out.

Removed user
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Oct 31, 2017 - 12:23 AM in reply to Adelaidean

Thanks for the additional info in response to my questions!

Alpenrose

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
202 posts
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Oct 31, 2017 - 4:47 AM

Wow! What a report! I read every word and the photos were fantastic. On a technical note, what sort of camera did you use? You have some stunning pictures here.

Thanks for putting in the time and effort. Much appreciated,

Alan

Adelaidean
Adelaidean
108 posts
active member
Oct 31, 2017 - 8:17 AM in reply to AlanPrice

Thanks Alan, I use a Panasonic Lumix FZ200, a not too heavy, point and shoot 😀

Too much beauty in every direction, I am dreaming about my next trip.

I very much hope to be a repeat visitor to Switzerland. We saw so many older people travelling there, I reckon I have 30 years of visiting ahead of me 😂

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
650 posts
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Nov 1, 2017 - 12:55 AM

Hi Adelaidean

I also enjoyed reading your full and interesting report - sorry didn't comment earlier! Sils- Maria is also a favourite with us. I repeat here a paragraph from my own report about an interesting day we had taking a boat ride from there and then a trip into the Fex Valley. We can recommend both ventures!

Quote

The following day involved a quite complicated bit of planning! We had a voucher for a cruise on Lake Sils – a privately run small motor boat rather than the big ships you see on the big lakes, and also a voucher for a horse and carriage ride into the Fex Valley. So I had to do some searching for ways to fit both in! Took bus first to Sils where we found the boat cruise – that took us from Sils to Maloja – about 40 mins cruise –quite different from others we have been on. We then had to get another bus back to Sils to take the horse and carriage ride through the forest and down into the Fex Valley – another very new experience. We had yet another lunch voucher but in fact didn’t use it as we were tempted by different offerings on the menu from the voucher ones! All along the ride we enjoyed different views from the usual mountain top views most tourists are looking for, the hotel at the end of the ride where we ate was great and we even saw a small herd of alpacas nearby in a field which the farmer told us were his hobby! Then the ride back in the carriage to Sils where we found a great bakery with things we could buy for tea and then after indulging in ice-cream took bus back to hotel. A full but very interesting day.

Check out my St. Moritz report for photos and if you return to Sils-Maria consider one or both of these trips.

The boat trip is a one-man private enterprise - cost for 40 minute cruise would have been 17 chf and the horse and carriage return trip 30 chf. As explained we had vouchers from hotel to cover costs! It is a nice walk down to the boat landing stage and it continues on past the boat so a worthwhile walk even if you don't take the cruise.

Maggie

Adelaidean
Adelaidean
108 posts
active member
Nov 1, 2017 - 8:07 AM in reply to maggiehorswell

Hello Maggie, thank you for your input, I remember reading your report and wondering if that boat cruise would suit us...and in fact we saw the boat leave as we were approaching...we intended to walk, anyway, but it was nice to see a boat on the water.

It is a beautiful lake, isn't it. We had the most gorgeous autumnal morning, with crisp, blue skies the day we left....broke my heart to leave!

I recall reading your various posts and hoping you could enjoy a lovely holiday, despite your medical issues, and you adjusted your expectations and had a wonderful time. I think Switzerland offers so much, for people of all capabilities.

Sounds like we are all part of the Switzerland fan club 😀

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
202 posts
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Nov 1, 2017 - 9:56 PM

Hi,

Another technical question. Did you upload to Flikr during the trip, or wait until you got home?

Cheers,

Alan

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Nov 2, 2017 - 1:34 AM in reply to Adelaidean

Hi Adelaidean,

>> Sils Maria was my favourite place ever, if I win the lottery, my holiday home will be there

I found an online TV program about Sils Maria and the Upper Engadin yesterday by chance, when looking for something else, and I wondered if you might enjoy watching it. I loved it myself!

It's called Unsere wilde Schweiz - Das Oberengadin. It's entirely in German without subtitles, but as you have some knowledge of German, you will probably be able to understand at least some of it, and there is plenty of stunning photography that speaks for itself anyway! Highlights are aerial shots of Soglio, the Maloja Pass and the mountains and lakes around Sils Maria. There is some nice footage of Steinböcke too.

The program is not aimed at tourists, but rather is a documentary about the landscape/geology, wildlife and wildflowers of the Upper Engadin, and some interesting people who make their livelihood there.

Some of the bits that I particularly enjoyed:

  • A glaciologist called Felix Keller from the Academia Engiadina, who walks and bikes through amazing mountain landscapes and explains the forces that shaped the landscape, and its geology.
  • The Lunghin Pass, which is apparently one of very few triple watersheds in the world: water from there flows three ways - into the North Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea.
  • The boat on the Silsersee between Sils and Maloja, run by Franco Giani and his daughter Francesca. He tells some interesting stories about his experiences on the lake, which is apparently not always as placid as it usually looks!
  • A segment with a hiker and wildflower lover called Gian Clalüna, during which many different sorts of wildflowers are shown. He worked on an app called Flora Helvetica (wildflowers of Switzerland).
  • The Silserkugeln, which are amazing balls of larch needles that are formed by the action of water and wind in the Silsersee in autumn, and held together by resin. There is apparently an old legend that the Waldleutchen, "little people of the forest", would save the local people from starvation after a flood by filling these balls with dried fruit, fish and eggs and sending them over the lake to Sils! When I googled Silserkugeln to find out more about them, I discovered that the Café Grond in Sils Maria makes a confectionery version of this local phenomenon from chocolate, marzipan and meringue! Definitely want to try one next time I am there! Here is a picture of the real Silserkugeln and the chocolate version:

tinyurl.com/yde3prlx

  • The chef from the Waldhaus Hotel in Sils Maria, Denis Brunner, goes gathering wild herbs in the meadows around Soglio, and there is some superb aerial photography of Soglio, accompanied by suitably stirring music!
  • Felix Keller, the glaciologist from earlier in the program shows an extremely steep bridle path over the Maloja Pass that dates from Roman times, over which the Romans apparently drove their Gebirgswagen, mountain wagons. This segment is preceded by some magnificent aerial footage of the Maloja Pass road.
  • A segment on Vreni Cadurisch, who farms Strahlenziegen - a rare breed of black-and-white-striped goats - in the car-free settlement of Isola on the remote far shore of the Silsersee, and makes Mascarpin goat-milk cheese. You can go there to buy their farm produce, and apparently that little boat on the Silsersee stops nearby. Vreni Cadurisch tells an interesting story about why they have a few cross-bred white goats in their otherwise pure-bred herd - when the herd is grazing on the rocky mountainside of the Fedoztal, the black-and-white goats blend into the landscape and can be hard to spot, but the white ones stand out, making it easier to see where the herd is!
  • A segment about Schoggitaler, large chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil, that are sold each year all over Switzerland by school children, in order to raise money to support projects designed to protect the natural environment and cultural heritage of Switzerland. The Schoggitaler apparently had their origin here in Sils, as a means of raising money to prevent the construction of a hydro-electric power station on the Silsersee in the 1940s. The initial sale of Schoggitaler was such a resounding success that it has been repeated annually since then throughout Switzerland. In 2017, the funds raised will support a project to develop wildlife corridors. These will assist wildlife to move safely between their sleeping places, feeding grounds, summer and winter habitats and breeding grounds, due to many of their natural paths having been adversely affected by settlements, roads and railways.
  • A musical performance on the Morteratsch Glacier by the glaciologist Felix Keller (seen earlier), with a picnic for the audience prepared by the chef from the Waldhaus Hotel, which he brings in by helicopter! I gather this was designed to publicise the devastating effect of climate change on the Morteratsch Glacier, which is apparently losing 40-50 million tons of ice every year.

If you find the time to watch this documentary, and enjoy it, there are three other documentaries in the series, including the Aletsch Glacier and the Verzasca Valley. In my experience, these TV shows are often only available online for a week or so before being replaced by other things. Here are the links:

Upper Engadin: Unsere wilde Schweiz - Das Oberengadin

www.3sat.de/mediathek/ ?mode=play&obj=69643

Verzasca Valley: Unsere wilde Schweiz - Das Verzascatal

www.3sat.de/mediathek/ ?mode=play&obj=69646

Aletsch Glacier: Unsere wilde Schweiz - Der Aletschgletscher

www.3sat.de/mediathek/ ?mode=play&obj=69644

The Vanil Noir: Unsere wilde Schweiz - Das Vanil Noir

(a mountain located on the border between the cantons of Fribourg and Vaud, which I have never heard of before)

www.3sat.de/mediathek/ ?mode=play&obj=69645

I haven't watched any of the others yet, but hope to find time in the next couple of days to do so!

Alpenrose

Last modified on Nov 2, 2017 - 2:18 AM by Removed user
Adelaidean
Adelaidean
108 posts
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Nov 2, 2017 - 8:07 AM in reply to Removed user

Wow, Alpenrose, great find! I will try to catch some of those videos. Thanks for sharing 😀

We saw those larch needle balls in the foyer of our hotel, in a basket with pine cones I think. And we bought a chocolate coin from a schoolboy in the Bernese Oberland, justified eating chocolate as we were 'helping a cause'...

Thanks again ....

Adelaidean
Adelaidean
108 posts
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Nov 2, 2017 - 8:17 AM in reply to AlanPrice

Hi Alan, I always transferred all my photos on to my ipad every night, then uploaded a few to flickr as well each time.

Adelaidean
Adelaidean
108 posts
active member
Nov 3, 2017 - 5:57 AM in reply to Removed user

Have just finished the first in the series, wonderful to have the aerial footage. And exciting to recognise the locations. Thanks again.

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Nov 4, 2017 - 12:28 AM in reply to Adelaidean

Glad you liked it :-)

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
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Nov 4, 2017 - 5:12 PM

Hi Alpenrose

I have just spent a self-indulgent afternoon watching all 4 videos!

Thank you so much for posting the links. I really enjoyed watching them. I could understand bits of the commentary here and there and make a guess at other bits from the filming. It was good to be able to recognise some places we have been to and also to see places beyond our ability to reach!

I have had a highly pleasurable afternoon!

Maggie

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Nov 5, 2017 - 1:31 AM in reply to maggiehorswell

Hi Maggie,

I'm so glad you enjoyed them too!

Alpenrose

Taniar
Taniar
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Nov 20, 2017 - 1:19 AM

Wonderful report! I never was at this side of the Alps. Usually from Austrian side. I like to rent here polarus.eu/ a motorhome and travel there. But after reading your report I wish to visit Swiss Alps too.

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