Trip report Lower Engadine / Guarda October 2016

Trip report Lower Engadine / Guarda October 2016

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Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2421 posts
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Jan 25, 2017 - 10:26 AM

One of the day trips I did while staying in Scuol was to Guarda, a tiny village perched high over the Lower Engadin valley at an altitude of a bit over 1650 metres. The population isn’t much more than 150.

Guarda railway station is in the valley below the village, and a bus runs year round to transport locals and visitors between the station and the village bus stop, which is called “Guarda, cumün” in the SBB timetable. “Cumün” means “village” in Vallader, which is the local variety of the Romansch language, the main language of the area. (German is also widely spoken.)

I’d been past Guarda station in the train quite a few times during my stay in Scuol, and had always noticed the little bus waiting there to take passengers up to the village. I was the only person alighting at Guarda on this occasion, and as I got off, a man boarding the train two carriages along was calling out to me and gesticulating madly in the direction of the bus stop. There was no bus there, so I assumed the man was trying to tell me the bus had already left.

I thought it a bit strange that it would leave without any passengers, but resigned myself to waiting half an hour or so for the next one, and went into the small indoor waiting room to avoid a chilly wait outside on the platform. Before long though, a man popped his head around the door and asked me if I wanted to go up to the village. It was the bus driver, so off we went! Although I was the only passenger, the bus was packed to the rafters with luggage, and the bus driver had to move a suitcase out of the doorway so I could get in! The bus was quite small, and as we drove into the village I realised why: a full-size bus would have absolutely no hope of turning the corner into the narrow main street! There was no-one in the village waiting to claim all that luggage, so it remains a mystery to me what it was doing in the bus!

Guarda would have to be one of the most lovely traditional villages I have ever seen. Apparently most houses date from the first half of the 17th century, and are built from stone, lime and wood, with coarsely plastered walls. The beautifully preserved facades are decorated with “sgraffito” and paintings, including many texts. Window boxes and pots of flowers abound, and many fountains add to the rustic beauty of the narrow cobblestone streets. In places, especially from the garden of the Hotel Meisser, there are great views into the valley below.

After an hour or two wandering around the village on what was an icy cold day, I retreated to a cosy restaurant with an open fireplace: “Ustaria Crusch Alba”, in the main street not far from the bus stop. (It’s marked on Google Maps if you zoom in close enough). I enjoyed a lunch of “Steinpilzstroganoff” (mushroom stroganoff), and admired the “Drachenecke” (dragon corner) decorated with a painted dragon on the wall, which refers to a local dragon legend apparently. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and also has a seasonal closure between late October and early December.

By the time I decided to head back to the bus stop, it had started snowing, to my great delight! For me, that just added to the beauty of the village. (I was suitably dressed for the cold weather of course!) Although I hadn't seen that many people strolling around in Guarda on this cold Sunday in early October, a small crowd of people appeared from nowhere shortly before the bus was due to depart, and the bus back to the station was packed, with many people having to stand. A small child unselfconsciously sang a catchy song over and over all the way back to the station, by which point some of the adult passengers had started singing too, and continued while waiting on the platform for the train!

I have attached some photos I took in Guarda that day. One of the photos shows the Jecklin house, which has an inscription in Romansch on it. There is a translation of the text on Wikipedia. It says:

“We build such pretty houses and know that we not stay forever.

But about the place we will go to forever, we think only rarely.”

Alpenrose

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Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2421 posts
top member
Jan 25, 2017 - 10:35 AM in reply to Alpenrose666

Some more photos of Guarda.

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Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2421 posts
top member
Jan 25, 2017 - 10:37 AM in reply to Alpenrose666

And some more :-)

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Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2421 posts
top member
Jan 25, 2017 - 10:39 AM in reply to Alpenrose666

These are the final ones.

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Arno
Arno
10744 posts
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moderator
Jan 25, 2017 - 12:31 PM

Many thanks for this "off the beaten path" trip report Alpenrose! The area is so wonderful. Your pictures show the facades found in the villages very well. Unique, even to Switzerland.

Thanks!

Arno

hockeyfan
hockeyfan
17 posts
new member
Jan 25, 2017 - 5:35 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you so much for taking the time to report and share.

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
570 posts
top member
Jan 26, 2017 - 3:23 AM

Hi Alpenrose

Thank you so much for sharing those pictures - they are beautiful.

You have succeeded in giving us yet another place to add to our list of places to go in July this year!

Best wishes

Maggie

Last modified on Jan 26, 2017 - 3:24 AM by maggiehorswell
Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2421 posts
top member
Jan 27, 2017 - 9:51 AM in reply to maggiehorswell

Thanks for your interest and comments Arno, hockeyfan and Maggie! I'm sure you will love Guarda, Maggie! I think it's a great idea that you will be staying in the Engadin again.

Alpenrose

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
570 posts
top member
Jan 27, 2017 - 11:27 PM in reply to Alpenrose666

Hi again Alpenrose

For a few years we have spent a month in self-catering accommodation in Bernese Oberland - that way we can afford to stay longer - but last year as a one-off to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary we decided to treat ourselves to a week in a "posh" hotel in St. Moritz before heading to B. O. for last 3 weeks. But we enjoyed that week so much and didn't do all the possible excursions (though we managed a lot of them!) that we decided to repeat the experience this year! That's why I have been so fascinated by your reports about the Engadine and have been taking notes!

So many thanks for all the great ideas you have supplied me with! I always think making plans is part of the fun - especially with this great forum as a resource!

Kind regards

Maggie

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4711 posts
expert
Jan 28, 2017 - 4:13 PM in reply to Alpenrose666

Hi Alpenrose-

Thanks for the great pictures. Good reminder that it is time to go back. ;-)

We enjoy that area much more than we do the Upper Engadine.

For many years we have made the Hotel Piz Buin in Guarda our base in the Lower Engadine.

They changed hands last year, and I'm hoping to go back soon to see how they are faring.

Slowpoke

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Adelaidean
Adelaidean
106 posts
active member
Jan 30, 2017 - 11:36 AM

Fabulous photos, a joy to view. Thank you.

Arno
Arno
10744 posts
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Jan 30, 2017 - 2:01 PM in reply to Adelaidean

Welcome to MySwissAlps, Adelaidean :-)

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2421 posts
top member
Jan 30, 2017 - 3:10 PM in reply to maggiehorswell

>> But we enjoyed that week so much and didn't do all the possible excursions (though we managed a lot of them!) that we decided to repeat the experience this year! That's why I have been so fascinated by your reports about the Engadine and have been taking notes!

Yes, there is so much to do around St Moritz, as well as in the Lower Engadin. Even with a week in St Moritz and a week in Scuol, there were still so many places I didn't manage to fit in. A week or two in the Engadin will definitely be on my itinerary again for the next trip (but that will be a few years off unfortunately)!

>> So many thanks for all the great ideas you have supplied me with! I always think making plans is part of the fun - especially with this great forum as a resource!

I agree - planning is half the fun!

Alpenrose

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2421 posts
top member
Jan 30, 2017 - 3:16 PM in reply to Slowpoke

>> Thanks for the great pictures. Good reminder that it is time to go back. ;-)

>> Fabulous photos, a joy to view. Thank you.

Hi Slowpoke and Adelaidean,

Many thanks for your kind words about my photos!

Alpenrose - Melbournian :-)

Adelaidean
Adelaidean
106 posts
active member
Jan 31, 2017 - 7:37 AM

Thanks Arno :)

Small world, Alpenrose. Not many mountains in Adelaide or Melbourne..... Anyway, you are a great photographer, am slowly working my way through your collective photos. Being new to this forum means I am not familiar with its' format yet, and I need to catch up by reading old threads.

Fritzrab
Fritzrab
33 posts
active member
Oct 18, 2017 - 2:58 PM in reply to Alpenrose666

Thanks so much for your comments and your great pics. Guarda looks great - we'll see if we can make that work for our trip.

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