Today I did my last everything … ironing, cooking, cleaning, serving guests. Then I took my cases to Chur Railway Station where there’s a service that checks you in for your flight and relieves you of your bags so that you can travel by train unencumbered to the airport. I’ll next see them tomorrow lunchtime in Manchester. After a quiet afternoon chatting with a new guest, Agnes and I served the evening meal outside again on the terrace.
… But then this evening I discovered the handbook Agnes must have meant me to read in advance of my starting to work here : The Sunlight Book of Housework. It was on the book shelves in my room! Surely a hint as to how the housework here must be done!
Now, I’m intrigued to see all the jobs I did :
A bit of brushing and sweeping
Cleaning the wash basins
A bit of mending
Serving the Guest Breakfasts and Sometimes Dinner
Popping the Laundry in the Washing Machine
Popping it in the Drier
All the Ironing
Plus all those travels and hikes … I’ll be glad to get home for a rest!!
Today Agnes hired a car in order to take me to the places I hadn’t been during my stay! What a challenge. But we did pretty well.
We walked around the Cresta See. You have heard of the Cresta Run (I saw it in St Moritz last Saturday). well, this is the Cresta Lake near Flims. A natural lake deep in the forest with paths and picnic spots and safe bathing areas. Of course, it has the expected restaurant and other facilities too.
The Cresta Run
Then we drove to Vals where the world famous spa baths designed by local architect Peter Zumthor are built of local granite. We decided not to indulge our senses here but to wait until the end of the day.
So after looking around the village of Vals itself, looking in at the Landi shop (always worth a peep)
Cute Swiss babygro
And they really do have yodelling fests!
we picknicked by the little shrine/pilgrim church of Santa Maria da Campo.
On our way back Agnes diverted to Schloss Haldenstein near Chur for which I had a brochure and had thought worthy of a visit. Indeed it is! It’s a very special rose garden. In the summer there are outdoor theatrical and operatic performances. We had coffee/apple juice in the delightful garden overlooked by Chur’s mountain Calanda.
The Apple Juice and Garden
Then (after a supermarket shop) we drove back to Bad Ragaz for the icing on the cake – a two hour session at the Thermal Baths of Bad Ragaz. Wonderful! I didn’t take my camera with me but this is what it’s like.
It’s hot and muggy here today and we have new guests from Germany. So I worked on the room this morning and after a late lunch I thought I’d have another trip to Chur. I wandered through the old town to the Arcas Square where there’s another Lesebank. I had a quick look but decided to carry on reading my own book on a shady bench on the opposite side of the square.
In Arcas Square (above and below)
Then I visited the Cathedral (Kathedrale St Maria Himmelfahrt). Is it old is it new? It’s an excellent combination of both. A recent renovation in sympathy with the old.
Then I looked in a dress shop [Boutique Ivka] and was finally tempted by the lovely owner to go in and although I explained that I was not going to buy she seemed happy to show me various very tempting items and I even tried some on … but did not succumb. Some very lovely, flattering pieces in stock!
Finally, though having seen myself in the full length mirror, I still headed for Marron the cafe opposite the station where you choose a piece of Plum Tart (or whatever) and a tea (Vanilla and Rooibos, in this case) and watch the world (or at least the city of Chur and the train to Arosa) go past.
When in Chur last week I visited several bookshops – secondhand and new. I decided to go back there yesterday to buy a couple more English language books. I chose Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and John Boyne’s The Absolutist. So I’ve now added to the very few titles that I brought with me and to the five picked up in Bern at the weekend.
As I wandered up the main street in the Old Town the sun came out and I decided to hunt for another book box. Fontana Park in Chur is a pretty square just behind the main street and by a busy road.
“In its present form, Fontana Park has reverted to the boundaries of the former Baroque garden from before 1860. With its refurbishment, the park has become a multi-purpose recreation area. The flower parterre in front of the old building still has its original length. Due to the lack of historical sources, the planting has been done in the contemporary style. Changing flower beds alternate side by side with boxwood beds, and potted plants complement the floral aspect. The modern fencing means that the park can be closed off at night while retaining the required degree of transparency.” Source
Fontana Park is also another location for a reading bench and box. I rummaged through the box picked two titles for closer inspection and was joined by another lady who picked an urban gardening title. The box had been used much more than the first one I visited and the notebook is filled with children’s drawings and scribbles.
The two books were one of Engadiner Sayings; words of wisdom that have been stencilled onto houses in the region and one about local artist Angelika Kauffman.
Self Portrait of the Prolific Artist Angelika Kauffman (1741-1807)
Also in the park is a memorial to Captain Benedikt Fontana :
“The bronze Fontana memorial dates from the year 1903 and is in memory of Captain Benedikt Fontana. He was an episcopal bailiff who officiated at the southern border of the Three Leagues. He died in 1499 during the Swabian War at the battle of Calven, allegedly a martyr’s death, before the Graubünden army put the Habsburgs to flight. The monument was created by the Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling, whose works also include the Tell monument in Altdorf.” Source
Finally, I do love the Swiss window displays. This one in a jewellery and watch shop in Chur.
This afternoon I was in Chur again and I posted about my visit here. I had visited already on Sunday. It’s a lovely city with a characterful Old Town of traditionally painted buildings, narrow alleyways and many ornate drinking water fountains.
Chur is located by the River Rhine and mountains tower above the city. The busy station is a starting point for several panoramic train trips.
The Glacier Express
However, in addition to inspecting a Reading Bench and sipping a drink at the birthplace of the artist Angelika Kauffman I spotted this lovely Kleenex Kouch (they call it a Kleenex Sofa) in the window of a sewing machine shop.
“We don’t work on Sundays!” said Agnes this morning. “Well, only when there is a guest changeover.” A young couple left this morning but we can sort the room tomorrow as there are no new guests this evening.
So we took the train together to the nearby city of Chur and visited The Schweizersiches Volkstanzfest [The Swiss Folk Dance Festival] which is being held in a field there this weekend. Swiss country people congregate every 3 years in their folk costumes, or Trachten, for dancing, music, food and drink and general enjoyment. Every Canton has its own distinctive outfit – especially the ladies. Austrians and Germans also participate.
These beautiful outfits cost thousands of francs to buy – all handmade and embroidered – or hours and hours of work if they make them themselves.
A Bernese Tracht