After delays … Luino!

Not strictly Switzerland, but I’ll be back there on Monday, this afternoon after a delayed journey I arrived in Italy.
All started fine with a train to Chur and bus waiting for the 2+ hour journey to Bellinzona.

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Ready to leave Schiers

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Bus 171 Chur to Bellinzona

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We arrive at Sufers

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It’s a popular area for hiking

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I followed the journey on the map and via the Postbus audio guide

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The village of San Bernardino after the long San Bernardino Tunnel

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Not long after this we joined a long tailback of traffic – this was the view

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We were given water and a Route Description

We finally arrived over an hour late at Bellinzona. But this was no problem as Barbara’s train was due at that time anyway. In the end her train was delayed but our Luino train was held up for us so we got there exactly on time. Barbara (yes, we are three Barbaras) and Monique met us and we have relaxed with this view of Lake Maggiore all evening.

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I’ll be back in Switzerland on Monday!

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Sunny Swimming Day

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Today the weather was already looking much more hopeful when opened my wooden shutters and looked up the valley.

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It still looked rather misty in the other direction.
Nonetheless we had decided to repeat the visit we made on my last Friday last year and take a dip at the Thermal Baths at nearby Bad Ragaz.

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First we took a walk through the golf course and through a wooded park. On one of the lakes was a sculpture of yellow figures sitting in a circle. With his back to them, ignoring their chat or contemplation, sat a heron.

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We then spent about 3 hours in the pools. I especially liked the outdoor pool with a natural water temperature of 36.5 -perfect. Now and then the water would bubble up to massage our backs.

Lunch at the Cafe Therme on the poolside was cheese and onion flan with a cup of tea. We could actually lie on the sun loungers and contemplate the fir tree covered slopes.

NEWS

There was a major rail accident yesterday in Canton Graubunden caused by a land slip derailing some carriages and causing some injuries but fortunately no deaths. Today the Glacier Express has been diverted to our Praetigau Valley taking the beautiful line up and over Davos. From the Swiss Railways website :

Disruption: Thusis – Tiefencastel (RhB)
13.08.2014 23:24:02

13.08.14 until 15.08.14
00:00 23:59ChurSamedan RE/D , S/SN/R , ARZ/EXT

Disruption:
Between Thusis and Tiefencastel on the Chur – St.Moritz line, no train services are operating.

Trains RE Chur – Thusis – St. Moritz are cancelled.

Replacement bus services are operating Thusis – Tiefencastel – Filisur – Bergün/Bravuogn.
The stations Preda + Spinas are not served. Between Bergün/Bravuogn and Bever (- Samedan) there is no replacement service possible.

Passengers travelling from Zürich HB / St. Gallen / Chur
– to Thusis should take the S-Bahn S 2 xx:48 (+10′) to Thusis.
– to Tiefencastel, Filisur + Bergün/Bravuogn should take the S-Bahn S 2 to Thusis and change in Thusis onto the replacement bus service to Bergün/Bravuogn.
– to Samedan, St. Moritz + Poschiavo, Tirano or vice versa travel via Landquart – Klosters – Sagliains.

The trains GLACIER-EXPRESS Zermatt – St. Moritz are being rerouted via Vereina. The trains do not stop in Thusis, Tiefencastel, Filisur + Bergün/Bravuogn.
The trains BERNINA EXPRESS Chur – Tirano are being rerouted via Vereina. The trains do not stop in Tiefencastel, Filisur + Bergün/Bravuogn.
The trains BERNINA EXPRESS Davos Platz – Tirano are being rerouted via Vereina. The trains BEX Davos Platz – Tirano make an unscheduled stop in Klosters.

Please allow for a longer travelling time.

Reason: Landslide

Duration of interruption indefinite.

What a Finale!

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.

Cresta See

Cresta See

Cresta Run

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.

Vals

Vals Dorf

So after looking around the village of Vals itself, looking in at the Landi shop (always worth a peep)

Swiss Babygro (Onesey??)

Cute Swiss babygro

Yodelfest

And they really do have yodelling fests!

we picknicked by the little shrine/pilgrim church of Santa Maria da Campo.

Sta 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.

Haldenstein

The Schloss

Apple juice

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.