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.

Arrival at Schiers

Excellent but long journey – taxi to Leeds, train to London, tube to Bank, Docklands Light Railway to London City, flight to Zurich and then three trains. I finally arrived here in Schiers. Seems strange to be back here again, especially as I don’t have to work this time.

There’s a lovely family of Canadians from Vancouver staying as Workawayers so we all had dinner together. Unfortunately, they are leaving tomorrow. They are travelling to Glasgow to visit family.

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Home Again

I’ve been home now for 24 hours so that’s the end of my daily posting on My Swiss Diary. Who knows, I may be back again next year? Thanks to everyone who kept me company on this adventure!

On Way to Station

Leaving Rossgasse On My Way to Schiers Station Early on Sunday Morning

A Last walk Around Schiers

Tomorrow Agnes is arranging to pick up a car via the Swiss Mobility programme and she wants to take me to some places that I haven’t been yet! That will be lovely as on Saturday I have to clean my room and bathroom and pack my case. In the afternoon I will take advantage of the Fly Luggage arrangement via Swiss Railways in partnership with Swiss Airlines. On Sunday I fly home and my Swiss Adventure will be over for this year. But another year … who knows?

Lunch

So after the morning jobs and lunch and a rest I took off for a final walk down to the road and into Schiers. You can get a good view of the house from the road and also check that the donkeys are OK!

The Chalet

Rossgasse

Rossgasse 2

Rossgasse 3

Chalet from the road

The Chalet from the Road below

The farm below

The Farm Below our Chalet

Donkey

Our Donkey Neighbour

Schiers main street

Schiers Main Street

Looking forward to tomorrow’s trip. Agnes has two weeks holiday from her job in Landquart so it will also be nice for her to get out for a while. In the meantime the guests will dine with us this evening.

Smells and Sounds of Switzerland

We have no guests for two days so having caught up with ironing and having done several machine loads of laundry yesterday I’ve had a pretty free day today. There’s now another heap of ironing but I’ll get on with that later. I could have made  another excursion today but decided to mooch around the chalet reading and resting and generally catching up with emails and texting after the weekend’s activities. I did pop down to the little Co-op supermarket at the other end of town.

I can post plenty of sights of Switzerland and have been doing so but there are also some very distinctive smells and sounds which are impossible convey over the internet. (I suppose I could search Youtube for some cow bells and you’ve already heard the yodelling!)

Cows opposite

The cows in the field opposite

Opening the dining room and kitchen windows this morning we could sniff the freshly mown hay. Hiking through the pine woods there is also a damp pine needle smell.

Forest path

Damp woodland smells

Flower meadow

Then out in the open meadows there is the smell of all those wild flowers. Honeysuckle and roses are the most distinctive.

Hay making

Neighbours loading up the hay – 21st century style

The most prominent sound here at the chalet is the tinkle of cow (mixed with goat) bells. There’s a donkey in the field opposite as well and he/she brays from time to time. Then there are the church bells that seem to ring around noon every day.

Church tower

And there’s the birdsong when out on the mountains and meadows. Unfortunately we can also hear the road, which, although some distance away can be quite loud at times, presumably due to the nature of the valley formation. I do love to hear the sound of a train coming and always look to see the red carriages disappearing up or down the valley.

Schiers train

When out hiking you can always hear the sounds of rushing water as the streams and waterfalls tumble their melted snow water into the valleys below and the gentle tinkle of the spring water piped into an often fancy water trough.

Mountain stream

Mountain torrent

Water trough

Alpine Water Trough

Day One : I made it to the Swiss Alps!

Agnes and me

It’s evening now on my first day here at Schiers where I am to help Agnes with her B&B guests.

I travelled from Leeds to Manchester and thence with a Swiss flight to Zürich Airport. The train station is right inside the airport so I managed to catch the train one hour earlier than I had expected as I already had my ticket for the day’s travel. For Schiers you have to change trains twice – at Zürich Main Station and in Landquart where you join the pretty red Rhätische Bahn for the short journey to Schiers. Much of the journey is alongside the Lake of Zürich and then the Walensee. As you leave the lakes the snowy mountain peaks appear and you feel you are really in the Swiss Alps.

My room

Agnes met me at the station and prepared the meal whilst I unpacked and settled into my room. It’s a typical Swiss style – pine walls and furniture and I’m beginning to make it my own. We ate supper on the verandah – bruschetta followed by local white asparagus with salmon and potatoes, then Alpen herb tea to follow.

Schiers from room

Schiers from my window

Looking up the Prättigau Valley from room

The Prättigau Valley from my window

From the supper table

View from the Terrace Table