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.

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

The Albula Line for Kids … and me

I noticed at the station in Davos that in order to capture children’s imagination and encourage them to hike along the Albula Experience Way a book has been published : Türli und Flidari auf dem Bahnerlebnisweg. Then at each Information Board as you walk the route between Preda (1792m ASL and freezing cold!) and Bergün you notice the little T&F cartoons.

Furli and Flidari

Türli und Flidari auf dem Bahnerlebnisweg

Brio Albula

On one board there’s an explanation of how the line has been built to rise so high in the Alps. It is likened to the corkscrew attached to the wee red Swiss Army knife.

Cork screw

The Corkscrew

Explanation

The Explanation : is this really for kids?

My favourite was this one which shows in Tintin-like fashion what the third class carriages were like 100 years ago!

3rd class seats

Chur and A Kleenex Sofa

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 alleyway

A Chur fountain

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.

Chur Station

Glacier Express

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.

Kleenex Sofa