Soglio & Pontresina
April 2009
The Swiss village of Soglio, perched on the side of the incredibly narrow, steep Val Bregaglia, just a few kilometers from the Italian border. This was our hiking base for ten days.
A lone coffee-drinker on the main square of Soglio.
One of the primary streets in Soglio.
Another major thoroughfare in Soglio.
The morning rush in downtown Soglio. I think they're planning to turn left.
A frosty morning dawns in Soglio.
The sunrise view from my hotel room.
Tom peers out of his room and considers the hiking possibilities.
The April sun quickly melted the morning's light snow and ice.
Murray, Jeanne, Jan, and Tom, ready to hit the trail. I hadn't hiked with Tom before, but the other three are old friends from a prior trip. It's really just an eating group with a hiking disorder.
Along the trail, somewhere above Santa Croce, Italy. Our hikes often wandered back and forth over the Swiss/Italian border.
Above Santa Croce.
Villa di Chiavenna, perched above the Maira River.
On the trail to Savogno, with a view of the city of Chiavenna at the bottom of the valley.
Murray takes a break in the warmth of the midday sun.
We eagerly head for our lunch in Savogno, which turned out to be well worth the hike.
Savogno, high above Borgonuovo.
The 16th Century Vertemate Franchi Palace in Prosto of Piuro. In fact, this was just the guest house - the actual palace, roughly ten times this size, was destroyed in a landslide in 1618 that wiped out most of the town.
On a cloudy day, we headed down the Via Bregaglia from just below the Maloja Pass, starting in Casaccia, destined for a lunch break at Pranzaira.
Fred leads the way down the Bregaglia. The lingering snow restricted us to the lower trails.
Jeanne and Murray taking a break outside Vicosoprano (our favorite town name).
Jan.
A doorway in Borgonovo.
Heading back up the hill to Soglio following the all-day walk from Casaccia.
Springtime struggles to come to Soglio.
Soglio, seen from a local garden.
The church courtyard in Soglio.
The church in Soglio.
Well-placed bench on the outskirts of town.
The suburbs of Soglio.
These square buildings are mostly used to store chestnuts, a major local crop, and often an ingredient in local dishes.
Jan and Tom completing the climb from Castasegna, on the valley floor below. Despite appearances, both are very strong hikers, and neither was anywhere near "collapse" at this stage!
Only a few hundred meters above Soglio, snow still persists at Tombal.
The Lago di Mezzola, seen from our climb up from Novate Mezzola, and into the Val Codera.
Nearing the top of the climb.
Heading into the heart of the valley.
Our lunch target, the little village of Codera.
Approaching Codera.
Downtown metropolitan Codera. "Sleepy" doesn't even begin to describe it.
A nameless little settlement on the other side of the valley.
A precarious perch.
The campanile of the 11th-Century church of San Martino in Aurogo.
Fred leads the group across a man-made water hazard.
The church of Santa Maria Assunta, on the Fiume Mera (on the Swiss side of the border, the Maira) in Prosto.
The trail from Dasciun to Soglio.
I really wanted to go for a ride on this, but there was no operator, and no power.
The first glimpse of Soglio along the trail from Dasciun.
Soglio on its perch above the Bregaglia.
Approaching Soglio on the trail from Dasciun.
Soglio in the late afternoon, a last glimpse before my next destination.
Leaving my companions (the group trip was over, and they were going home), I headed for Pontresina for a few days on my own. Hundred-year-old hotels dominate the skyline, though almost all are closed in this off-season. Pontresina is at 1800 meters, and is therefore much colder than Soglio.
One of the venerable old hotels in Pontresina.
Still just a few traces of snow in Val Roseg.
Further up Val Roseg, winter lingers.
Val Roseg on a gloomy day, but the walk was enjoyable nonetheless.
At first, I wasn't sure what these Italian kids were doing....
... then, it became clear to me what was going on.
A chickadee examines my offering....
... and takes a closer look.
A titmouse comes to visit.
At the head of Val Roseg, just below the glacier.
Not quite ready to open for the season.
Morning brings a snowy surprise in Pontresina, seen from my hotel room.
An instant winter wonderland.
Hard to believe it's almost May.
At least they plow the lower trails, so I didn't need snowshoes.
Pontresina.
Pontresina.
Pontresina.
A train on the Rhätische Bahn leaving Pontresina, headed for the Bernina Pass, and Italy.
On a lark, I took the train up to the Bernina Pass, where the scene was entirely white, black, and blue.
The view down into Italy, towards Poschiavo. It was certainly warmer down there, but apparently stormier.
Near the Bernina Pass.
At Alp Grüm, it was just me and a lone station attendant who was struggling to keep the station clear of snow.
The 14:15 from Poschiavo arrives to take me back down to Pontresina.
The Kirche San Gian in the Engadine Valley, between St. Moritz and Pontresina.
Val Roseg on a sunnier day.
An inviting trail in Val Roseg.
Val Roseg.