After all that snow, the weather has been beautiful and today it was to be a balmy 25°. What to do for his birthday? What else but to head for the high country and a long walk again of course.
We took the train to Thusis, about half an hour down the road, went to Information and asked for advice on which walk to take. It ended up being a narrow, circuitous, mountainous path that followed the famous Viamala gorge ( www.viamala.ch) to Zillis, taking the bus back to Thusis and train back to Rhaezuens.
After a few false starts because I was being dopey and not reading the instructions properly (partly because I have to keep changing from distance to reading glasses and I get fed up with that) but we finally got it and were on our way.
POLICE LAUGHING THEMSELVES INTO STITCHES
What have police go to do with it? You may well ask. Once I had my bearings, we headed for the first tiny township, Sils, so tiny that it has no shop or bakery whatsoever. I suddenly felt very hungry, thought of the food I had packed for both us and realised that it was just not enough, especially if I was already feeling this hungry. This was serious. I had no intention of walking on an empty stomach.
The only choice I had was to go into a restaurant. As this is Switzerland, obviously I was able to take Jochen in with me. I asked if they would make me up two cheese rolls and one buttered roll for Jochen. Suddenly I heard this laughter coming from the left corner of this very rustic and old restaurant.
Yep, two coppers having hysterics. Inspector Rex of course! I am sure they will talk about this for days to come. This tiny woman with this large German Shepherd asking for bread rolls for herself and her dog! Oh boy,oh boy! What a pity I did not ask for ham rolls. That would have bought the house down.
The sheer drop down to the gorge is so steep and such a long way down that every time I did look my sphincter muscle worked overtime. Why do I do this to myself? Because I like an adrenalin rush. Dumb question.
We eventually reached the Traversina Steg ll or the hanging bridge. Hm... I looked at it and decided that before we make another move, it is time for lunch.
As the above photos show, it is a beautiful bridge and its engineer, Jürg Conzett, has won several prizes for it. It is actually quite easy to walk. I let Jochen off-lead and he just went for it.
THE VIAMALA GORGE
Having negotiated the Traversina hanging bridge with aplomb, nothing was going to bother us after that. The path continued through this raw and wild country until we finally arrived at the second 'check point' on this walk, the Viamala kiosk.
And here we are, both in the Viamala Gorge with two old bridges behind us. We found someone to take a picture of the two of us. He and his wife were charmed and intrigued to learn that we are from Australia.
By the way, I now know why the time-delay photo I tried to take in Splugen did not work. I placed the camera and tripod back to front and photographed the pylon instead. Don't say anything. Peter just rolled his eyes.
The walk continued to go up, and up and ...you guessed it...up. After a while the country side became a little more genteel, softer, nicer even. The gorge opened up into a narrowish valley rising up on the other side to a very broad expanse of steep, deep green alpine fields. In the distance snow-capped peaks. So Swiss.
ZILLIS & COWS
We finally made it to Zillis and whilst we were waiting for the bus to take us back to Thusis, two young lads brought these cows through the township. That had to be a photo. This cow mooed at us.
And that was Jochen's birthday. By the time we caught the bus back to Thusis and the train to Rhaezuens, it was 5.00 pm. This day really had everything. Jochen is on his side, legs stretched out, fast asleep making dreaming noises.