Greg & Penny’s Swiss Holiday – Day Two

Thursday 3 June 2010

After an excellent slumber and hearty breakfast we drove to St Moritz and then up past Pontresina and through the Bernina Pass almost as far as Poschiavo (only about 15 km from the Italian border at Tirano – no wonder there were so many Italian speakers). The Bernina Pass is pretty spectacular and much as you might imagine – narrow, winding roads with endless switchbacks. Penny spent much of the journey with her heart in her throat as we negotiated the precipitous turns but clearly we are mere amateurs – the Swiss overtake with a nonchalance which was amazing. As well as the cars and buses there were dozens and dozens of motorbikes enjoying the ride through the pass.

Lake Poschiavo
Lake Poschiavo

Having climbed the Bernina Pass and begun the descent of the other side, we turned off on a narrow, winding road leading, seemingly to nowhere which we had spotted earlier on the map. We keyed the destination of Alp Grum into the GPS navigator which Nick kindly lent us and it proceeded to guide us expertly up the mountain to the tiny, tiny village of Cavaglia. Once there it became clear that the “road” to Alp Grum was more of a goat track so, in spite of the GPS system encouraging us to keep going, we stopped and found a moderately comfortable place in which to enjoy our picnic lunch.

As it happens, completely by accident, we had stumbled across the spot of some astounding “Art of Nature” as the conveniently situated sign told us. These were great bowls seemingly ground into the granite. While we couldn’t make head nor tail of any of the information signs, when asked a young woman kindly provided us with a translation. It seems that these developed towards the conclusion of the ice age. The whole are was covered with glaciers and, as the water melted underneath the glacier, as it attempted to drain away it naturally developed a swirling movement similar to water draining from a bath tub. The grit and other debris underneath the glacier were similarly swirled around by the draining water gradually carving these incredible bowls into the stone.

On the way home we stopped in St Moritz to make some enquiries at the train station. Tomorrow’s plans include a train ride from St Moritz to Alp Grum (yes, you can get a train there but you can’t drive, at least not in anything short of a four-wheel goat-mobile) from where we hope to secure some magnificent views of the surrounding area. Similarly, we hope to stop at Diavolezza which seems to be just about the only cable car/gondola running at the moment (we’re in between seasons, remember). From the top, again, we should be able to see some magnificent views. We’ll let you know.

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