ON THE. The cliché of Switzerland is always a bit nostalgic, dreamy and cosy. - PDF

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TRAVEL The cliché of Switzerland is always a bit nostalgic, dreamy and cosy. It can be different though: incredibly thrilling, dynamic and challenging. Photos: Graubünden.ch, Davos Klosters, Swiss-image.ch, Thomas Jutzler ON THE O T H E R S I D E Four hot travel ideas that combine vibrant exhilaration with nostalgic, dreamy and pleasant moments. Simply typically Swiss. TRAVEL TRAVEL Down the hill from the top The view is crystal clear: I see what I usually do not see. And at the same time I am really close to myself. The world, the mountains and I melt into one. Endorphins non-stop. Up and down, one experience better than the other. Photos: Graubünden.ch, Davos Klosters Davos Klosters is an eldorado for bikers, but places high demands on technical ability, fitness and the nerves. In return, the down-hills fire elation and the views speak for themselves. Text Markus Haken I need to be wide awake. Only a metal frame and two wheels underneath me. Down the sloping trail almost without braking. Steep rock. Hairpin curve. The slightest inattention and I will kiss the ground. But I am wide awake. As wide awake as possible. The icy cold air stream blows every unnecessary thought out of my brain. The view is crystal clear: I see what I usually do not see. And at the same time I am really at peace with myself. The world, the mountains and I melt into one. A real flowing experience. But surprisingly, the flow does not stop when I stop at the bottom of the Weißfluhjoch. Two mountain giants rise up next to me. An incredible panorama. I am especially fascinated by the mighty rock pyramids of the Tinzenhorn. It is also referred to as Matterhorn Graubündens because of its shape. Opposite, on the Scaletta Pass, long distance walkers crossing the Alps are gaining altitude. On the other side, I discover a small monastery, tiny like a miniature city. One of Europe s toughest mountain-bike races took place here, the legendary Swiss Bike Masters. I recognise the Gotschna- Freeride-Piste, the one I mastered yesterday with full pride. A six kilometre long Freeride stretch. It takes you swirling and jumping downhill an exciting 600 metres of altitude with 200 steep turns. There is no question about it, this is also a first-class flow experience. I dwell on my thoughts and get lost in the moment. But I should not let myself be distracted. My host had warned me not to take long breaks or otherwise I would miss the last train! Mountain railway, to put it precisely. Today, I want to take the railway tour. To experience the undiluted free-ride feeling, technology does help: On one day, you save your energy going uphill by travelling on five mountain railways and descend over 10,000 metres of altitude going downhill on the bike. The finest routes more than 90 percent single trails! An irresistible challenge. Lunch at the next Sennwirtschaft an alpine dairy is also irresistible. I mean, I need to take care of my creature comforts. And no, I do not have to break any records. Luckily you can split the railway tour onto two one-day sections. And so, one hour later, I am lying on the shoreline of Lake Davos. I also feel to be going with the flow. And you do not have to be wide awake. I doze off and feel relaxed km of bike trails run through the breathtaking mountain world around Davos, the highest town in Europe. The different cycle tours range from nerve-racking trills to relaxing pleasure trips. Mountain railways and public transport convey bike and cyclists with no charge for guests from Davos and the monasteries. The program of events for guest Davos Klosters Active includes details of 700 experiences for free such as observing animals or stand up paddling. Info: TRAVEL Walking on the rocks Two mighty glaciers wind their way into the valley below Piz Bernina. You can approach them shiveringly close. I feel as if I am on the bruised back of an old archaic creature from another time. Text & Photos Thomas Jutzler A baby blue Mercedes Benz vintage cabrio cruises along the Via da Bernina from St. Moritz towards Diavolezza valley station. Blazing sun. Shiny mountain peak. Thelma and Louise on a Grand Tour in the car in front of me. Postcard idyll. Perfect cliché picture of Switzerland. This is what we wish for. If it were not for the fact that we intend to fly up to the mountain Diavolezza hut with the last gondola. We are running late. Thelma seems to read my thoughts and suddenly floors her car. We catch the last gondola which brings us to the top. For every metre of altitude my pulse rate lessens. It all becomes clearer, calmer, wider. We are looking forward to the fivecourse meal with full moon drinks afterwards on Diavolezza's visitors' terrace. The big play starts after the food when a giant, bright shining moon rises from behind the peak of Piz Palü in a starry night and illuminates the Bernina glacier which winds its way down into the valley. The next morning we have the best late-summer hiking weather. Mountain guide Marco hands out crampons for the hike above the glacier: Every reasonably fit hiker can manage the tour, but you need crampons on the slippery ice of the glacier. And definitely a mountain guide who knows the area. The danger of taking a wrong step and simply falling into a snow-covered crevasse would otherwise be to great. When you look into the valley, you can see traces of the great forces that have been at work here for centuries. As if drawn with a ruler, the upper edges of lateral moraines hundreds of meters high mark On average, the ice sheet at Pers Glacier is a mighty 75 metres thick. I can t dance, I can t walk but I can hike along a glacier. both sides of the glacier on the mountainside. We go downhill across a steep mound of scree to the ice. The closer we come to the glacier, the bigger it seems to become. What looked like a tiny scratch in the ice from the distance turns out to be a metre-long crack. Marco knows where we can walk. It's so causal, the giant ice mass almost makes you feel reverent. I feel as if I am on the bruised back of an old archaic creature from another time. Suddenly we can hear rushing water. Only a few more steps and we are standing in front of an ice crater with a hole in the middle which enables us to glance into the inside of the glacier: a waterfall cascades into a bottomless black nothing. It drops down several hundreds of meters here, emphasises Marco, to which our mouths open in wonder. Later, sipping lemonade, we sit in the sun in Morteratsch overlooking Piz Bernina and the glacier waiting for the Glacier Express. The ride back to the valley station in the famous train gives us a final deep feeling of exhilaration inside. Always overlooking the mighty peaks bathed in the evening light. Comfortable mountain railways in and around St Moritz make the three peaks of Piz Nair, Corvatsch and Diavolezza accessible. Tours of different difficulty levels start from the mountain station up on Diavolezza. Professional climbers, hikers and also beginners can find perfect high-alpine terrain. If you just want to look, you can enjoy the view from the visitor terrace and top that off with a dinner at the restaurant in the mountain house. Book guided glacier hikes: General information on: TRAVEL Have fun Even with not so much action, the Via Spluga is an intense experience. 300 metres of naked rock on both sides. Lightsabres cut through the gorge. Thousands of insects dance in the beam of light. Don t be afraid. It will be a soft landing in the water. The Via Spluga is a long-distance hiking trail which leads along beautiful and unique paths rich in cultural history. If you are looking for some thrills along the way, swap your hiking clothes for a wetsuit and jump into the fresh water of the young Rhine. Text & Photos Thomas Jutzler Bouuuum. Splash. The water splashes to all sides. Simon is just showing how we should jump over the next water fall by cannonballing while the second guide, Ed, just makes grunting noises cool, cool, cool. We are in the middle of the Viamala gorge. Wearing helmets and wetsuits, we are swimming, climbing, jumping and cannonballing through the white water of the young Rhine. On a range of one to ten, the fun factor of canyoning must definitely be a twelve. And the Viamala always has a new surprise in store after the next turn: Sometimes we walk through knee-deep water, and sometimes we swim through a deep-blue pool or float downhill in gentle rapids. That's when you lay down in the water on your back, feet downstream, with your life jacket keeping you afloat. Suspended in ice-blue water, looking upwards and in the direction of the current. On both sides, there are 300 metres of naked rock. Lightsabres cut through the gorge. Thousands of insects dancing in the light beam, flashing like many sparkling diamonds. A feeling of grandeur follows the adrenalin high. We forget about the noise of the world and simply marvel at the incredible beauty of nature. And as so often during the last four days, we have done the tour in reverse, starting on the Italian side, in Chiavenna. After a cappuccino underneath palm trees, we go uphill through chestnut forests and the Val Cardinello. We reach the pass via a bridleway. Several mountain streams gurgle on the plateau. They create little lakes before having to decide to run down to the valley on the Italian or Swiss side. We call them Rhine babies and follow them towards the valley. Splügen and Andeer welcome us in their seemingly mediaeval and defiant houses. We cross suspension bridges at lofty heights, hike through the narrow Rofla Gorge and light-flooded forests. Hey, don t dream otherwise it is going to get uncomfortable says Ed, pulling me out of my thoughts. The next dive into a pool lower down is already waiting. The Via Spluga long-distance hiking trail is rich in cultural history of the area around the Splügen Pass. The pass has been a developed route from Thusis to Chiavenna since the Middle Ages. The 68 kilometres are split into four stages. The highest peak is the col of the Splügen Pass at 2,115 metres. The Viamala section (meaning bad path in Romansh) is especially impressive with the gorge of the same name. Info about the hike: Book the canyoning tour: TRAVEL Go with the flow The young Rhine little but roaring channels its way through the mountain world of the Swiss high Alps until it becomes a big and placid current in Basel: Cyclists along the Rhine route witness a river growing up. Text Markus Maier A birth is always a wonderful experience. Marvelling in astonishment, I witnessed the emergence of a young and wild alpine stream which became my partner for the next ten days. The start of a wonderful short-term relationship. The river is going to grow on our journey. At the moment, it has no idea of its commanding size and importance. It does not know about the songs people sing about it. It is still unspoilt and natural. I follow the Rhine from its source to Basel. The Rhine or rather the Vorderrhine (Anterior Rhine) as it is called here, trickles out of Lake Toma in the Saint-Gotthard Massif. It is vitally alive, throwing itself into the valley of the Sursela and I follow it. A swift tour. Until we meet its brother, the Hinterrhein (Posterior Rhine), in Chur, we experience a ride full of natural wonders: Soon, the young and intrepid Rhine digs itself deep into a mighty gorge. A long time ago, it was confronted by one of the biggest rockfalls in earth s history. But the young boy bit through. The reward was the creation of a breathtaking landscape the Ruinaulta the Grand Canyon of Switzerland. The masses of water roar with pride between steep cliffs and underneath daring bridges which I cross on my bicycle. In Chur, brotherly correction: The stormy whippersnapper mellows to become calmer waters. The path is more relaxing now. The river and I speed along the shiny white gravel banks. A lot of time to immerse the feet in the ice-cold water. The mountains fall back, the valleys become flatter. Finally, the Rhine spreads out into all directions: It pours into Lake Constance. In the almost Mediterranean climate, the first feelings of spring come to the fore. Nature is blossoming, a romance is about to happen: The water softly strokes Mainau, the lush island of flowers. It is only a short detour from Constance. In Constance, old monuments tell a history rich in traditions. Then, the Rhine again becomes quite defiant and rebellious. It throws itself down across a 150 metre wide cascade at Schaffhausen. You cannot finish adolescence more spectacular than that. I accompany the Rhine on my bicycle for a few kilometres through long stretches of conifer forests and medieval villages. In Basel, it is time to say goodbye. The Rhine has become a mature river. It feels as if I have grown with it too. The Rhine Route is the Swiss part of the Euro Velo Route 15 long-distance cycle route which follows the Rhine from the source to the mouth. The starting point is Andermatt and the destination after 430 kilometres and ten days is Basel. The first part especially until Chur is quite a challenge: From Andermatt, you gain 600 metres of altitude to the Oberalp Pass. However, you can easily overcome this hurdle with Veloverlad, the Rhaetian railway. You can also save 250 metres in height. More information: Photo swiss-image.ch Great end to a tour, perfect evening atmosphere in Basel. Soon, the young and intrepid Rhine digs itself deep into a mighty gorge. Swiss Mountain show in the stores win adventure and bikes In June, Switzerland is guest in Globetrotter stores in Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart. At that time, you can get to know more about outdoor experience in Switzerland. And at an interactive mountain show, there are three adventurous trips to Graubünden (Canton of Grisons) for two people to be won, five ultra-cool BMC bikes and equipment from Mammut and Victorinox. More details and information on
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