Advance party in Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera

…and Svizra! To add Romansh.

We’re here, first Geneva, then Ruschein, and for more than a week by now. Thought to be sleeping in accordance with local time keeping customs …think again! Very hesitant adaptation. However, there are better things to tell.

The Foppa, the basin of Ilanz/Glion has some villages in the valley bottom on either side of the Rhine river or Rein Anteriur. And then there is this upper level circle of villages on terraces to the north, the south-east and the south-west. The southern group is divided by the Glenner/Glogn river from Lumnezia/Lugnez & Valser Tal/Val Sogn Peider which meats the Rhine at Ilanz/Glion.

At first a 3D Apple Maps image looking south:


Just a few steps out of the village in an eastward direction, i.e. as the Rhine flows here there are good views down river toward the ruinaulta gorge and Chur beyond, across the river with Ilanz/Glion and into the Val LUmnezia or (German) Lugnez, and finally also up river with the village and 3000m peaks on the north side of the valley of the Anterior Rhine.

Doing the rounds in the village there are several stately double houses, interlocking saw-log constructions from the mid-18th century. Often they bear decorative inscriptions in praise of patriotism, the land and the heavenly lord because the earthly ones were put in their places 500 and more years ago. Ruschein in the Surselva region belonged to the Grey League amongst the united Three Leagues (lasted into the days of Napoleon and a fundamental reordering of Europe).

A short walk which begins right near our place, Casa Martin, leads up to the Crest da Ruschein, a cliffy ridge with the village church of St. George at the eastern end right above parts of the village and a good view of most of Ruschein. Then on the highest point the remnants of a strong house of regional high aristocracy from the 13th century, the Lords of Frauenberg, Heinrich II, the last, a minstrel too, and politically siding with the wrong party in the fight for the imperial crown for Albrecht of Habsburg won, although he didn’t enjoy his rule for long before being murdered by relatives (a quarrel about inheritance).

Longer walks lead above the village and ultimately to hay meadows and alpine pasture. Of course, there are more enticing vistas in most every direction, the one up river into the Cadi toward the west offering great later afternoon and evening lighting which marks the entrances of many side valleys toward Disentis.

Before leaving YVR for GVA

We had a great stay in Kitsilano! Walked from W 15th all the way along Blenheim to the beach and onward to Granville Island. Took some panoramas with the phone.

And then the morning before heading to the airport we visited the Nitobe Garden on UBC grounds. A very soothing place and exceptionally quiet. It is located next to the Asian Studies centre, an attractive building surrounded by trees yet a bit taller than the building itself. It’s covered by a massive roof.

Nitobe garden is garded by a modest wall, lightly built, more house wall than some defensive structure. It separates the wild forest from the tended garden and its pathwork.

Thanks to the gracious hosts in Kits!

Then in the later afternoon of July 4 we took off for AMS (over night) and a day time continuation to GVA where Franziska came to fetch the travellers, weary as ususal. We settled right in at Claudio’s and it almost feels like our umtieth flat among the many places we have ‘settlment rights’. While in Geneva we took in a Ferdinand Hodler exhibit at Musée Rath. By Sunday, July 8, we made it to Ruschein.



Spring has gone and summer brings travel

During spring we made it to the coast, once by car, once myself with the Greyhound and that latter leaves one with the impression of an endangered species. Less endangerd the blue herons in Chilliwack with their bald eagle watchman.

The eagle will snatch the odd heron chick but the eagle will also keep other predators at bay. Maybe save the racoons as they might try at night. So, the scene below is quite a usual one at Chilliwack’s Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve.

Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, Chilliwack
Chilliwack, Heron; pp PhtsDXOontensDT49

Going to the ‘old country’ come July. And it’s gonna be a long ride on some wings. Wings with some more carrying capacity than these beauties here offer near Woodbury Resort between Balfour and Kaslo.

We will leave early (to shake jet-lag) while the ‘youngons’ arrive mid-July in Schweiz. Then follow four weeks of visits and vistas, train rides galore, and by mid-August (for us late August) we’re all home again to enjoy the rest of the summer. And smoke free is what I have underlined on my wish list. So, drop by again, I try my best to report from this family visit with famiies abroad.

Feldis and the hights above it

Those hights extend behind the Mutta da Veulden, the Feldis hill and offer extensive hikes at all times of year, snowshoe trails in winter as well as skitrails and down hill skiing to the village of Feldis or Veulden in Romansh, nowadays spoken by but few elder inhabitants.

To reach Feldis there is the very attractive version of a small cable car (14 pax) as well as a very winding road. The cable car cross the Rein posteriur and runs for 2.3 km, more than half steep and without a support pylon before reaching the other side of the narrow entrance into the Domleschg valley at Rhäzüns.

After crossing the village its a few 100 meters more to the base station of the chairlift that ends at the very top of the Mutta da Veulden. (Yes, there’s a shuttle too, but a 15 minute walk is all that’s needed.)

There are two restaurants/ski huts nearby and lots of undulating terrain with small hillocks and scattered stands of firs and krumholz. Views extend in all directions and I pile a lot of pictures into the blog from Saturday, February 24 as well as some from the village taken at an earlier occasion in February 2012.

Views taken about 1.5 km beyond the upper chairlift terminal and stitched together to a panorama from Piz Beverin (south, the dark pyramid) to the west with the Cadeina dil Signina (which seen from the other side is the sominant vista from Ruschein) and on to the NW and Ringelspitz, the highest peak at the right.


A snowshoe trail leads between to hillocks to a low spot beneath the Dreibündenstein mountains while the winter foot path rounds the hillocks and makes for a one to one and a half hour hike. A 5 or 15 minute hike connects two mountain inns and the chairlift terminal.

But instead of going to Feldiser Skihütte still well frequented for lunch, I head back to the chairlift and down to Feldis. There is Mira Tödi restaurant with a deck and a phantastic view plus strudel & cappuccino.

Another rail ride up the Rhône and across passes to the Rhine

Once deep in Vallais Canton like in its capital city of Sion, the Grisons are a long way around the north slope of the Alps. It’s shorter to head up the Rhone to Brig and into the upper most Vallais (German speaking), then thru the Furka tunnel into Urseren valley and from there over Oberalp pass offering marvelous views back down to Andermatt and west ward to the Furka region.

More winter visits


Significant others happen to live in the French speaking parts of Switzerland, la Romandie. Family visits give also opportunities to look a bit more closely at the places where they live.

Lausanne, for instance, has a marvelous cathedral, a sample of Burgundian Gothic. Not as soaringly tall as the dome of Cologne, nor as bright and spacious as Notre Dame in Paris but of a singular coherence stylistically. There are concepts and elements  linking the building with Anglo-Norman cathedrals. Maybe the counts of Neuchâtel had not only one of theirs, Bishop Grandisson (Grandson line of the counts), serve in Exceter, but prior connections which worked also the other way round.

More than half of the long house and all of the transept was constructed in the span of 25 years. With little stylistic change the remaining parts of the western nave and entrance were built in the subsequent 20 years. By 1235 the building stood and largely as it stands before us these days.

Stained glass and carved stalls make it excel amongst Swiss cathedrals too.

Lausanne is a city built on a slope with a southern exposition above lake of Geneva or lac Léman and old parts of the city occupy several hills protruding from that slope. Nowadays severl large bridges link these distinct parts. Makes for at first a confusing walk but always entertaining, be it the paver stones squares, fountains, façades or shop windows. And to reach the lake one can hop on a métro or walk ontop or next to the line straight down to Ouchy.