The sun is setting behind the western wall of mountains in the Engadin Valley, making silver patches on the Silsersee lake, one of four lakes that stretch out along the Inn River as it flows through this area of the Swiss Alps. Yesterday we hiked up the eastern ridge along the shoulder of Mt. Bernina, the highest peak in this area, getting wonderful views of the Bernina Glacier. The first 2,000 feet of the trip was in a funicular (a cable tram that goes up steep inclines), then we climbed another 1200 feet and hiked across the open mountains at an elevation of 7,500 feet. We passed the Segantini hut (a hut used by the Italian landscape painter Segantini) with a cafe terrace serving hot and cold drinks and food. A chairlift carried us back down after 8 miles of hiking, a fantastically fun way to end a glorious hike.
Today we headed south into the Bregaglia Vally, traveling through the town of Maloja at the top of the Engadin, where the elevation drops 2,000 feet. The buses that shuttle hikers up and down the valleys deftly handle the long series of hairpin turns (and I mean truly hairpin) of the road. The bus rides into and out of the Bregaglia, like the funicular and chair lift yesterday, were a great way to book end another incredible hike, that included walking through several villages hugging the sides of the narrower Bregaglia Valley, like Soglio, brimming with the charm of old stone houses and narrow cobbled walkways. In Castasegna, on the Italian border, we walked into Italy and had espresso at a small cafe, enormous mountains surrounding us.
It’s a good thing we’re hiking so much, given how much rich and delicious food we’re eating staying at the Waldhaus Sils, a grand and historic hotel in Sils Marie. But that’s another whole post, so stay tuned.