2018 Day 55 – Swiss Alps & Glurns

Another glorious morning waking in the Swiss Alps. It’s hard to beat mountain air – fabulously invigorating, just cool enough to make you feel wide awake and alive. Whilst the days are balmy mid 20s Celcius, once the sun disappears, the temperature plummets overnight. It’s this chilled cleanliness that adds just the right note to mornings.

We’ve changed our minds a few times on where our travels will take us from here. On a long ago trip to Italy, we were just short of time to see the northern Italian mountains, the Dolomites. So it’s there the dice finally falls. At one stage the forecast threatened a fortnight’s rain: mountain roads + rain = me hugging my knees and rocking quietly in a corner, but luckily it seems to have passed, so off we go.

This means backtracking a short way along the Julier Pass, then through the Parc Naziunal Svizzer. No hardship, this, more glorious scenery awaits.

It’s surprisingly busy in the mountains, not only with a series of roadworks, but quite a bit of traffic. I think the proximity of St Moritz might have something to do with the extraordinary number of sports cars we see: Chris estimates several million euro’s worth pass our way in just a few hours. If you had a high performance car, these are the roads for it. Pity they’re all stuck in traffic*…. like we are.

Despite our new resolve to reach the Dolomites, crossing the Italian border just after lunch, our taste for long range driving wanes. A stop is needed, Chris deems, and quite randomly we pull up in the village of Glurns, in the very northern tip of Italy. But not before we had to drive through the city gate…via the oh so very tiny opening you see below. I remind you,we drive a 5 tonne behemoth. Fearless strikes, and scores, yet again.

A random stop it might be, but it’s quite an opportune one. Glurns turns out to be mere metres from our site, a mediaeval walled village, set alongside a river, amongst orchards and mountains, picturesque in the extreme.

Once we’re settled, we walk into the village only to find a festival in full swing. The festival of the fruit, I believe, in celebration of the forthcoming apple and pear harvest.

The main square is filled with people in nation dress, choirs performing on a rota and local restaurants offering local specialities.

It’s a real find, not focussed on tourism, but a region celebration of their livelihood and the seasonal transition. The choirs are in fine voice and I see the occasional tear being wiped from an eye.

We’ll explore properly tomorrow, but for now, there’s time to sit, enjoy the ambience, and of of course an apfel strudel. It would be rude not to, surely.

*Mountain version of stuck in traffic = waiting for roadworks lights to change….