Sunday, June 14, 2009

Alpine Adventure Part 2

The hostel in Pontresina was pretty nice.  I had a 6-bed room to myself the first night and just one other girl the second night.  They provided a 3-course dinner and breakfast buffet with amazing hot chocolate.  I'm convinced the key to good hot chocolate is using real whole milk.  None of this powdered milk swiss miss/carnation crap.  It was right next to the train station too.

On Friday, I got up and caught an 8:09 train towards Poschiavo, a sleepy little Italian town just north of the border.  The train crosses the 
Bernina pass, which (I think) is the only above ground passage through the alps.  It was pretty cold and windy up there.  I took it all the way into the valley of Poschiavo, down a lot os switchbacks.  The town had a cute little square area with churches and cafes.  I walked up into the hills for a lake view and visited with some cows and horses.  With nice little cowbells.

View of Val Poschiavo from Alp Grum station
On the way back, I stopped at the station Alp Grum for an awesome view of Val Poschiavo and the nearby mountains.  From here, I walked up and over the pass.  The hike took me around a dammed lake at the pass and I ended up walking through a lot of snow.  My feet were very cold.
  Here's the part where I though I was going to fall into the lake.  I couldn't stop thinking of the large amount of melting snow above me either.  I was pretty terrified, but made it out alive.  After that traumatizing hour, I caught the train back to the hostel for the day.  

On Saturday, I had planned to hike up to the Monterasch glacier in the morning before breakfast and see the sunrise in the valley, but when I got up at 6, the sun was already out and I just went for a short walk in the woods.  There were good views of the mountains though, and the sun had not yet made it up over them, so the lighting was cool.
After a hearty breakfast with 3 hot chocolates, I took the train down to St. Moritz and wandered for a couple of hours.  The town hosted the olympics in 1948 and seems a lot like Vail.  Hoity toity and lots of fancy shops.  A lot of places weren't open, as the summer season hasn't started yet.  Plenty of chocolate stores though.  

I caught a train to Chur, the capital of the canton, and enjoyed the view over the 2-hour ride up and down through mountain valleys and along pretty gorges.  The old part of Chur was really cute and pretty expansive.  There was also some sort of kid's action fair going on in the main part of town.  Different areas had things for kids to play with like little hand-pumped railroad cars, various wheeled self-powered transportation contraptions, and good old-fashioned climbing apparatuses.  I was pretty tuckered by then, so I headed back to Zurich and Dubendorf for a quiet evening.  

My milk was going bad again, starting to taste like buttermilk, so I heated it up and put some lemon juice and herbs in, and voila, farmers cheese!  The whey was also really good, kind of like chicken broth, that I've been drinking that too.  Yeah it's a little weird.  

1 comment:

Ian Hanson said...

Hey Ali,

Sweet mountain views. I've got views of mountains here in Santiago, but with the contamination and smog it's often hard to even see the outline of the peaks.

Your way of dealing with milk going bad is certainly worthy of applause; I'm going to try that the next time my leche starts to go south.

Hope all is well,
Saludos y un abrazo de Chile.