Friday, August 28, 2009

Goodbye and Aufwiedersehn "Im Langsi"

Gardens in Switzerland

I loved how the garden above blended flamboyant cultivars with vegetables and even compost in the wooden lined raised beds.
The garden below was an abstracted alpine garden with cultivars of alpine plants and even a little constructed grotto with stalactites in the bottom left.

The garden above very well complemented the traditional architecture.
The gardens below in Vals were classic, surrounded by the gard-en fence: the word for garden comes from roots words of guarding and means with a fence. In the image immediately below note the kohlrabi and cabbages. This was the front yard plot.
This garden, also in Vals, relied more on ornamentals.

Lovely Alpine Plants: Rock to Soil

Alpine Plants Grow Low

Arnica, above, and Wool Grass, below.

A dwarf Rhododendron, above, and the two plants below show low-growing forms to conserve heat. The last picture is of Helianthemum or Rock Rose.

The Laenta Glacier is Shrinking

Furgelti Pass and Down to the Laenta Valley

The broad granite dome of Furgelti Pass stands at 2,712 meters. The west side drops off sharply to the Laenta Valley.

Approaching the Zervreila Horn

The distinctive Zervreila Horn is used on advertising for the town of Vals and the bottled water. This series of pictures is intended to represent the experience of hiking for several hours around this beautiful granite peak. Note how it changes form as one approaches and sees it from different angles. The first four shots are all of Zervreila Horn.

The photo below shows Alan ascending the Furgelti Pass next to Zervreila Horn.

Hiking Up the Valser Valley Above Vals

The town of Vals is at about 1,200 meters. We kept on hiking to the dammed lake above the town at 1,800 meters, see above. The misty forest path was somewhat steep but very beautiful.

Valser Tal - The Vals Valley

Reputedly, this remote valley was settled by displaced Celts from Valais Canton in the 12th Century. They brought with them a distinctive building style of dispersed huts built totally of stone. The present day community is much larger, but the dispersed huts remain, see below, and roofs are almost entirely made of stone.
Local stone is so beautiful and so common it is even used as fencing, see below.

Vals has the Therme thermal baths and a large mineral water bottling plant.

Peter Zumthor Chapel in Sumvitg

The Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has designed many buildings around the Rhine Valley in Graubunden Kanton. We were alerted to the small chapel of St Benedig, above the town of Sumvitg in the Vorder Rhine Valley. We hiked up from the train station and were impressed with the stark beauty of the design, which echoed in some ways the old ruins of the ancient chapel nearby. It was striking to have such a simple, enclosed arc sited in such a beautiful exterior landscape.

We went from Sumvitg to the nearby town of Vals, where Peter Zumthor designed a thermal bath complex. The Therme Vals was a lovely experience, but photography was not allowed. You can, however, look it up on the internet.

Hike West from Campo Blenio to Lukmanier

The hike west toward the Lukmanier/Lucomagno Pass was over a long valley full of glacial moraine. See the hummocky topography above in the morning light.

Below is the dawn view from the Capanna Bovarina alpine hut, looking east.

Twilight, below, at the hut with Tibetan prayer flags.

The path, above, from Lake Luzzone to Campo Blenio is very steep and old. The town of Campo Blenio sits on the Brenno River in Ticino, below the Dam on Lake Luzzone, below.