Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

After our lovely interlude in St Moritz (see here) we rejoined our coach for the return journey to Menaggio. Having arrived in the Engadine Valley via the stunning Bernina Pass, we travelled back towards the Italian border on the south west route via the Maloja Pass. We’d never been this way before and it was one of the reasons we chose to do the guided day trip from Menaggio. I was also very glad that we had the luxury of being driven as we could admire the gorgeous scenery and not have to worry about driving off the road at a hairpin bend!

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The Alps In The Upper Engadine Valley

 

We drove past pretty villages, Silvaplana and Sils/Segl Maria both nestling by shimmering alpine lakes with many attractions if you’re looking for an alternative to St Moritz. Sils is especially known as a tranquil paradise and a place in which to recharge your batteries. It has always appealed to artists and writers – Nietzsche was drawn to the area and the Nietzschse House in Sils is a popular tourist attraction. The guest list of the Waldhaus Hotel reads like a Who’s Who – David Bowie, Marc Chagall, Albert Einstein and Richard Strauss among many others have all stayed here. The artist Giovanni Segantini (his story is well worth a read) spent his final five years here and the Segantini Museum in St Moritz is dedicated to his work. It’s not too difficult to see why this area has given inspiration to so many artists and literary figures!

 

 

Leaving Sils behind we approached the head of the impressive Maloja Pass. I’m not sure whether it’s better to be driving up or down – either way even in the capable hands of our experienced coach driver, Hermes, I confess to feeling a tad apprehensive. 1815 m at its top elevation, the Maloja links the Engadine Valley with the Italian speaking Val Bregaglia (still in Switzerland though). The Maloja Pass is an essential route through the Alps and as a Swiss Post Bus route (St Moritz to Chiavenna in North Italy),  it is a priority to keep it open all year round even in midwinter.

 

 

Safely reaching the bottom of the pass, we drove on through the gorgeous Val Bregaglia (das Bergell in German) another slice of paradise! Beautiful and remote, it has numerous mountain trails and walking paths and was also known as the “Artists Valley” as so many artists, drawn by its tranquillity and beauty, came to paint and live here. Segantini spent time here and the artist Alberto Giacometti was born here. Alas the little village of Vicosoprano has, according to our guide Julia, had an unfortunate past. She pointed out the court house with a round roof, the Pretorio built in 1583, which was the setting for some infamous witch trials in the late 17th century. Fortunately she spared us the details but there was a slightly eerie feeling driving through the village. The surrounding scenery however was wonderful!

 

 

Although not on any rail links, the Bregaglia is serviced regularly by the Swiss Post Buses that ply the Maloja route. We have used them ourselves on a previous trip (via the San Bernardino Pass from Thusis to Bellinzona) and they are a fun and interesting way to travel plus like everything else in Switzerland highly reliable!

Before we knew it we’d reached the Swiss/Italian border at Castasegna just a few kilometres from Chiavenna, our last stop of the day – more about that next week!

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

 

 

19 thoughts on “En Route To Chiavenna Via The Maloja Pass

  1. Those hairpin bends Rosemary – wow – nail biting stuff and I definitely would not want to be driving!! Imagine too in the middle of winter what it must be like – I don’t think I would be too keen on doing it then. More stunning scenery, seems like the views the whole journey were just incredible.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes it was such a steep drop down to the valley Joy! We were happy to reach the bottom safely – incredible how those roads were built! I think in the middle of winter you’d need snow chains and I’ve no idea how to fix those to the wheels of a car! The Swiss Post buses are a great alternative to driving and seem to go to the most remote little places! We were lucky to be able to do this on a guided day trip – the journey was spectacular to say the least and we had an amazing day out! Still got another post on Chiavenna to come – it’s the most beautiful little town nestling high up in the hills near the border with Switzerland and proved to be a real gem! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Looking forward to that Rosemary!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. RuthsArc says:

    I delay reading your posts, Rosemary, until I can sit with a cup of tea. Thanks for another gem of a trip, blessed with blue skies. I certainly wouldn’t want to drive that road myself!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Ruth! Am so glad you have a cuppa and read my posts – that’s lovely to hear! I like doing the same – getting a cuppa and doing blog reading. I especially loved your Melbourne and Great Ocean Road series as it brought back such happy memories of our own time there! As you can see we really love the Alps and the valleys in the Swiss/Italian border region are simply spectacular. It was a lovely day – very cold but with clear blue skies! Yes definitely driving that road would not be for me either. The Swiss Post Buses go up and down those roads all the time and are a great alternative if you don’t want to do an organised day trip – we have used them before and gone to some really remote little valleys that I’d never heard of before!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RuthsArc says:

        The Swiss Post Buses sound like a great idea. I’ve made a note for when we get back to Switzerland 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes they are a really good alternative to driving and for places not on the train routes 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Such beautiful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cynthia – it was a beautiful trip to a wonderful place! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It is good when public transport are really reliable. I can’t complain and I think in the uk it’s pretty good compared to Belgium 😀 Train and buses are cancelled all the time and there is always some strike going on for stupid reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Swiss transport system is amazing Gin makes it so easy to get around. Getting a Swiss Pass is essential if you’re travelling there for a bit as you get good value for money!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. restlessjo says:

    All that gorgeous blue and white, with just a smidgeon of green, Rosemay! Fabulous 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The colours were so clear and brilliant that day Jo – we were very lucky! It’s a stunning part of the world – always feel so relaxed there when I’m lucky enough to be there! 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I defer perusing your posts, Rosemary, until I can sit with some tea. Much obliged for another pearl of an outing, favored with blue skies. I surely wouldn’t have any desire to drive that street myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Am glad you enjoy my blog – it really is a wonderful part of the world but yes definitely would be a little apprehensive driving on those mountain roads!

      Like

  7. ledrakenoir says:

    Amazing views, wonderful colors too – excellent inspiration… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Drake! It’s certainly an inspiring place 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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