The Homeland of Schellen-Ursli.
Mountain Village Guarda
Guarda? Guarda in the rhaeto-romansh language Vallader means something like «look» or «see». The name of the village in Lower Engadin is appropriate – not many places can offer a panorama like this. Guarda has the fortune of being built on a sunny terrace 300 metres above the valley of the river Inn. That is why the inhabitants can look down smugly on «them down there» who have to hold out in the winter shadows for that little bit longer.
If it wasn’t for a tractor driving through the narrow streets of Guarda, you would easily think you had stepped back in time. In 1945 when Selina Chönz wrote the story of Schellen-Ursli, for the illustration of the children’s book Alois Carigiet chose house number 51 as Schellen-Ursli’s parents’ house. Its heavy larch-wood door is probably one of the best known doors in Switzerland.
The people of Guarda are said to be particularly hospitable and take a lot of pride in their village. It is because of this that Guarda was elected as one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland. As well as being awarded the coveted Wakker-Prize in 1975. The later was awarded in recognition of the care and the preservation of the village.
There they are again, the boys of Guarda on 1st March. It is Chalandamarz, an old custom in which the winter is gleefully driven away. The three actors are giving everything to keep coaxing uninterrupted loud clangs from their «plumpa», the biggest cow bells. For the younger participants just a «talac», a small, flat cow bell is enough for now. They just have to be shaken harder so that winter can be cleared out.