Two Jewels in the Crown of South Graubünden.
Val Mesolcina and the Calanca Valley
Ligurian immigrants settled in the Calanca valley as long ago as 3,000 years. They cultivated the steep, rocky mountainsides. Their descendants formed village communities in the Middle Ages. They gave their hamlets and villages stone roofs and meaningful names, such as: Arvigo, Landarenca, Cavaione – and the Alp right at the end of the 27 kilometre long valley is called Alögna.
«Bun di!» The Italian dialect is still preserved here. In the heat here no-one works in a shirt. A well-sharpened scythe is a must to get the job done in time for a cool break in the shade. On the 11th August 2003 it was too hot to mow at all. The next day it was reported in the «Voce del San Bernardino» that the 41.5 degrees measured in Grono, was one of the hottest ever recorded in Switzerland. «Incredible! Just like Africa!»
What are you looking at? Never seen sheep grazing before? We are members of the WAS family. That stands for «White Alpine Sheep». We spend the summers high up above the Valle Mesolcina. In the nights it gets cool but then nature has given us a thick jumper. As you see, we are curious when hikers cross our paths, They, like us, have also discovered that beyond the forest boundaries there is plentiful flora to be seen.
Feet tired from a long day at work or a day spent hiking. Perhaps a busy day was spent on the rocky slopes, or discovering the charm of Mesolcina from the pass height of the San Bernadino down to the main town of Mesocco. A hike at five and a half hours, with a height gain of 1,265 metres – it’s no wonder all those shoes need to be aired!
My word! What a storm that was last night. The last mist is gradually clearing. Now the holidaymakers just have to agree what they are going to do. Sandra would like to go for a walk. Peter wants something more adventurous and wants to try out the high rope course in San Bernardino. The children are thinking of even more exciting things. You can spend the beautiful summer days together building stone dams and little stone men at Sta. Domenica in the stony area on the bank of the Calancasca valley river.