A Swiss Getaway in Time and Place
There are so many regions in the relatively small country of Switzerland that I adore – the countless villages with their charming squares and ubiquitous fountains, the mountains with their views sometimes too picturesque to even seem real, the green rolling hills, the vineyards and the valleys. But I do have a favorite. The Engadin.
In southeast Switzerland, in the canton of Graubünden, you have all the classic Swiss stereotypes – those never-ending bright green slopes with grazing cows and their loud, hefty bells, breathtaking Swiss Alps capped with bright white snow all year round and quaint villages seemingly specializing in the art of stacking firewood. It’s a hiker’s paradise; the same for cyclists and nature enthusiasts. Not to mention engineers, with railways here that set the standards *high* for mountain travel. (The Engadin is also home to a UNESCO World heritage site, with the highest altitude transalpine railway in Europe).
With a family getaway and long weekend in Val Poschiavo, almost entirely surrounded by Italy, it felt like we had left Zürich far behind. We spent a day hiking around the Val die Campe, a mountain valley accessible only by foot, and a peaceful nature reserve known for its beautiful alpine meadows and crystal clear lakes. We followed the red and white striped hikers’ signs to the breathtaking Lago di Saoseo (those colors below, bottom right !). We took a cable car up to 3000m to take in views of the Bernina Massif, Piz Palü mountain range and Morteratsch Glacier. And we hopped out of the car to walk around sleepy villages, admiring the special etched sgraffito patterns on the facades of buildings and searching for an open bakery to taste a local specialty or two. We could easily have spent a few more weekends exploring the rich variety of landscapes and activities in the area.
Hiking and biking build up quite an appetite, and you sure do eat well in the Engadin too. The Graubünden is known for a handful of culinary specialties, including local faves, Bündner Gerstensuppe (barley soup) and air dried beef. When we had Pizzoccheri at La Rösa, the cooks told us we couldn’t possibly eat more local or hearty. The region’s famous buckwheat tagliatelle is cooked with potatoes, cabbage, cheese, cream and butter (they called it “la bomba” for a reason !). And that was only one of four courses ! Dishes were prepared in wood-fired ovens, using old recipes and served by candlelight.
That dinner was at the Stazione della Posta at La Rösa in Val Poschiavo. A 17th century post office and trading station on the Bernina Pass that has been brilliantly restored, respecting the original style with its period furniture and original details, yet offering travelers some modern comforts.
It was like staying in a friend’s home. Sharing meals and conversations at communal tables, coming to the breakfast table in pyjamas and talking about our plans for the day. Or simply talking about how delicious the breakfast was. La Rösa is all about agrotourism, and practically everything comes from their land and is made in house – the cheeses from their funny, friendly goats, eggs from their chickens, freshly baked breads with wheat and anise, elderberry syrup, honey and jams. A table spread inviting you to take seconds (and thirds), tall moka pots and mini cast iron pans to cook your own eggs. If it weren’t for the many natural wonders just outside waiting to be discovered, we might have stayed in that breakfast room all day long.
Last but not least, the bathroom ! And the star: a gorgeous centuries old copper bath tub that had also been used to make cheese. Sitting there, you could feel the warmth from the handsome wood-fired oven as you look out over the valley and hear only the sound of a nearby stream. The perfect end to a day of hiking with your family. This was the essence of the Stazione della Posta – slow down and reconnect with the simple pleasures in life. And that is exactly what we did.
Stazione della Posta / La Rösa
7742 La Rösa / Val Poschiavo
+41 81 832 60 51