|The Val Calanca|
The Val Calanca lies in the Graubünden Canton just near the Leopotine Alps. Its main villages include Rossa, Cauco, Selma, Arvigo, Buseno, and Santa Maria. While the Graubünden area of Switzerland boasts of some of the most virginal forest in all of Switzerland, the Val Calanca seems to be a very well kept secret. Nothing like the touristy kitsch of many of the other alpine towns seems to exist here and these villages look quite a bit like they might have 100 years ago featuring stone slate rooftops, white chapels with frescoes decorating the outside, randomly roaming goat herds and curiously friendly Italian-speaking locals. To give you an idea of just how isolated these villages are, the closest village to our little hut was Cauco which only has a population of 35 residents, most of which are above the age of 70. Many of the area’s historic buildings are only accessible by foot or old-timey cable car. I’m still not sure if I took a regular Post bus or a time machine.
I would never have thought of looking for a Ferienhaus in which to spend four days of the Christmas holiday. Even this Colorado girl doesn’t really do winter camping. If you ask Nick, my butt freezes solid in November and doesn’t thaw until April. We’re talking permafrost. However, my friend Sasha has the uncanny ability to find the most unique travel deals. She’s a travel wunderkind and certainly worked her planning magic when she found our adorable Cà da l’ Ava (“Grandmother’s House” in the local dialect) for just about 30 CHF per day, per person after wood and kerosene costs. I call it “ours” because at the end of our adventure, we questioned briefly if anyone staying there after us would love it like we did. We decided that it was impossible.
The advertisement for this rental is one of the funniest I have ever read and I suspect that after meeting the caretaker, Herr Sergio Menzi, he must be responsible for listing “chopping wood” and “chores” as fun, leisure time activities. Sergio spends the summers teaching a nature camp for kids and the winter visiting and making candles for the elderly members of the villages. All laughing aside, there is something very rewarding about spending the 4 hours of daylight (sunrise at 10:30 and sunset at 2:30) fetching water, prepping for the evening meal, sorting wood and tending the fire, and exploring the surrounding hillside before having to rely on the dim but cozy light of candles and a few petrol lamps.
|Spoiled goat waits for breakfast|
|Mr. Murderface Bingam|