Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Indie Travel Challenge, week 4: Winter Getaways

It's week number 4 of the Indie Travel Challenge, and I have to say that this week's topic couldn't be more appopriate. The good folks at Boots'n'all want us to talk about our dream winter destinations. You can see the prompt here.

Saturday night I cam back from a 3 day mini vacation to Leukerbad, in the Valais canton in Switzerland. It was one of my 2012 travel resolutions to see more of the country I live in and going on this trip showed me how much I had ben missing. Switzerland is tiny, but is also very diverse in landscape, language, culture and food. In Tessin, where I live, we have a fiarly mild climate, everyone speaks Italian and things aren't as organized and rigis as one might think. Only two hours away, though, Leukerbad folks speak French and German, the cuisine is definitely not ass-friendly and the Alps, which I see from a distance here on lake Lugano, are so close and beautiful, they take your breath away.
I traveled there by train -total travel time 4 hours and 20 minutes- and was definitely happy not to have to deal with having a car there. It's not a car friendly village, unless you have a 4x4 with snow tires. I was greeted by a gorgeous blue ski and 29°F, perfect weather for a little exploring and working up an appetite. You can see my rendition of rösti, the Valais "national" dish, here.

View from the Alpentherme pools
After lunch it was thermal baths time. Leukerbad is famous for its hot springs and, even more, for the amazing Alpentherme, a complex that features indoors and outdoors hot water pools, saunas, steam baths and everything else your heart might desire. I went there both on Thursday and on Friday, after skiing which was heavenly. The best part? The 100°F outddors pool you can reach from inside, with a view of the Alps and massage jets. A 5 hour pass that includes access to all areas of the complex is 39 CHF, about 45 dollars. a little steep, but worth every penny. 
 Leukerbad also rocks because of its beautiful ski slopes. I spent Friday skiing at the Torrent station, at about 8900 feet. The weather, again, was wonderful, so skiing was even more enjoyable. Not to mention how enjoyable it was to stop at a bar at 8000 feet and drink a cold beer on the terrace, with my face in the sun.

I was lucky enough to see an abundant snowfall on Friday night, after I was done skiing. And Saturday morning, it was still snowing as I woke up. I lingered in bed, under the comforter, watching the snow fall out of the window. It was quiet and peaceful and beautiful, all at the same time. It reminded me of similar mornings back in the 90s, when my parents still had an apartement in Val Gardena, in the Italian Alps. It's alwasy nice to time travel while you are traveling. It made me feel like an 8th grader again, wishing the weather would turn so bad it would keep me from going back home.

Too bad it didn't happen. Not then, not now.


  1. love your space...nice presentation with great posts..
    Am your happy follower now..;)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  2. Your photos are all terrific, but the first one in particular is amazing. What a gorgeous country! Sounds like you had a wonderful mini-holiday.

  3. Ah, gorgepus Switzerland! Lovely post.



  4. Your photos are incredible! It sounds like a wonderfully relaxing vacation.

  5. You just gotta love a place where the food is not ass-friendly. Keep on traveling!

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