Wednesday, July 20th ~ Pontresina, Switzerland
So, what is there to do in Pontresina? We were blessed with beautiful clear weather so taking a scenic hike was top of our wish list. I wanted something not too strenuous, but would show us some spectacular views. Both Rick Steves book and our hotel recommended the exact same hike fittingly called the Panorama.
But first I needed a good breakfast. The choices at our hotel (Allegra) were excellent, fresh and flavorful.
We put on our sunscreen, packed a small daypack that included snacks, water, hats, sunglasses and a windbreaker
To get to the start of the well marked trail, we first took the local bus (the stop is just a couple short blocks from our hotel). You can choose either bus #1 or #2 as they both will take you Punt Muragl (pronounced more-eye) to the base of the mountain where you will catch the funicular.
This little red tram has been taking passengers up to the viewing platform at 8105 feet since 1907.
The price for the bus, funicular and ski lifts was all included with the Engadin cards given to us at our hotel upon check in. The hotel collects a 10 CHF deposit per card which is refunded when you return the cards at check out.
Also at the top of the mountain is a pricey hotel (Alpine Hotel Muottas Muragl). I think if money was no object and I wanted to stay in a place with the most spectacular view on the planet, I would book a view room here!
How is THIS for a view?
The Panorama trail we chose says it will take about 2.5 hours to get from the tram stop to Alp Languard. From there you can either take the ski lift down the hill or hike down. The ski lift will drop you literally right behind our hotel. The trail is labeled PanoramaWeg or #2 on this map.
At approximately eight miles long, I took me five hours but that included me stopping every ten steps to take another picture, eating a picnic, taking my time, chatting with a couple people along the way, watching a helicopter make a high mountain rescue, sitting on a few well placed wooden benches to soak in the view and enjoy a cold beverage and WC break at Unterer Schafberg (about 2/3 of the way along the path).
OK, that’s my story and I’m sticking too it.
In reality the path is moderate with stones to step over or around, well marked, and mostly level with only a few uphill challenges. I’m just not as young as I used to be and in only average condition. We saw people ranging from young kids to seniors taking this walk.
It will go down in my memories as one of the best gifts I have ever given myself as the scenery along the way surpassed my greatest expectations.
But for anyone who is not up to a long walk/hike, you can at least take the tramway to the lookout platform to take in the stunning vista. Providing you have good weather, you won’t be disappointed I guarantee it!
There are also many longer, challenging hikes available for those looking for more…
The hills were covered with a wide variety of alpine flowers.
Here is a slide show covering some of the trail.
This is where we stopped at Unterer Schafberg for a refreshment and to simply soak in the view. I was envisioning my new home here…
The rest of the walk had a few uphill moments which I was not thrilled about, but well placed benches and taking my time certainly made it doable. I was put to shame by several youngsters who seemed to hop, skip and jump along the way. Oh, the youthful energy. How I wish I had appreciated it then.
We did however get some fabulous views of the Morteratsch Glacier on the last part of the trail.
Another young woman (perhaps in her 20’s?) came running toward us from the other direction along the trail and soon disappeared off in the distance. I muttered a few names under my breath that might have included showoff, youngster, athlete. About an hour later she came running past us again the opposite direction. Not sure how far she went on the trail, or if she looped us, but whatever, the names I called her that time were not nearly as flattering, LOL 🙂
Finally we reached Alp Languard. Of course after making it eight miles, taking the ski lift down was my first choice. Just as we swooped over the edge, my hat flew off my head to the ground way below us.
Now normally that would not have been a big deal. Frustrating yes, but not heartbreaking. But this time I was truly disappointed to loose it. It was my black ball cap that say “Writer” on the front of it. I have worn that cap and had my picture taken wearing it around the world.
When we made it to the bottom, I mentioned loosing my hat to one of the gentlemen who had assisted us off the chair lift. He radioed the top, and said that my hat would be down in 15 minutes.
How is that for awesome service???
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for being able to witness spectacular views that went on FOREVER in each direction I looked. I am also very grateful that due to another act of human kindness I have been reunited with my longtime cherished “writer” hat.