Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Our recent trip into Val Maggia this weekend reminded me how we never got around to visiting Spluga, a little community of old stone cottages in the Giumaglio valley where we once planned to stop overnight during a long hike.

The Swiss love to hike (or steadily plod, as "Hiking the Swiss Way" explains). The entire country is a network of well-marked trails, so it's quite easy to have a lovely excursion wherever you may travel. High in the mountains you can all kinds of small cabins at which you can stop, sleep, and eat. At least in Ticino, these capanne (huts) are beautiful old stone houses, with just enough accommodation so that you can sleep and have a meal indoors before continuing on your next leg. If you're lucky someone's nonna will be cooking you some polenta, but that's not very common.

When I retire for real, I'd like to return to Ticino and find my own stone house (though preferably the kind that has been finished inside with modern Swiss ├╝ber-quality), perhaps in a village needing an eccentric expat to nonna some street urchins and tame the local cats. If you saw these sweet little villages nestled into these magical, foresty valleys, you'd be planning this, too. Only Swiss Mr. seems immune to the siren call of these towns: these are solo retirement plans. I find it best not to think of the details of how this will work. No need to be overly practical when making dreamy life plans, anyway.

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