Visitors wishing to see Graubünden through the eyes of Alois Carigiet will be surprised at the diversity of the canton.This content was published on August 28, 2002 - 10:36
The villages of Trun in the Surselva valley and Guarda in the Lower Engadine are must stops, as is well the cantonal capital, Chur.
There is no better way to see Trun than by making a day trip with the Rhaetian Railway from Chur. The railway journey takes just over an hour.
The train follows the course of the upper Rhine River and passes along a spectacular gorge known as the Swiss Grand Canyon.
A trip to Trun should include a walk along the main street to admire the Carigiet wall paintings on many of the buildings, a visit to the local museum with its Carigiet room, and a hike up to the hamlet of Flutginas where he spent his last years.
Heading east from Chur, the Rhaetian train takes about an hour and a half to reach Guarda.
The Lower Engadine village is well known in Switzerland for its well-preserved houses, decorated with frescoes known by their Romansh name "sgraffiti".
While making his sketches for "A Bell for Ursli", Carigiet stayed in the house in the main square belonging to the book's author, Selina Chönz.
Hikers can wander along Guarda's newly opened "Ursli" trail. It's an eight-kilometre walk through alpine meadows and along mountain streams.
A page of the book is revealed at each of the 20 stations with the text in Romansh - the original language - and German and English.
Even though Guarda has fewer than 200 inhabitants (among them a carpenter, potter, basket weaver and about a dozen farmers) it has accommodation for at least as many guests in its hotels, inns and apartments.
The best address is the tastefully renovated and decorated Hotel Meisser in the centre of the village. Built originally as a farmhouse more than 350 years ago, it was converted into a hotel in the late 19th century.
Picture perfect Engadine houses are not the reserve of Guarda. The nearby village of Ardez is also blessed and is not besieged by tourists.
The spa resort of Scuol boasts a number of admirably restored buildings as well.
Chur is an excellent base for exploring the whole region and also to get to know the art of Carigiet.
The hotel Stern in the old town has its own "Carigiet Room" with original oil paintings of the master hanging on the walls. Carigiet also designed the placemats for the restaurant, which even serves up a three-course "Carigiet" meal.
Many of the artist's works, including oil paintings, water colours, lithographs and prints can be viewed or purchased at the Crameri Gallery - also in Chur's old town.
The family Crameri was one of Carigiet's main dealers from the 1960s until his death in 1985.
by Dale Bechtel
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