Escape! Asia - - Cover Story -

The hal­cyon days of the early 1900s can be re-lived at Ho­tel Capri­corns (Swiss Lodge). Sit­u­ated in Val Schons at an al­ti­tude of 1,489m, the ho­tel pro­vides the best view over the Graubün­den moun­tain range with an au­then­tic and Ar­ca­dian touch. The build­ing struc­ture has re­mained as it has been since the 1930s and the only ma­jor change since is an in­clu­sion of re­new­able en­ergy in 2011. In­dulge your­self within this Swiss ho­tel and en­joy a good rest within the wood­fur­nished and nos­tal­gic-themed rooms. Re­gional dishes are pre­pared here and bi­cy­cle rentals are also avail­able upon re­quest. Life is full of ups and downs – es­pe­cially so at Via­mala, a route within the Natur­park Bev­erin in the heart of the Graubün­den can­ton. But here, the ups and downs are sim­ply mag­i­cal. A 20-minute car ride north of Casti­w­er­gen­stein will bring you to the Via­mala Gorge, an im­pres­sive nat­u­ral mon­u­ment with up to 300m-high rock faces, which, at their nar­row­est spot, are only a few me­tres apart. Carved through the mas­sive cliffs thou­sands of years ago by glacial ice and the wa­ters of the Rhine (Hin­ter­hein), the Via­mala Canyon still con­tains liv­ing ev­i­dence of its fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory to dis­cover to­day.

As we walked along the Via­mala Route 13 to­wards the famed Wildener Brücke (Wilderner Bridge), our eyes catch sight of wooden fig­ures of Ro­man stat­ues placed within gaps at the top of a cliff. That was the treach­er­ous path used 2,000 years ago by the Ro­mans to move from Italy to South Ger­many. The sur­round­ings might be an ex­quis­ite sight but it was a wild and life-threat­en­ing jour­ney for the trav­ellers that once walked this path. Stand­ing on the bridge, the first thing you’ll be able to spot is the zigzag­ging 359-step stair­way lead­ing down to the heart of the gorge from the vis­i­tor cen­ter. At the end of it, there is a rock gallery that show­cases lime­stone, quartz and slate that make up these noble walls and rugged canyon.

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