This winter season has not been rich in snow and at the time when we had some Ola was too little to even move on her own so she hasn’t really checked what that white thing is. So when we first heared about the opportunity of going on the trip to the Alps we started wondering what she would do with the snow – something totaly new for her. What would she do, will she be surprised, will she like it or not? We packed our winter clothes and looked forward to the trip to white slopes of the Alps.
About previous steps in our trip you have already read. Last part of the journey we started in Bergamo where we found out that in the middle of April there is already summer in Italy. Maybe not that true Italian summer but that way over 20 degrees was for us more than enugh to call that weather summer. It was hot, everything was flooded with sun, trees were green – it was hard to believe that soon we will be using winter suits we were carrying in our backpack.
Before arriving to the mecca of skiers and snowborders from all over Europe – Livigno we visited a small town Bormio, charmingly loated in the Valtellina valley. After long journey it was the pleasure to take a walk through that little town. We did it quite quickly and sat down in a bar on the corner to try some Italian cuisine (in fact to feed already hungry Ola). The town is a bustling ski resort in the season. In low season it tries to entice tourists with walking mountain paths and cycling routes. We got interested in another local attraction – the terms. However we weren’t lucky enough to use them – they were of course closed. Thus sulphur baths in Tbilisi remain our favourite hot springs.
Finally we reached famous Livigno. It is as picturesquely located in the valley as Bormio but it seems to be more popular among skiers. It is actually visible on the town streets. Livigno was still full of skiers and snowboarderers wandering its streets with ski equipment untill very late. In the middle of April the town and the slopes are still full of people, no wonder since as the eye can see all snow-capped peaks are well arranged for the skiers. While there are pretty good skiing conditions up there, in the town it is quite nice and warm. Short sleeve or a sweatshirt will do.
When we decided to take Ola up there we faced quite a choice of lifts, from chairlifts to gondolas. Of course we took the one going the highest – almost to 3000 meters. Let me only remind that mom and dad are affraid of heights. Ola was the one who had the most fun out of three of us. The heights did not hold her back from jumping from one side of our gondola to the other making it swing of course. The weather wasn’t nice and sunny like the other days so when we got to the top we were in the clouds and barely could see anything, including the height. After leaving gondola Ola right away got on the snow. She must have liked it, she was runing and playing on the snow with obvious pleasure. We barely could distinguish her from the snow in her white spacesuit. We were even able to fit her stroller in gondola but it was totaly useless up there.
Ola of course wasn’t the only little kid in Livigno. We found lots of skiers with little ones there, much younger than Ola. However we haven’t seen any infrastructure for them. Another thing is with bigger kids – they must be happy having that much snow and skis. Slopes are full of little kinds learning to ski. Even younger than we expected.
Besides skiing the town offers a lot of entertainment from Après-ski, through Italian pizzerias, to open till late night pubs. What is more, Livigno is a duty free zone, so tired of skiing people willingly check up the stores for branded goods in competitive prices. The town itself we would say is quite nice and if you like skiing, you can really choose it for your winter holidays.
Livigno is located near Swiss ski resorts so we decided to take a trip also there. The only road from Livigno to Switzerland goes through one lane Munt la Schera tunnel, so before leaving it’s advisable to check traffic regulations for that particular day. Really close, because only 60 kilometers away, is Davos – one of most exclusive resorts of Switzerland and the highest town in Europe. Besides winter sports, it is famous for annual meetings of World Economic Forum. To be honest they haven’t chosen the easiest accessible place in the world. At many times of the year some roads to the valley are closed due to avalanch danger.
But Forum participants are not bothered by this location at all since majority of them arrive there by air. For one of last meetings 1700 private planes arrived and 2200 people attended the meeting. Regular anti-globalisation demonstrations result only in higher and higher spendings on security. In addition to huge number of ski slopes, which must be sensational, there are also other attractions. In Davos one can get familiar with couple places of Swiss heritage. We did’t get attracted by them so we moved on quite quickly.
The thing we want to tell you about is the way that Swiss have to cover part of the disctance from Livigno to Davos. It’s a railway tunnel Vereina. It’s a tunnel for passengers and car transportation. The thing is that cars are loaded on the train and whoe distance they cover by train. It takes 15 minutes are they are delivered on the other side of the mountain. After some time you can even get used to such ride but at the begining the driver connot help that strange feeling. Mountain tunnels are a common thing in Alpine countries, especially in Switzerland. They are currently building the tunnel which when completed will be the longest railway tunnel in the world – 57 kilometers long Gotthard Base Tunnel. Each such construction is a great technical achievement which of course is reflected in the price of such trip. Those 19 kilometers of Vereina Tunnel cost 38 euro one way. Loading and unloading is easy and goes really quickly, see for yourself:
It’s not the end of our trip to the Alps yet. Next stage of our journey is Liechtenstein, in fact a Ptincipality of Liechtenstein – a little country (160 square kilometers) in the mountains stuck between Switzerland and Austria. Read about it in our next post.