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Friday, July 28, 2006

Klosters Is A Great Place For A Family Adventure Travel Vacation

An alpine wonderland full of fun and adventure. Hiking across high alp meadows, picnics by emerald lakes, a thrilling bike ride down the mountain, and sleeping in a mountain house are just some of the fun things we do on this adventure in an alpine playground.

Klosters - A lovely town for families

Friendly locals greet us on our wanders about the lovely village of Klosters. The intimacy and hospitality of Klosters make it a great village for families. Chalet-style buildings, a riverside promenade, and fun places to eat - all set in a picturesque landscape of rolling meadows against rocky peaks.

We stay in a family-friendly hotel with an indoor swimming pool, a great mini golf, tennis courts and other fun to be discovered.

Day 1 - Schwarzsee picnic and down the Schluchtweg

We ride the cable car up to Gotschnaboden on a grassy plateau halfway up the Gotschna. With the rocky Grat looming above us, we take a meandering hike over grassy hillsides and through cool forest.

We emerge from the pine trees into the hamlet of Laret. A short walk down through interesting old houses and farm buildings takes us to the Schwarzsee.

After a relaxing picnic by this lovely little lake we hike down through the Schluchtweg - an easy path winds downwards through a rocky gorge. We continue our easy downhill walk over the grassy meadows above Selfranga. Following the road through the sunburned old houses, we stop in front of big farmhouses with attached barns and a menagerie of cows, goats, and chickens.

Day 2 - Alp hamlet at Schlappin

Gentle trails amongst rugged peaks provide a perfect setting for family fun. Today we ride a gondola up from the opposite side of Klosters - below us a toy landscape of barns dotted over green hillsides.

Our hike takes us along a gentle, panoramic traverse with magnificent views out to yesterday's Gotschna and down to Klosters. We pass the tiny Zügenhüttli and hear the melodic tinkling bells of grazing cows - these gentle Brown Swiss will allow us up close for some petting.

We drop down to the tiny hamlet of Schlappin - a small scattering of houses near a pretty alp lake. A lunch at the Berghaus is followed by a frolic in the quiet Schlappin Valley.

Our return route follows the stream of the Schlappinbach down through a cool forest to Klosters-Dorf.

Day 3 - Parsenn panorama trail and heavenly dessert

We return to the Gotschna - this time we ride the cable car all the way up to the rocky Grat. As our car swoops up the face of the Gotschnagrat, we get a close-up look at the marmot colony that lives in this rugged habitat.

An easy stroll along the Panoramaweg, with broad views across the valley, takes us to the Parsennhütte for lunch. We walk on across Totalp to Schatzalp - here we have a blast riding the summer sledding run.

A ride down to Davos on the funicular and we head over to my favorite pastry shop - the venerable Confiserie Schneider - for a delicious selection of dessert creations. Sitting on the flagstone terrace, we enjoy our tasty selection with a cappuccino or rosehip tea and watch the scene on Davos' busy main street.

Day 4 - Fireworks from our mountain restaurant

Sunny meadows on rolling hillsides make for comfortable hiking. Heading out of Klosters, amongst the old wooden houses of Aeuja and Mälcheti, we hike up and follow along the banks of the icy Landquart. Emerging into the grassy meadows across from Pardenn, we have a great barbecue on the banks of the river.

Climbing up over the Schwendi, we enter the refreshing forest of Monbieler Wald and follow a trail through aromatic pines and across lovely alp clearings.

Tonight, we celebrate Switzerland's Confederation Day at the perfectly located mountain restaurant Alpenrösli. A traditional and delicious dinner of Älplermacaroni and we get ready for the show. In Klosters below us, on top of Gotschna directly across from us, and all the way down the Prättigau Valley, the Swiss are celebrating their Confederation Day with a barrage of fireworks - and we've got ringside seats.

Day 5 - The flying bicycle run to Küblis

We bike out of Klosters into the cool forest behind the Gotschnabahn station. Up the gentle forest path we climb through the Rüti Wald, crossing bridges over wild gorges tumbling down to the valley below.

Our reward comes as we emerge from the forest and plop down on the spacious sun terrace of the Schiferhütte - their golden fried Rösti is heavenly.

We ride out on a path that affords wide panoramas of the Prättigau. From here it's downhill all the way to Küblis - a wonderful long flight along a smooth road through tiny alp farms, ancient hamlets, and into the valley 750 meters below.

After refreshments, we bundle our bikes into a train and return to Klosters the easy way.

Day 6 - Sleeping in a Berghaus, playing on a glacier

The alpine zone is a totally different world from the valley below. We ride in mini-vans up into the Vereinatal - a twisting road up through a rocky gorge deposits us at a solid rock Berghaus sitting in a desolate alpine valley. Heading up through the Frömdvereina, we hike up to the Jöriseen - two pretty glacial lakes where we enjoy a wonderful picnic.

A jaunt across this tiny bowl and we clamber onto the tiny Jöri Glacier for some summertime snow fun. Returning to the Berghaus, we're greeted by a friendly atmosphere and settle down for an enjoyable night.

The large boulders in the side valley entice us for some after-dinner exploring and we bask in the alpenglow as the departing sun turns the peaks to pink and gold. Tonight we sleep in a Lager - a slumber party in the alpine world.

Day 7 - Down through the tumbling Vereina gorge

A brisk wake-up - it gets quite frosty in the alpine zone - and we're ready for a hearty mountain breakfast. Today's hike takes us back down through the gorge alongside the torrent of the Vereinabach. Hiking amongst the fragrant dwarf pine, we're in a habitat quite different from the alpine region of yesterday.

Coming out into the open pastures of Alp Novai, we beeline for the converted alp barn at Garfiun. Sitting outside this rustic rock and log building, overlooking a soft rolling meadow, we enjoy a solid farmer's lunch. At our hotel we end our alpine adventures with a rousing mini golf tournament.

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