Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Gypsum of Switzerland

Day 364
Zernez, Switzerland

Another recovery day in Zernez. Chris is more sore today than yesterday and the bruises are coming out in rainbow colors.

The day started with rain and snow up high. Feels like a fall day at home. We had our breakfast and then strolled to the information center to check email. After fumbling around on the SwissCom automated internet kiosk, I went back to our hotel and found out that they have wireless. I managed to get blogs and photos up to date and now everyone will know the details of Chris’ latest bike wreck.
Zernez is one of 13 villages in the Engadin valley which is part of the Graubünden canton. There are 26 cantons in the federal state of Switzerland; each one essentially autonomous. Graubünden is the largest region, but has the smallest population density. One contributing factor to the lack of people may be the mountainous terrain of the area. For what the demographics lack in numbers, they make up in diversity. This canton has three official languages; German, Italian, and Romansh. The latter was a merging of local tribal dialects and the language of the Romans. Today, Romansh is one of the four official languages of Switzerland. Most of this information I have shared was gathered from the internet. Late this afternoon we got a local’s perspective when we picked up Chris’ new wheel from the bike shop.
Apparently, the Engadin Valley is much like the Vail-Eagle Valley. With St Moritz at one end and Zernez at the other, you can start to paint a picture of the social make-up of the region. Per the shop owner’s description, Zernez is “just a bunch of farmers”. Sound familiar? He went on to describe a few more snubs from the land of hoity-toity skiing and shopping and we could identify with each one. You can change the location, but you can’t change the issues.
This evening we reflected on the last year. We are on the eve of our one year anniversary of this trip. We are different, yet still the same. Just two people committed to each other and to riding our bicycles throughout the world.


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