Switzerland See And Do
The birthplace of Dada, the most significant art movement to have come out of Zurich, has just been reopened after 90 years: The site of the original Cabaret Voltaire, at Spiegelgasse 1, is now a café-bar and gallery. You can visit James Joyce's grave in the Fluntern cemetery, and any number of galleries and museums—including the unmissable Kunsthaus gallery (Heimplatz 1, www.kunsthaus.ch). Spanish star architect, Santiago Calatrava, a resident, is working on two new buildings in the Seefeld district to follow up on his stunning Stadelhofen Train Station and the astonishing, recently unveiled Bibliothek (library) of the Zurich University Law Faculty—an edifice that, touching ground in only eight places, seems to be floating. One of the great architectural masters of the 20th century, Le Corbusier, contributed (posthumously) his final work to the city—the Heidi Weber Pavilion, now a museum and gallery that is sadly rarely open these days. And from the sublime to the kinda silly, hundreds of five-foot teddy bears took to the streets in summer 2005, a citywide art installation called—what else?— Teddy Summer 2005 (www.teddy-summer.ch). Whoever thinks the Swiss are po-faced, money-minded stiff-necks should board a plane immediately. The new slim and spacious light-flooded glass Dock E building at the airport (designed by Spühler and Algélil/Graham/Pfenniger/Scholl) will be the first sign that, in the case of Zurich, old perceptions couldn't be more wrong.
The St. Moritz ski region divides into four main areas—a lift pass covers 56 lifts and over 218 miles of trails. Corviglia mountain is the core (and closest to the town center), reached by funicular from Dorf and by cable car from Bad. A modern gondola provides the link from the neighboring town of Celerina. Once up the mountain, a series of 10 modern chairs provide a network of runs for all standards. Corvatsch mountain, above Lake Silvaplana and a short ski-bus ride away from Dorf, is equally entertaining. The skiing is reached by cable car from both ends of the lake. The snow-sure glacier above Surlej peak gives access to a couple of scenic routes while Furtschellas mountain is the setting for the more demanding Seestutz and Muntanella descents.
If you're staying in Bad village, you can ski home from Corvatsch or transfer to the Corviglia area. Lagalb and Diavolezza are two adjoining ski areas situated farther west along the valley beyond the town of Pontresina. Together they offer some of the best expert skiing in the region and will be linked by a lift for the 2009–2010 season. Apart from the runs back down to the cable car, the top of Lagalb is the starting point for the off-piste La Rösa tour of the south face into a neighboring valley. Take the six-mile descent (with a guide) down the glacier from Diavolezza, which is the most spectacular in the Engadine valley.
In the summer, you can hike and picnic in the mountains, and climb, ride, bike, and enjoy a host of water sports on the Engadine lakes (www.engadin.ch). Major summer events include windsurfing and kitesurfing events, the Match Race sailing regatta (www.stmoritz-matchrace.ch), golf tournaments, and an opera festival in late June/early July (www.opernfestival-engadin.ch), along with several other music festivals and concerts.
St. Moritz , Switzerland
Skiing doesn't appeal? Alternative winter activities in St. Moritz include dog-sledding, snowshoeing, and the ever-popular curling. The Cresta Run entails tobogganing headfirst down an icy tunnel for three-quarters of a mile. It's organized by the St. Moritz Tobogganing Club and although private, it's easy for an outsider to arrange an introductory ride—provided they're male. After instruction you ride the serpentine ribbon of ice down to Celerina, your face only inches from the ice, at a speed of around 60mph. It's extremely skilled and dangerous—accidents are commonplace (www.cresta-run.com). Other spectator sports include bobsledding (41-81-830-02-00; www.olympia-bobrun.ch) and ski jumping, while the frozen lake hosts an unusual array of equestrian sports not usually played on water, including February horse racing (www.whiteturf.ch), mid-January show-jumping (www.stmoritz-concours.ch), and late January snow polo (www.polostmoritz.com). There's even the occasional cricket match, evidence of a long affinity the British have had for this alpine resort.