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Switzerland was a marked contrast to the Dolomites. Escaping Italy, we crossed the Swiss border at the village of Mustair. It was late morning and there was next to no traffic and barely a sign of life. Passing through Santa Maria Val Mustair and the start of the Umbrail Pass we headed up the Fuorn Pass, also known as the Ofen Pass or Passo del Forno, as this is multilingual Switzerland.

"Fuorn" is the Romansh word for "oven", Ofen or Forno also mean oven and this comes not from cooking but from furnaces to smelt iron. The hotel at the top of the pass was built in 1489, no doubt for the miners and blacksmiths. This area is now Switzerland's only National Park. At 170km² it isn't particularly large - the Vanoise in France is 524km² but then neither is Switzerland. It is the first National Park created in the Alps over 100 years ago.

The pass road is smooth and surrounded by forests to the end at Zernez in the Engadin Valley. From Zernez we took the valley road to Susch and picked up the Fluela Pass to our destination of Davos. The Fluela is one of three passes in and out of the Engadin valley, having already driven the Julier and the Fluela, we did the Albula, the least trafficked of the three. Another very scenic pass and free of commercial vehicles for the most part.

In Davos, we stayed at the AlpenGold hotel, which is right at the end of the pass road and on the outskirts of the highest town in the Alps. It's an iconic hotel and a place we had always wanted to stay but being a Swiss 5-star hotel it was only going to be a short stay. The design is based on a pine cone - a gold one - this is Switzerland after all.

Look out for a new Swiss Passes book at over 200 pages later this year.

    Summit of the Albula Pass

    Il Fuorn hotel at the summit of the Fuorn Pass

    Further reading


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