Sonogno, Ticino, Switzerland 7/13
Despite my misgivings on the way up the valley, the village of Sonogno was worth every hairpin corner. Dating back to 1200, Sonogno is the last village on the paved road in the Valley Verzasca. All motor vehicles are required to park at the entrance to the village. It is located at an elevation of 918 m (3,012 ft). The large parking area charged CHF10 for any 24-hour period. We joined several other campers taking advantage of shady trees and the clean restrooms. At $10.70 a night, it was a good deal.
The area is famous for its many hiking trails. Some wander down the beautiful river through the valley. Others climb into the mountains where there are several Alp Huts allowing hikers to carry only their bare necessities for overnight stays. We chose a trail leading downstream for several miles. There were some wonderful picnic spots and some beautiful pools in the river. Crystal-clear waterfalls cascaded down cliffs. We wished we had brought our bathing suits. Summer flowers carpeted hillsides. Sturdy suspension bridges crossed the river when necessary. The good news was that at the end where we stopped, we simply walked up to the next village and took the Postal Bus back to the top.
The region is also famous for its wines, cheeses, breads and sausages. On our last evening we hiked up to a small Grotto near a waterfall. We ordered sample plates of all the local meats and cheeses. Wine in this, the Italian part of Switzerland, is sometimes sipped from small pottery cups called “tazzin” or “boccalino” depending on their shape.
The unique stacked rock construction of the houses using materials available is marvelous. Many of the older homes in the back country have been abandoned. A few have been converted to guesthouses for tourists. The local museum gives a good impression of how these people lived in this remote area. A community oven in Sonogno bakes fresh bread twice a month in the traditional way.
Back in camp, we continue to enjoy our little Weber Go-Anywhere BBQ. No waiting for coals to reach the right temperature. Weber’s Flavorizer System distributes heat evenly across the cooking surface and virtually eliminates flame flare-ups caused by dripping grease. Works nearly as good as our big Weber at home.
With most of Europe taking their vacations, the traffic on the main highways was horrendous. We opted for the old narrow road over the San Bernardino Pass, 6778 feet, to return to Wiesendangen. It wasn’t the ideal route for a truck as big as ours. Many corners had to be backed up to get around, but the scenery was spectacular.