This winter, happy hikers from all over Switzerland will once again be drawn outside as if by magic. Winter walking is still really popular, and no wonder with such great views.
...wrote Johann Gottfried Seume, more than 200 years ago. He should have known, because he was one of the first real walking fanatics and a trend-setter in his day. In 1801 he walked to Mount Etna - from Leipzig! That's 6000 kilometres.
He did most of it on foot, all in the same pair of walking boots. "Everything would be better if people walked more," the writer said, too. We have taken that message to heart and hit the trail.
There are 111 kilometres of winter footpaths in Davos, and if you add in Klosters as well that makes 150 kilometres. And then of course there are the snowshoe trails, but that's
a different story.
Occasionally you do come across a shameless snowshoe walker coming towards you on a rock-hard, perfectly groomed winter footpath. That's really not the point, and they look a bit daft, but you mustn't laugh. At least, not while they are still within earshot.
That's not surprising, because absolutely everything about this walk is perfect: at about 7 kilometres, it's a nice length, so it's not just a boring stroll but nor is it a strenuous mountain hike. Of course, no one goes on a walk because it's the right length but because of the sensational scenery. And here this wide mountain valley really comes up trumps: larch forests fringe the sides, historic Walser houses and barns and an ancient little church bear witness to centuries gone by. In such unchanged scenery, this winter walk is almost like travelling through time...
The walk starts at the station in Davos Frauenkirch, about 3 kilometres south of Davos Platz. The name comes from St Mary's church, which dates from the 14th century. But it's a bit too early for a cultural diversion. On the other hand, it's never too soon to stop for refreshments.
...from the station, follow the path northwards first, towards Davos Platz. At the first fork, you turn right, cross a bridge and this brings you to the Sertigerstrasse. Now you climb gently up through pine and larch forests, until gradually the idyllic Sertig mountain valley broadens out. The only sound is the babbling of the Sertig stream.
Even more magical than the stream is the view of rugged mountain peaks that will keep you spellbound. Now, if you want to show off your Alpine knowledge, remember the name "Hoch Ducan" and the number 3063. That is the highest peak to the south. To the left is the Plattenflue (3031 m) and on the far left the relatively measly Mittaghorn (2735 m). But no one is interested any more.
You continue along the winter footpath via the Sertig mill, Eggeli and Bäbi to the picturesque little village of Sertig. The around a dozen houses there remind us of the Walser people who came here from Valais in the 13th century. Their characteristically massive houses, just like those you see in Upper Valais, were made out of square beams of larch wood.
The grain stores are also a typical feature and of historic interest, built as they are on stilts with huge stones on top, to protect the harvest from damp and vermin. The "Hinter den Eggen" church, built in 1699, is, of course a little gem and the perfect subject for a photograph.
But now it's high time to say: "Gosh, I'm starving..."Yes, now it's time, and here is just the place to stop! The name of the cosy inn with the friendly waitress in the village of Sertig is "Zum Bergführer". If your hunger can wait, you can walk another 15 minutes to Sertig Sand and the next hostelry on the list, the "Walserhuus Sertig". And, just between ourselves, going on a walk here without having a cake for your dessert is only half the fun...
After this culinary diversion, no-one really wants to do any more winter walking. So you go back to Davos either on the bus, or, really romantically, by horse-drawn carriage.
With winter walks, sledging, ice skating, skiing and snowshoe walking, there's a whole bunch of different things to do in Davos. In fact, the programme of activities at the Sunstar Hotel Davos is legendary, ranging from sport to wellness and from accompanied skiing to guided winter walks. The evening highlight in Davos – apart from the outstanding food – is the music for dancing and entertainment in the bar.
Davos is ready, let the winter begin!