28.05.2020 - What does Arosa smell like? Why are the roofs flat? Who is the semi-nude woman on the advertising poster? Who made Arosa world famous? In the book “Arosa in 100 stories” 28 authors describe the history and the present of the town, its people, economy and politics, nature and culture in an informative and entertaining way through reports, interviews, infographics and historical outlines.

The editor, Peter Röthlisberger, has preparied various stories from this book for the Swiss O Week newsletter so they can be presented to a wider public. Here is the first one.

365 agonizing road bends

The magnetic attraction of Arosa can be judged by the fact that people travel there at all.

Driving to Arosa by car is sheer agony. 30 kilometers and 1320 meters difference in altitude lie between Chur and the idyllic village. These are no Himalayan conditions and judging by the sober numbers it does not seem to be anything spectacular. It is only because they reveal nothing about the course of the Schanfigger road. In fact, the road does not lead to Arosa but winds its way up there. It feels like a merciless anaconda that bends and twists her body. Already in the very first curve, it winds at 180 degrees up the mountain – a sadistic wake-up call to the stomach. The sensitive passengers have no choice but to press the window opener for the very first time. Just a little crack because the air outside is icy cold.

At the quarry before Maladers, the rising nausea is replaced momentarily by a rush of adrenaline because in the double curve a local car has passed so narrowly that the brain releases a gush of stress hormones. Another grip to the window opener follows. While the winter breeze freezes the right side of the face, curve after curve follows. If the giant snake stretches out for a few meters, one may even enjoy a glimpse of the spectacular landscape. But then there is the next curve, and the stomach is upset once more. One consoles oneself that surely more than the half-way point must have already passed. However, discovering then the house of the basket weaver between Castiel and St. Peter and realizing that at this point that not even half the distance is reached. One passes cars parked in an emergency fashion along the road knowing without looking that always the same scene is happening: one parent is comfortingly stroking over the head of a child who is sick on the side of the road. Curve 195 was too much for the small stomach.

It is said to have 365 curves in total. One for each day of the year. In reality there are only 250. But instead of glossing over the number down, somebody had the idea to add 100 curves. Gian and Giachen (two comic ibex figures) appear in the mind’s eye laughing cheerfully at this joke at the expense of the people coming up from the lower areas. Then finally one reaches Litzirüti. Joy mixes with discomfort knowing that the last part is the toughest. The Schanfigger road meanders up like a veritable pass road. One hairpin turn follows the next. The anaconda strangleholds the stomach once more. Finally, there it is, the town sign with the five letters ending this misery: Arosa. And one feels only happiness.

Author: Barbara Lienhard

Youtube video Cover Arosa low Book shop

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