Udderly amazed at the view from Berninapass

Switzerland is not just for tourists, as this bovine demonstrates

One common misconception that tourists have of any area where they travel is that 99% of the people work in the tourist trade. I used to call the Berkshires my home, and from listening to the talk on the porch at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, you would think no one in the county works at Wal Mart, Stop and Shop, banking, General Electric, or anywhere else! Ayup! We sit around and wait for busloads of concertgoers at Tanglewood; once the Boston Symphony packs up for the summer, we all become comatose and go into hibernation!

So too, it is with Switzerland. Its easy to forget that people live and work and thrive in these mountains; in fact, once upon a time it was that very feature which brought travelers to begin with. And if you get off the roads (this advice is to cyclists as well, i guess) and into the meadows which lie below the Jungfrau, or Grosseglockner, or Dents de Midi, you will find farmers and craftsman plying their trades, amidst businesses and general commerce.

In any case, this cow was nibbling in a grassy field just as I arrived at the top of the Bernina pass, which connects Italy with Switzerland just south of St. Moritz. The pass features some of the most glaciated regions of this portion of the alps, with long valleys to the south of the road ending in dead ends of massive fields of ice. All the passes in the St. Moritz region (I will give ya the names in a few days when I look at a map) deserve to be crossed and explored by the cyclist, as they are all bikeable and photogenic. I recommend you lay out a loop-the-loop route to twist around all of them, for the mountains of this Engadine region are among the most savage of the entire chain, with stark contrasts between mountain peaks stabbing into a blue sky. No wonder it is a playground for the rich! The annual world conference at Davos, where overpaid and underworked academic and political economists chatter noisily amidst caviar and skiing about the horrible state of third world countries, takes place not far from here. Its enough to make ya a socialist. Bikers of the world, Unite! You've nothing to lose but you chains!