Even today, the "Magic Mountain" draws numerous culture enthusiasts to Davos, on the hunt for the main centre points of the novel of the same name by Thomas Mann. They can now be inspired by the Thomas-Mann-Way, which runs from the Waldhotel Davos (former woodland sanatorium) at 1620 m above sea level to the Schatzalp, 1880 m above sea level. Along the 2.6 km path are ten signs, which act as "literary stations" and provide information on the connections between Davos and the works of Thomas Mann. High points of the path include the "favourite place of Hans Castorp", the hero of the novel, whilst the way ends at Thomas-Mann-Platz on the Schatzalp, which has been established behind the botanical garden Alpinum Schatzalp.
Thomas Mann (1875–1955) came to Davos from the 12th May to the 15th June 1912, in order to visit his wife Katia, who was being treated at the woodland sanatorium. During this time he took many walks around the area above the woodland sanitorium, an area through which the Thomas-Mann-Way runs. Thomas Mann described his impressions of Davos in the novel "The Magic Mountain", which was published in 1924.
Along the path information boards enable the observer to gain an insight into the thought processes of the respective artists. In this way art enthusiasts are able to participate in the creation process, from the sketch right through to the completed sculpture.
The starting point for the Davos Frauenkirch sculpture path is the studio of the Davos sculptor Andreas Hofer in Frauenkirch. From here you can walk right up to the Stafelalp in around ¾ hour. On the idyllic Stafelalp, the former residence of the expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, it is possible to enjoy refreshments in the Stafelalp mountain chalet or even spend a night in the "Kirchner Suite". As an alternative, visitors can now use the new wheelchair-friendly short variant, which runs from the h.art studio directly to the Lengmatta country guesthouse.
Starting at a bus stop of the Davos Public Transportation Services, the different trails take you toward the heathland, which represents the centre of the GWunderwald. Different situation-based experiential sites have been set up along these trails. Visitors can freely select their route and get to the next bus stop or a restaurant from any other trail.
The entire trail can be experienced in eight different and combinable sub-trails. On hiking trails and forest roads spanning 13 km, you will have the opportunity to delve into different nature themes presented in situational contexts. 30 sites are on offer to expand your horizons on nature, recuperation, landscape, agriculture and forestry, hunting, flora and fauna, and much more.
These sites are also particularly suited for children, as they explain the nature in a hands-on, interactive manner. The goal is to pique their curiosity – or even promote the discovery of the wonders of nature. The trail is equally interesting for both adults and children and offers the promise of a beautiful family excursion.
In 1280, farmers from the Canton of Valais immigrated and founded the typical dispersed settlements in the higher parts of the Landwasser valley. In Davos and the Prättigau valley, log construction houses made of either round or square timber are the most common. Other reminders of the immigration period are the wooden “Spiicher”, granaries built on stilts or wooden legs to protect the harvest from moisture and mice.
Stage 12 leads to the Walser village of Monstein, where evidence of the old culture of the Walser people, such as the “Gretahuus” built in 1644 or a “Seelapalgge”, a soul timber, can be found. This piece of timber closed an opening in the house and was only ever lifted to help the soul of a deceased find its way to after life.
Stage 13 leads through the Ducan region, which used to be a flat sea some 230 million years ago. On an altitude of more than 2700 meters a.s.l, palaeontologists of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich excavated well-preserved fossils of fish and small dinosaurs. The hike provides breathtaking views of the Ducan glacier and leads to the most known side valley in the Davos region, the Sertig valley. The trail passes the famous waterfall that Ernst Ludwig Kirchner eternalized in his expressionistic pictures. Stage 14 leads along mule-pack train routes to the Dischma valley. During Late Middle Ages, Davos emerged to an important trading zone between North and South. Cheese, cattle, sheep wool fabric and ore gained from the Silberberg mine were exported to South Tyrol. Salt and corn were imported over the Flüela pass from Tyrol and mule-pack trains from the Veltlin brought wine over the Scaletta pass. In summer, the „Rüedisch cloud“ often floats in the sky above the „Tällifurgga“. This cloud is entwined with an ancient Walser myth.
The Walser settlement of Stafelalp was founded approximately 500 years ago. The German expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner has lived and worked on Stafelalp, where some of his most important works were created. Stage 15 and 16 lead over the Stafelalp to Arosa, a town that was settled by Davos emigrants in the 14th century. Stage 17 leads back to Klosters, passing through a high moor of national importance. The history of Klosters tells of reformation riots, subjugation by Austrians, war of liberation and redemption. 540 of the 900 inhabitants died during the plague. Between 1652 and 1702, 50 „witches“ were executed. And still in 1799, 1500 marauding French soldiers forayed into Klosters. It was only in 1803, when Grisons became a Canton of the Swiss Federation, that peace and tranquillity, for which nowadays Klosters is much appreciated by many nature lovers, settled in.
These are only a few of the stories that can be discovered through the book “Walserweg Graubünden”. Along the 300 km long trail, hikers will encounter many more magic places entwined in myths and legends. The Walser trail in Grisons is a project of the canton’s Walser heritage association. It was opened in 2010 and is marked as route number 35 of the network of Cultural Routes of Switzerland.
Further information on Walserweg can be found on www.walserweg.ch.