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For a long time we have been going to the Engadin in Switzerland, and we usually make a day-trip to Val Bregaglia, on the easternmost side. Maloja is the last town in the Engadin and beyond it the so-called Maloja pass tumbles down into Val Bregaglia with some 12 hairpins. The first town is Cassacia, just a few houses along the main road. Next you come to Vicosoprano, which is a little larger and has a delightful garden cafĂ©. Then there are Stampa and Bondo, both lovely towns. From Bondo you go up to Soglio…

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Soglio is the most beautiful village on earth, or so they say. I wouldn’t know if it’s true, but it could very well be. It surely is more beautiful than the village I was born in, Abbenbroek, but then, that’s not so difficult. But all the villages and small towns in Val Bregaglia are wonderful. There is a serene atmosphere, and an extraordinary homogeneity. Everything seems to be in the right place, everything seems to belong just there. The ancient houses with slate roofs, the fountains, the flowers. I don’t remember ever having seen a stray piece of garbage around. The only thing that really disturbs are the noises of different machines, especially the grass-cutters. Finally, you will reach Castasegna, again a wonderful town, with huge Engadin style houses that have impressive entrances. After Castasegna you cross into Italy, and the old part of Chiavenna is absolutely worth a visit. By the way, Val Bregaglia, though Swiss, is very Italian in character—language, food…