Monday, January 23, 2012

Lugano's Hausberg

Alpine cities and towns typically have a Hausberg, a "home mountain," i.e., a peak that local residents can (in principle) hike to from their doorstep. In spite of its relatively modest elevation and Lugano's ample supply of higher peaks, Monte San Salvatore, "Mount St Savior," is considered Lugano's Hausberg because of its distinctive shape.


From March to November, the summit area of San Salvatore can be reached by way of a cable railway, or funicolare, that is significantly steeper than a Swiss cow's face. During the winter, you can only get to the top with your own paws. This means that you can take in the views of Lake Lugano without wearing a pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones to block out people yammering on their cellphones.


We hiked to the top of San Salvatore on a Saturday in the middle of January, taking advantage of this year's eerily mild winter. Thanks to a perfectly timed combination of two trains and a bus, we reached the southerly trailhead in the tiny hamlet of Ciona without having to start hiking from our doorstep.


As we made our way through town, we met one of the Seven Dwarfs.


The southerly trail winds gradually through forestland and steers clear of the cliffy east face of the mountain. After a 1200' climb, dirt gives way to cement and stairs lead to the developed summit area with the cable railway station, a restaurant, and various viewing platforms. There are lots of orange Swiss benches so that little dogs can regroup while reading in-flight magazines.


Fur disclosure: Mom brought Delta's Sky Magazine along to take a photo, so she could enter the "Show Us Your Sky" photo contest.

We spent more than an hour at the top, enjoying the quiet and taking in the views.



Dad pointed out how amazing it was that nobody was around. Eventually, five Swiss German hikers joined us at the top. It is relatively rare to meet Italian-speaking Swiss folks in the mountains of Italian-speaking Switzerland. It is more common in Swiss-Italian culture to spend five hours eating lunch rather than five hours hiking.

On the way down to Ciona, we paid homage to the San Salvatore funicolare station.


We timed the downhill hike to catch the 3 o'clock bus from Ciona. I really wanted to burrow inside the hollow tree near the bus stop.


Fun Fact #1: Monte San Salvatore is struck by lightning more often than any other mountain in the Central Alps.

Fun Fact #2: Monte San Salvatore is known as Lugano's Sugarloaf due to its resemblance to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

22 comments:

  1. You must have had a wonderful time. What great scenery!

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    Replies
    1. It was a lot of fun, and the scenery was incredible!

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  2. Wow that is some hike and amazing scenery

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  3. There are so many interesting facts in this post. I enjoyed it tremendously!

    I love that you have a "home mountain".

    I didn't know that Swiss-Italians have 5 hour lunches. That would be my kind of country!

    FunFact #1 Wow!

    FunFact #2 Really?

    Does this mean you're at the moment blogging from Switzerland, Tootsie? It's tough to keep up with you international jetsetters :)

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    1. Thanks!
      Fun Fact #2: yes, the reference to Rio's Sugarloaf Mountain is used in brochures and travel guides to get tourists hooked.
      Yes, I am currently blogging from Switzerland!

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  4. We would love our own Hausberg! Did I tell you we are probably going to Switzerland (only the humans) in August? We want to hike Tour De Mont Blanc.

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    1. You did, and I'm sure you'll have a blast! Mom and I will be in Idaho, but Dad will be around. He'll be happy to give you lots of hiking/travel tips.

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    2. Sorry, couldn't remember. Can you tell I am excited :) We could sure use some tips...we are doing it unguided....just showing up and figuring it out.

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    3. We're more than happy to help. Just send an e-mail to Mom :)

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  5. That looks awesome. What great pictures. I would love an adventure like that.

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  6. Oh it is so beautiful! What a great time
    Dachshund Nola

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  7. Wow Guys,

    That looks like such an awesome hike - such amazing views!!

    Was there anything fun inside the tree? :)

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

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    1. Dear Snoopy,

      My human parents wouldn't let me burrow inside the hollow tree, but I bet there must have been something fun in there. Maybe that tree is where the Seven Dwarfs live!

      Keep on wagging,
      Your pal Tootsie

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  8. Replies
    1. Totally! Burrowing inside the hollow tree would have been the icing on the cake.

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  9. San Salvatore looks like a beautiful place to go for a hike! I bet you could of stayed there all day just taking in the beautiful scenery!

    Thanks so much for joining the hop today!

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    1. I would have loved to spend more time there, but Mom and I were starting to get cold. It is a very mild winter, but we still get cold on top of mountains.

      Thank you for co-hosting 'Monday Mischief'! It's so much fun!

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  10. What fantastic views! And how nice that you you had it mostly to yourselves on such a pretty day.

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    1. It was a total surprise to have the summit mostly to ourselves. It can be a total zoo when the funicolare is running!

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