In search of a bridge in Bellinzona

I had a lovely overnight stay in Bellinzona and started writing about it when I realized that the story of my chaotic search for a Tibetan bridge ended up monopolizing the post. I decided it would need its own story.

As I was researching Bellinzona, I read about a Tibetan bridge in the nearby Monte Carasso. I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea for me and that bridge is 270 meters long and 130 meters off the ground. I don’t like heights or bridges. I didn’t even do well with the significantly smaller bridge we did in Chiang Mai where we were wearing helmets and fastened to lines with very sturdy caribiners and equipment.

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Zero. Chill.

Nevertheless, the website said the bridge would be kid friendly and easily accessible, so I figured it couldn’t be too bad. I took off from the city center and realized almost a mile later that I was walking towards the wrong cable car. It was an error that I quickly corrected and found a bus that could take me to the cable car that I need to take.

There weren’t many cable cars that cycle up and down the mountain, so there was a bit of a wait for the cable car. On the upside, they have cute doors to allow the dogs to get in an out of the exit.

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I got off at the village of CurzĂștt and immediately found out I was operating under a different standard of “easily accessible” when I saw that the hike to the bridge would take an hour. The path didn’t look too bad and some quick calculations estimated that I would have enough daylight to be able to get to the bridge and back down the mountain with some time to spare.

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The first part of the hike wasn’t that bad. The path was flat, I could not complain about the views at all and there was a small stone church along the way. Even with a short stop to walk around said church, it took me a little under fifteen minutes to hit the sign that told me I had 45 minutes until the bridge.

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Things quickly got harder. The flat path became less flat and there was much more of an uphill climb. It was around the time that I had to start relying on the grips we learned during our indoor rock climbing phase to not fall that I realized that it probably was not a good idea to do this hike on my own. The hiking equivalent of SSDGM, if you will.

With that, I turned around and made my way back to the cable car stop.

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Things didn’t bode too well when I got back to the cable car stop and saw a family I saw at the beginning of the hike was still hanging out at the stop grumbling about how long they had been waiting. It was a bit of a wait until a mostly full cable car arrived. There was no space for me or half of the other group and I realized I had a long wait ahead of me with no guarantee that I’d fit into the next cable car. I saw the other half of the group walk down and saw quite a few groups climbing up the mountain, so some weird part of my brain thought it’d be an okay idea to walk down the mountain.

It took an hour and a half and got very steep at times. I became painfully aware of the fact that neither the clothes nor the shoes I wore were appropriate for that type of a hike. I made it down, though, and my legs felt like absolute jelly at the end.

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So that is my story of a search for a bridge that led to an impromptu hike. It took a few days for my legs to recover and I’m sure there are lessons that should have been learned from that adventure. Nevertheless, the hike was pretty and the situation was kind of funny in retrospect.