My week in Laax

Four days of lessons have now passed and I find that after this short time of intensive language immersion, I can write and speak Romansch far better than I could at the end of the course last year. The language of instruction is Sursilvan Romansch (romontsch sursilvan). Classes start at 08.30 and end at 14.30, and then there is a half hour of singing for those who want to take part. I join in and we learn Sursilvan songs. Last year a CD was made of the Casa Caltgera choir and it was sent out to all the students.

I have the rest of the afternoon off and I have so far used my free time to write postcards, to go shopping in town, to sit outside and drink the delicious Swiss drink, Rivella and just today I visited the Laax Fitness Center twice. I paid only CHF 14 for an afternoon then an evening workout. It is located above an indoor pool and there are floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the small Laax lake. No one was in the gym during the afternoon and I shared the whole facility with one guy who only used the treadmill when I returned in the evening.

At night after dinner I do my homework, and that takes me between two and three hours. I always go downstairs to the Stiva Grischuna ( = the Grisons Room, or, since I always prefer to call the canton by its German name, the Graubünden Room) where other students gather. It is much more fun to meet everyone rather than to sit alone in my room doing my pensums da casa.

I bought a travel pass for the region and I can take seven trips over the course of two weeks. So far I have only taken one trip, a bus ride back to Laax from Ilanz (Romansch name: Glion). I will use the pass several times this weekend, starting tomorrow after class, when I visit the Lia Rumantscha in Chur, the capital of Graubünden. I went to Chur (Romansch name: Cuera) last year on a Saturday and I knew then that the Lia would be closed; this time I am excited that I will finally be able to visit the organization that was formed almost one hundred years ago to promote the Romansch language and culture. I will bring an empty backpack for all the books I am going to buy.

On Saturday I want to go to the western end of the Surselva valley, to the town of Disentis (Romansch name: Mustér). I went there last year as part of a class outing yet did not have as much time as I would have liked to look around. I will also like to explore the Sutselva region, where the least-spoken idiom of Romansch survives. Sutselvan is one of the world’s most endangered languages, as its speaking population is less than five hundred. I will get off at the Domat/Ems station and take a bus into the Sutselva.

That is a sneak preview of my future travel plans. Tune in for the reality show this weekend.


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