The signpost for Erbalp – Stafelalp – Alpentour is located right next to the Alberti bus stop, beside the Alberti stream. The route initially leads through the residential area up to the Hotel Larix, on the Heldstab estate, then continues through woodland and along an Alpine path until just before the Erbalp. The signpost at the fork in the road points to the Stafelalp and Chummeralp. Some 10 minutes later lies the Usser-Erb point, which affords a magnificent vista over to the Jakobshorn. Now follow the gentle downhill path to the Stafelalp. The Stafelalp lies above Frauenkirch, 1894 metres above sea level, and this is where E.L. Kirchner spent the summer months of 1917 and 1918 in residence. Once back in the valley near Frauenkirch, follow the main road for about 500 metres towards Davos Platz to the fork into the Sertig Valley. At the start of the Sertig Valley, a short path (in parts a natural staircase) leads up to the Wildboden, the house where E.L. Kirchner lived from 1924 until his death (1938). The route back to Davos passes the forest cemetery where E.L. Kirchner and his wife, Erna Schilling, are buried. It is definitely worth taking a brief look into the Kirchner Museum.
Points of interest:
The name Erbalp comes from the German «geerbter Alp», meaning «inherited Alp». In the 16th century, this Alp is said to have been passed into 5 different hands in a single night during the great plague.
This place affords a splendid view over to the Jakobshorn, down into the Sertig Valley and across to the Rinerhorn. Note the snow-clad peaks of the Piz Ela and Tinzenhorn, the mountain painted innumerable times by Kirchner. Looking out from the valley, your gaze is drawn to Monstein and to the railway gorge.
50 metres along the trail on the right-hand side is the small house where E.L. Kirchner lived during the summer months in 1917 and 1918. He arrived at the Stafelalp in 1917 as a human wreck, dependent on nicotine, the sedative Veronal, morphine and alcohol. He discovered a world unknown to him in the seclusion of this farmhouse. Ordinary people, archaic nature and the atmospheric solitude contributed to his rapid recovery. He produced monumental masterpieces on the Stafelalp, such as «Ascent to the Mountains», «Descent from the Mountains», «Old Farmer», «Tinzenhorn», «Stafelalp by Moonlight» and many more oil paintings.
Be sure to stop off at the Berghaus Stafelalp restaurant, whether you are feeling hungry or not. Apart from traditional Grisons dishes, like barley soup and Älplermaccherone, they also serve up regional and seasonal dishes every day.
Frauenkirch is a parish within the Davos region. It is named after the «Church to Our Lady», which dates back to the Reformation period and was built around 1350, with a tower being added in 1470. An avalanche almost totally destroyed the church during the bad avalanche winter of 1602. It was rebuilt in 1603 with the typical wedge shape facing the mountain to divert avalanches. Since then, it has withstood all avalanches.
You can end your tour here if you wish to. Public transport will transport you back to Davos in under 10 minutes.
Otherwise continue hiking towards «Wildboden» to discover a wealth of information about E.L. Kirchner.
The house in which E.L. Kirchner lived from 1924 until his death (1938) is located in the area known as «Wildboden». It was in this house that he has painted most of his masterpieces – a number of which today form part of the permanent exhibition at the Kirchner Museum. The route back to Davos passes the woodland cemetery. Be sure to stop off at this unique cemetery with its simple wooden crosses amidst a larch forest. A plaque at the entrance to the cemetery provides information about the history of this land. The graves of E.L. Kirchner and his wife Erna Schilling are both to be found in this woodland cemetery.
Stop off at the Islen restaurant for a bite to eat - as the Swiss say, at «Zvieri», snack time, you are sure to find something to tempt you. The restaurant has a homely terrace, inviting hikers to rest a while and enjoy the hospitality.
From here, either return on public transport to Davos or walk along the Dammweg.
The Dammweg path runs along the side of the Landwasser stream to Davos.
Davos - Europe's highest city - offers all the amenities of a (small) city at the same time surrounded by an unspoiled mountain and natural landscape. The Valais people moved to Davos in the 13th century. Davos' tradition as a spa began in 1853 and is associated with the name Alexander Spengler. He soon recognised the health-giving effect of the climate in Davos and set out to make people aware of this. Together with W.J. Holsboer, Alexander Spengler founded the Spengler-Holsboer Sanatorium in 1868. New growth came with the construction of the railway line from Landquart to Davos: hotels, guest houses, sanatoriums and villas spread like mushrooms. Many of the foreign guests enjoyed themselves in the snow during their stay and brought new ideas and winter sports equipment to Davos. This helped Davos to become a well-known ski resort in the very earliest days. Today, these high-altitude clinics tend to offer treatment for allergic and infectious diseases of the respiratory tract and lungs as well as trying to treat tuberculosis. Today Davos has 13,000 inhabitants and has a wide range of amenities virtually unmatched by any other mountain resort in Europe. Davos is a centre for holidays, sports, conferences, health, research and culture.
Interesting facts and figures:
? Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was born on 6 May 1880 in Aschaffenburg (DE) and died on 15 June 1938 in Frauenkirch-Wildboden near Davos (Switzerland).
? Quote from E.L. Kirchner: «It is not right analysing my paintings in terms of their accuracy, because they are not images of certain things or beings, but independent organisms consisting of lines, surfaces and colours, which contain natural forms only to the extent that they are needed as a key to understanding. My paintings are parables, not pictures. Form and colour are not beautiful in themselves, but are rather brought forth by spiritual will. Something secret is concealed behind people and things, behind colours and frames, connecting everything associated with life and manifest appearance: that is the beautiful entity I am looking for.»