St. Moritz in the Engadin – its gifts of nature, its people, its potential

On the standard work “Health Myth St. Moritz. Sour water – mountain sun – mountain climate” by Heini Hofmann

by Winfried Pogorzelski

With his comprehensive, scientifically sound and magnificently illustrated standard work “Health Myth St. Moritz”, the Swiss science publicist Heini Hofmann (born 1938) has presented an impressive documentation about the famous spa, winter and mountain sports resort in the Engadin.1 The author has a broad-ranging career. As a working student, he was a journalist, photo and radio reporter, then a veterinarian at the Basel Zoo, at the Swiss and Austrian National Circus and director of the Rapperswil Children’s Zoo. Since reaching retirement age, he has been working as a publicist. Robert Eberhard, long-time president of the Dr. Oscar Bernhard Foundation St. Moritz and doctor in charge of the Medical Therapy Centre Heilbad St. Moritz, explains the title “Health Myth St. Moritz” in the foreword: Health and healing has always been known from this place, as a fountain tapping was already built in the Bronze Age in the 15th century BC for the later so named Mauritius fountain with its iron-rich and acidulous water.2 With the founding of the first hotel in 1856, the Kulm Hotel, the rise to one of the most popular holiday resorts ever began. To this day, the attraction of the place and the region is unbroken: “This is where the rich, the beautiful and the famous meet, where winter sports enthusiasts, summer visitors and nature lovers bustle” (p. 63). How this came about and what the prospects are for the region are impressively described in this great work.

In his prologue (p. 13ff.), the author speaks of the raw materials with which the place is richly blessed; however, he does not mean mineral resources such as rocks, ores or crude oil, but the bracing climate, the pure air, the mountain sun, the healing springs and the Alpine moor. All this is at the feet of the people, they just have to bend down and pick it up. The use of these gifts has a chequered history, which he tells on the following pages.
  In eleven chapters, the author works out the exception and historical significance of St. Moritz and the Engadin for naturopathy, tourism and as the venue for a whole range of sports. He knows how to convey his immense knowledge with great attention to detail and entertaining clarity. The reader can delve into this alpine wonderland and can only marvel, while at the same time being well informed and enlightened about complex relationships.

Nature trilogy heeling spring, sun and bracing climate

Heini Hofmann is very concerned about the current situation and the future of the place and the region. It is about nothing less than sounding out possible perspectives and envisaging their implementation, taking into account climate change and demographic development; this requires an overall concept: “As the water castle of Europe and at the same time the highest situated bracing climate health region, the Engadin is predestined for new sustainable tourism perspectives!” (p. 15) But there is no overall concept that gives the healing springs the prominent place they deserve. They had led to the fabulous rise of the place and should be combined with the revival of the spa tradition and the conscious use of the bracing climate and mountain sun. Because the increasingly health-conscious people are getting older and are trying to do something for their well-being, including preventive measures.

Oscar Bernhard (1861–1939) – Promoter of alpine medicine in the Engadin

A personality of outstanding importance for the development of the region was the doctor Oscar Bernhard. The foundation, which bears his name, is the publisher of this non-fiction book in which Heini Hofmann dedicates two chapters to this impressive personality. Because of his eventful biography and his manifold, beneficial work in the region – he was a mountain guide and rescuer, scholar of nature and conservationist, hunter, patron of the arts, numismatist – and pioneer in the development and application of sunlight therapy or heliotherapy.
  Oscar Bernhard was the son of a pharmacist, an expert of healing herbs who had made a name for himself by cultivating and processing musk milfoil into tea, wine, liqueur, bitters and cream. He was a co-founder of the Samedan District Hospital (Upper Engadin) and worked as a doctor and surgeon in a region where medical care for the people was still in its infancy. The need for doctors and hospitals increased at a time when mountain sports were on the rise. Bernhard’s particular attention was given to mountain rescue, for which he developed practicable methods that were widely disseminated, first by instructional boards and then by a brochure. Oscar Bernhard’s most prominent patient was probably his friend Giovanni Segantini (1858–1899), the painter of symbolic realism from northern Italy, with whom he went on mountain tours and hunting. After Segantini, who was only 41 years old, fell seriously ill and was dying, he stayed with him. A few years later, Bernhard founded the Segantini Museum in St. Moritz.
  In 1912, he founded the Private Clinic Dr Bernhard in St. Moritz village, which soon gained an excellent reputation. As the place had long since become a sought-after destination for celebrities from all over the world, the house was soon able to adorn itself with appropriate names: The King of Greece, the Prince Consort of Holland, the Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen and the Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, among others, stayed here.
  Giovanni Segantini’s son Gottardo paid tribute to Oscar Bernard after his death with moving words. He had “loved” the Engadin “humbly and devoutly. [...] All his actions as a tireless and helpful doctor, all his thinking and experimentation as a successful scientist [...] came from this great love. The son of Engadin lived and fought for his valley and the reputation of his deeds and his successes have become the glory of his country.” (p. 311)

Fresh-air reclining cures and sun therapy

In the 19th century, as a result of the industrial age, tuberculosis developed into a pandemic, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of people falling ill in Switzerland alone at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A milestone in the fight against the disease was the discovery of the tubercle bacillus by Robert Koch (1882). The Silesian doctor Hermann Brehmer developed the fresh-air reclining cure against pulmonary tuberculosis in sanatoriums specially designed for this purpose. These successes did not go unnoticed in Switzerland either: the country doctor Alexander Spengler in Davos made a start, and subsequently Arosa, Leysin and Montana developed into pulmonary health resorts.
  “The sun is the universal medicine from the apothecary in the heavens”, said the German poet August von Kotzebue (1761–1819), beautifully illustrating the fact that people have always known about the healing effects of the sun and have sought to use it for medicinal purposes – even in ancient times. And if a landscape was predestined to use the beneficial effects of our central star, then it was the high alpine Engadin.
  First in France at the end of the 18th century and especially in the 19th century, then also in Germany and Switzerland, light or sun therapy began to be used, mainly on an empirical basis, then gradually also on a scientific basis. Air and sunlight baths helped especially children and adolescents to recover from skin and lymph node diseases, which can favour the development of tuberculosis, and from general states of weakness.

The breakthrough of “sunlight treatment” or heliotherapy

This type of therapy received pioneering impetus from Oscar Bernhard, who was particularly concerned with curing tuberculosis of the bones and joints, the so-called “surgical tuberculosis”. A flash of inspiration gave him a bold idea: Bündnerfleisch (meat produced in the canton of Grisons), a speciality from Grisons, was originally created by exposing raw, salted beef to tanning and fresh air, thus drying and preserving it. Why not use the same method to dry and heal wounds? “I decided,” Bernhard wrote, “to try the antiseptic and drying effect of sun and air on living tissue as well. [...] Already after the first hour and a half of irradiation, a clear improvement was observed, and the wound presented a completely different appearance. The granulations [here: formation of tissue on healing wounds] became visibly more normal and vigorous, and the enormous wound skinned over under this treatment.” (p. 331)
  Subsequently, writes Heini Hofmann, a fair competition developed among experts, especially between Oscar Bernhard and Auguste Rollier from Vaud, who adopted Bernhard’s technique without simply imitating him. In contrast to Bernhard, who had started on a small scale in the private clinic he founded in the Engadin and was met with scepticism, Rollier received great support in his canton. Bernhard did not grudge him his success, and he was always aware that his colleague was the inventor of heliotherapy. However, both were exposed to hostility from colleagues.
  Bernhard also worked as a medical officer and military doctor in military hospitals in Germany, England and France during the First World War. In the German town Bad Dürrheim in the Black Forest he set up a sun clinic himself. He also promoted the spread of helio- and high-altitude climate therapy through lectures, articles in specialist journals and book publications. He received numerous awards at home and abroad for his services. However, with the breakthrough of chemotherapy (tuberculostatics) and the resulting practicable outpatient treatment, heliotherapy in specially established clinics had had its day.

The healing power of the mountains and the water

From the healing power of the sun now to mountain air and healing springs, which after a long prehistory in the middle of the 19th century made St. Moritz a world health resort. The author refers to the novel “Heidi”, written by the doctor’s daughter and writer Johanna Spyri. There, the sick girl Klara from Frankfurt a. M. learns to walk again in the Alps so that she can do without her wheelchair. Many plants, animals (e.g., ibex, marmot, bearded vulture), rocks and salts from the mountains have always been ascribed a special power as the milk and whey of the cows. The beneficial health effects of mountain air and water were also recognised and used early on.
  The first spring tapping was built in 1411 BC, to be precise, where the Mauritius Spring with its acidic and ferruginous water still bubbles up today, the highest medicinal spring at 1774 m above sea level. This spring has had a long and eventful history during which it was forgotten and not used for a long time. The Swiss father of healing springs and spa science, Theophrastus Paracelsus (1493–1541), became acquainted with the special benefits of the spring water on one of his journeys, which also took him to the Engadin, and reported on it. But a lot of time was to pass before the first breakthrough in its use was achieved …
  The author tells us about floods and earthquakes in the 16th century and about the second flourishing of the region in the 17th century, when the first members of the nobility and prominent people from Zurich already came to the area; travel reports from the 18th century, such as those by the Zurich doctor and naturalist Johann Jacob Scheuchzer (1672–1733), bear witness to the growing importance of the region and its healing waters. But the history of the St. Moritz healing spring, Hofmann says, reads like “a nightmare in which after every brief ray of hope a black hole opens up again”. (p. 94) A period of various disputes between driving forces and those who opposed the development of the place into a health resort with hotel accommodation and a spa house followed until the 19th century. A constantly controversial topic was the handling of the healing water springs; for example, people did not build proper taps for a long time out of fear that they could impair the quality of the water or out of the superstition that they could awaken evil spirits …2
  In 1831, a first public limited company, the Heilquellengesellschaft (spa association) was founded, which built a quite comfortable spa house; quarters for spa guests, on the other hand, were still a long time coming until 1853, when the "great liberating blow” (p. 97) came. A second joint-stock company with more capital was founded, which was provided with building materials by the commune and was exempted from taxation. In return, the company paid a rent and made the spring water available to the residents at half price – all in all, an expression of a “fundamental change of attitude on the part of the people of St. Moritz regarding their spring”. (p. 99)
  The second half of the 19th century saw another event, at first glance harmless. A bet between hotel and tourism pioneer Johannes Padrutt and his spa guests from England, made at the Kulm Hotel at the end of the summer season in 1869: he invited them to come in winter and enjoy the St. Moritz winter sun. If they didn’t like it, he would pay all their travel expenses. The Englishmen came in winter. They were more than enthusiastic and came again and again together with more and more winter sports enthusiasts ... Legend has it that Johannes Padrutt has been considered the inventor of the winter season ever since. (p. 322)3

“Rise to world spa – Thanks to water”

What follows is a real boom in the history of St. Moritz, turning it into a veritable world health resort, even to a “Versailles of the Alps”: The healing springs are captured and bubbling, prestigious buildings such as walking halls and halls to drink, a shopping street with sales outlets and cafés, promenades, spa buildings, a new kurhaus and generous parks with a three-storey fountain are built. In the open round pavilion in the centre of the spa park, the “shell”, spa concerts are given in fine weather. (Photo p. 122) Guests arrive by horse-drawn carriages from Chur over the Julier Pass, followed by horse-drawn carriages on which their luggage piles up in large suitcases.
  The happiness does not last long, as the author states once again: The expiry of a lease agreement between the commune and the Heilquellengesellschaft brings the next crisis. The contract is interpreted differently, a back and forth, a haggling is the result to the detriment of the preservation of the infrastructure. Finally, a court of arbitration decides that the commune of St. Moritz is to be awarded a large part of the entire facilities – namely the spring, the spa building and the kurhaus; the new kurhaus, the kurpark and further surrounding land go to a public limited company.
  What follows is a boom that is reflected in the overall renovation of the spa with mineral baths and light baths as well as steam baths, the increase in the number of bathing cells, the installation of a powerful heating system, etc., which represents a real push towards modernisation: it finally turns the former mountain farming village into a world-famous spa resort. The Belle Epoque hotel palaces with their luxurious furnishings, which meet the needs of the aristocracy and the upper middle classes, spring up like mushrooms. More and more railways are built, such as the first cable railway in the Engadin from Punt Muragl to the sunny terrace of Muottas Muragl, then railway lines such as the Bernina Railway (from 1910) between St. Moritz and Tirano (Veltlin), which is a Unesco World Heritage Site, and the connection to the Rhaetian Railway, which from then on linked St. Moritz with Chur.
  This brilliant development came to an abrupt end with the First World War: the “high life in the world spa resort of St. Moritz collapsed like a house of cards [...]. The loyal guests of many years, especially those from the former ruling and princely families, stayed away. Emperors, kings and princesses, who had just been real phenomena in the multicultural guest gallery, once again became abstract fairy-tale figures. […] During the war and in the years that followed, the baths in St. Moritz were only running on a low flame. […] A great emptiness yawned in the cosmopolitan village.” (p. 154)

Champagne in a glass instead of medicinal water in the bath and Winter Olympics

In the brief heyday of the twenties, actors and activities change: Now people from show business, fashion designers, artists, automobile and aircraft pioneers, business bosses, bankers, war profiteers and the nouveau riche come together. Parties, celebrations and sport are now the order of the day – bathing culture falls by the wayside. The first automobiles appear since the canton admits motor vehicles on its territory. So-called half-track vehicles cause a particular stir: these were stately posh cars with special skis under the steerable front wheels and caterpillar drive at the rear, which made the journey over the Julier Pass much easier and appear now in front of the hotels. The automobile manufacturer André Citroën himself had introduced the first prototypes.
  This period also saw the first Winter Olympics in 1928 (at that time only with competitions in the Nordic disciplines) with 492 athletes from 25 nations. In 1948 the place was given the honour once again.
  The Wall Street crash of October 1929 does not bode well: During the 1930s, bookings are sparse, they cannot stop the decline of tourism, even though personalities with resounding names such as Coco Chanel, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich and Enrico Caruso stay in St. Moritz. A number of committed spa doctors, in collaboration with circles concerned with the preservation of the healing springs, ensure that St. Moritz also survives as a spa resort.

After 1945 until today: Revival as a health resort

After the Second World War, at first mainly refugees and American soldiers come to the Engadin, but only temporarily to recover from the hardships of the war. There are various attempts to revive St. Moritz as a health resort: One plans and then also realises the renovation of the spa (1952 and 1976), raises awareness at universities (institutes for physical therapy) and increasingly cooperates with them, addresses the Federal Spa Commission and the Swiss Hotel Trust Company. Thanks to own research, one is able to offer tailor-made balneological as well as altitudinal and bioclimatic spa programmes, which attracts international attention and leads to patients being sent to St. Moritz. The range was expanded (offers for children, the elderly, athletes), since over time other places in Switzerland had followed suit with similar projects, which led to a certain market saturation.
  In the following decades, it was still a matter of holding one’s own on the market; this requires continuous renovations, maintenance work and new buildings to maintain the bathing facilities, the hotels and the parks. Different concepts have been competing with each other: while some have chosen modern tourism to appeal to a young, sports-loving public, others prefer to continue, maintain and expand the spa tradition with increased cooperation with human medicine. Should luxury-class wellness and fitness temples be operated where people could indulge in health care, anti-ageing and bathing pleasure, or should the spa tradition, which had made the rise of St. Moritz possible in the first place, be continued above all and permanently modernised through cooperation with universities and clinics? The author pays special attention to ownership (land and ground, buildings) and the role of various companies and investors (GmbH, AG, Holding), which played and still play an important role during the eventful history of this place.
  The last crisis dates from the beginning of this century, at the end of which the acting spa doctor Robert Eberhard and a dedicated physiotherapist named Britta Ahlden – both of whom are still in office today – put their heart and soul into their work. St. Moritz seems to be on quite a good path: For the time being, the Heilbad Medical Therapy Centre can be continued together with the Heilbad operation and in 2023/24 the new building of the Gut Clinic is to be opened on the Heilbad grounds. It is just a pity that there is no reference or link to the spa or to the importance of St. Moritz Bad as a spa on the St. Moritz Dorf website.

The Engadin high-altitudinal climate: a fountain of health and ideal for high-altitudinal training

In addition to the optimal use of the springs for health cures, the author is very concerned to explain the unique quality and beneficial effect of the climate and to emphasise the resulting opportunities for sports training. Here, too, he speaks of missed opportunities and understands his book as an appeal to do everything possible, at least from now on, to assign the region to its specific purpose in this respect as well.
  The characteristics of the climate in the high alpine dry valley can be outlined as follows: It is quite fresh in the mornings and evenings, pleasantly warm over lunchtime, there is less fog and clouds than elsewhere, humidity and rain are less, but the sunlight is stronger; the winds in winter are weak, the summer is pleasant because it is never too hot, there is snow for six months – all in all a health-promoting, gentle stimulating climate.
  An interesting phenomenon was first discovered in racehorses: when they were trained in the Engadin before competitions, they performed remarkably well. The crucial thing was that they also performed well in the lowlands, which was proof that they had been trained properly.
  Science is taking a closer look at the phenomenon. In humans, the same effect is subsequently observed, because in order to maintain or optimise the oxygen supply at altitude, the body produces more red blood cells. There is an economisation of cardiovascular behaviour, an improvement in blood sugar and blood fat metabolism and a decrease in thrombosis-promoting substances (p. 418) – a kind of “nature doping”, in other words. (p. 422) This fits with the observation that runners who have trained at high altitudes, such as in Kenya or Ethiopia, perform excellently. High-altitude training is particularly effective for athletes with high endurance performance such as runners, cross-country runners, cyclists, swimmers and rowers. Here, too, the author regrets that the opportunity was missed to turn St. Moritz into the real Magglingen (a town in the Bernese Seeland, home of the Federal Office of Sport and the Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen), exactly the same lapse as with the use of the healing springs: “Just as in II Bernhard’s time they did not want to dress up the emerging noble health resort with a sanatorium image, now they feared that only athletes in gym shorts and tracksuits would then run around in the jet-set destination, which might disturb the rest of the clientele.” (p. 420)
  In any case, countless people have benefited and will continue to benefit from the Engadin’s beneficial conditions for sporting activity. From bobsleighing and skeleton, cross-country and alpine skiing to sports on frozen lakes, the White Turf, a horse race (unique in the world), polo and ice sailing, from swimming and surfing to rowing and canoeing, from paragliding and cycling to mountaineering and climbing – the possibilities for practising sports are almost endless and are part of the region’s very big plus.

“Location is mission” – an appeal

The author concludes his work by once again pointing out his main concern: it is simply to avoid that the potential of St. Moritz and the Engadin continues to be underutilised and that Swiss tourism continues to lose market share – a development that is already underway, whereby the location and the region with its unique qualities play an important role. Heliotherapy disappeared into oblivion again, and the spa almost met the same fate. The famous acidulous water spring is “sunk in a dungeon and locked away where no one can see it, whereas emperors and kings used to make pilgrimages to it. It’s like Paris putting its Eiffel Tower in a box and letting it rust in the basement of the Pantheon.” (p. 444) The current discussion about the climate offers a chance, the author concludes, to bring climatic therapy back into the discussion and to give it the place it deserves, after modern apparatus medicine has been in the foreground for many years. The advantages of staying and taking a cure in a mountain region with its health-promoting high-altitude climate are obvious and should be given the place they deserve in modern tourism – and above all, of course, in St. Moritz and the Engadin.
  The author gets specific when he proposes the creation of an overall concept for a “triptych of spa culture” (p. 449), comprising a spa, sports centre (with indoor pool) and spa hotel. The health spa should stand out as a “medical centre of excellence under medical direction, as opposed to a profane temple of wellness” (ibid.) and ideally “resume the balneological-climatological research initiated by Oscar Bernhard” (ibid.). In this way, St. Moritz could even establish itself as an “opinion leader of alpine climatotherapy” (ibid.).
  As a reader – especially one who knows neither tourism science nor climatology, neither medicine nor spa medicine – one misses summaries of the content at the beginning or at the end of the chapters, which make the respective red thread easily recognisable. Nevertheless, one can only wish the author and his work that it will find many readers and realisers.
  “Health Myth St. Moritz” is a captivating and moving work that lays out before us a vast wealth of fascinating facts, stories and developments from antiquity to the present day that will not let you go so quickly. The author has spared no effort and no trouble to help the place and the region to the place they deserve with this basic work that meets scientific requirements – with the aim that they will also be preserved, with all their advantages and their beneficial potential, for future generations. In addition, the magnificent illustrations of the work make looking at the book a great experience in itself.  •



1 Hofmann, Heini. Gesundheits-Mythos St. Moritz, Sauerwasser – Gebirgssonne – Höhenklima. (Health myth St. Moritz. Sour water – mountain sun – mountain climate.) 3rd revised edition 2017 St. Moritz 2011 (first edition), 456 pages, Publisher: Dr. Oscar Bernhard-Stiftung, St. Moritz. Publishing House: Gammeter Media AG, St. Moritz. ISBN 978-3-9524789-0-3
2 The tapping of the St. Moritz fountain – the oldest wooden building in Europe, in: Current Concerns No 15, 12 July 2016
3 cf. also: Hofmann, Heini. “In the beginning there was a bet. The beginnings of winter sports”, in: Current Concerns No 7, 30 March 2021

Further sources:

Website of the MTZ Heilbad St. Moritz: http://www.heilbad-stmoritz.ch/english#home-en
The new Klinik Gut is being built in St. Moritz Bad, https://grheute.ch/2021/06/23/die-neue-klinik-gut-entsteht-in-st-moritz-bad/

Heini Hofmann was born in 1938 in Uetendorf near Thun, worked as a journalist, radio and photo reporter during his secondary school years and veterinary studies (residing on the Bern Minster Tower). After a stay in South America (with expeditions in Mato Grosso and Tierra del Fuego), he trained as a zoo veterinarian and animal gardener. He then worked as a veterinarian at the Basel Zoological Garden, then in food hygiene. He was then a veterinarian for the Swiss National Circus and director of the Rapperswil Children’s Zoo and its dolphinarium, as well as a consultant for the Austrian National Circus.
  He then worked as a popular lecturer, sought-after freelance science publicist and successful author: his bestselling book “Animals on the Swiss Farm” was honoured with the “Swiss Veterinary Prize” and the press awards “Pet Brehm” and “Animal Book of the Year”, “Switzerland’s most successful animal book”. His book was characterised as a “timeless standard document for school and family, fascinating, realistic and entertainingly written”. Heini Hofmann was also the initiator of various projects in the area of building bridges between agriculture and the agglomeration population (including the farm animal zoo at the Swiss Open-Air Museum Ballenberg).
  He spent most of his military service as a veterinary colonel in the Grisons (Bündnerland) – hence his affinity with the land of 150 valleys and the Engadin in particular. He lives in Rapperswil-Jona.

«Engiadina – Terra sana»

wp. Heini Hofmann ends his song of praise about St. Moritz and the Engadine with a selection of well-known personalities from literature, art, music and science who expressed their enthusiasm for this “magical landscape of power” (p. 435), including the poets Nikolaus Lenau, Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the painters Ferdinand Hodler and Giovanni Segantini, the composers, musicians and conductors Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Kempff, Clara Haskil, Herbert von Karajan, Dinu Lipati and Claudio Abbado and the scientists Paracelsus, Albrecht von Haller, Heinrich Zschokke, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen and Albert Heim. Here is a small selection of particularly poetic, sometimes pathetic eulogies of this swathe of land:
  “Farben, wie sie nur der reine Himmel der Hochalpen geben kann.” (Colours such as only the pure sky of the high Alps can give.) (Heinrich Zschokke)
  “Für ernste Wand’rer liess die Urwelt liegen in diesem Tal versteinert ihre Träume.” (For serious wanderers, the primeval world left their dreams petrified in this valley.) (Nikolaus Lenau)
  „Hier ist es so schön und still und so kühl, dass man die Rätsel des Daseins vergisst.“ (Here it is so beautiful and quiet and so cool that one forgets the riddles of existence. (Conrad Ferdinand Meyer)
  “An manchen Morgen, während ich minutenlang diese Berge betrachte, noch bevor ich zum Pinsel greife, fühle ich mich gedrängt, mich vor ihnen niederzuwerfen als vor lauter unter dem Himmel aufgerichteten Altären.” “Ich will Eure Berge malen, Engadiner, dass die ganze Welt von ihrer Schönheit spricht.” (Some mornings, while I gaze for minutes at these mountains, even before I reach for my brush, I feel impelled to prostrate myself before them as before altars erected under the sky. I want to paint your mountains, people of Engadine, so that the whole world will speak of their beauty.) (Giovanni Segantini)
  “O Himmel über mir, du Reiner! Du Lichtabgrund! Dich schauend, schaudere ich vor göttlichen Begierden.” (O heaven above me, you pure one! Thou abyss of light! Beholding thee, I shudder with divine desires.) (Friedrich Nietzsche)
  “Wir sind hier restlos begeistert und schlürfen die Luft der Gemsen wie französischen Champagner.” (We are completely enthralled here and sip the air of the chamois like French champagne.) (Richard Strauss)

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