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Chi viva in spraunza mora chejond—
He who lives in hope dies in misery.
(Val Müstair proverb. "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.")


Ida, Carl and Jon Fasser.

The Rumantsch word for the Swiss stone-pine is "dschember" (German: Arvenholz). It is with this wood that the stür, adjacent to the sulèr, is lined. Characteristic of the Swiss stone-pine are not only its resinous smell, but also its many knots; because of their darker colour, these are clearly visible in the panels of walls and ceiling. In contrast, the floor of the stür is made of hardwood; softer types of wood were not good enough here because they wear out so quickly. While the Chasa Chalavaina was being refurbished in 1965 and the old floor was removed, another three layers of boards were discovered underneath. The timber was so worn away that the harder knots protruded like small mushrooms.


Quite close to the front wall with its windows, a step runs obliquely through the inn, an indication of how the Chasa Chalavaina grew in stages. During the seventeenth century two storeys were added to the original single-storey shops. The step came into being during this expansion as a result of the original lay-out of the outside walls. The panelling in this part of the stür, as you would expect, is more recent. Here too —and for the same reason—there is no sign of the mats' having been in the stür. On the other hand, they have left their mark for ever beside the tiled stove, which seems to have been their favourite place. With a clumsy hand, they scratched spear-heads and crosses into the wood of this projecting section of wall.


In the stür we also learn about the different owners of the Chasa Chalavaina, to the extent that that ownership is known. Although there is no record of who ran the inn up to the time of the Calven battle, we do know the identity of Benedikt Fontana's hosts. They were the patrician Hermann family. Their coat of arms hangs over the door into the stür. It is carved with artistry and shows a stylised tree, over it a helmet with a dove. According to Erwin Poeschel, author of the multi-volume work "Die Kunstdenkmäler des Kantons Graubünden" ("Works of Art of the Canton of Grisons"), the coat of arms must have been carved around 1500. The same insigniacan be seen in a rather simpler version on the door dividing the outside staircase from the terrace; the year marked is 1593.
From the Hermann family came an Abbess of the Convent of St. Johann. A massive tombstone in her memory stands just beside the entrance to the convent church, on the right.

The Pernsteiner family were the next recorded owners of the Chasa Chalavaina. Their era ended with the death of Tonet Pernsteiner in 1879. His portrait, painted in oils, hangs in the stür. With his demise, the tradition of running the Chasa Chalavaina as an inn was also lost. Farming was the sole occupation of the two peasant families who next moved in. Only when it was acquired by its current owners, the Fasser family (Val Müstair people from the fourteenth century on), did the house once again come to be managed according to its original purpose. After running the nearby "Münsterhof" together for 30 years, Carl and Ida Fasser bought the Chasa Chalavaina in 1958. In 1965 they restored the building superbly, with help from both the Canton of Grisons and the Swiss state.


Since the death of Carl Fasser in 1975, his wife and son Jon have run the Hotel Chasa Chalavaina. Carl Fasser, apart from being a hotelier, was also a teacher, President of the Val Müstair Raiffeisen savings bank and holder of several public offices; his memory is kept fresh by a large black and white photograph in the stür.

 

 
 

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