Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Val d'Anniviers

A few times now Linda has gone off to various parts of Switzerland on her own, usually for some job-related activity. So far she has visited to Moudon, Bern, Geneva, Leukerbad, and I guess one or two other places. The other weekend, however, Linda was tied up with work and so it was my turn to have a solo adventure.

In my French class we had been shown a picture of Val d'Anniviers, near Sierre in Valais (just up the road from where we live, really). I didn't really know anything about the place but covering it in French class seemed like as good a reason as any to visit it.

I jumped on a train to Sierre, and then caught a postbus along the steeply winding road up the valley to Chandalin. From there I caught a lift to the top of the mountain, and then climbed on foot to the top of the nearest hill, which was bare of snow after some warm weather.

The view from the top was amazing. There was no clouds, no wind, and it was warm enough that I managed to get by in a t-shirt. I had a little picnic and took plenty of photos of the view before walking slowly down again.

Eventually I made my way back down into the town and caught another bus to Grimentz. I was disappointed that I couldn't catch the lift up the mountain because it was getting too late, but anyway I had gone to Grimentz because the town is meant to be one of the most picturesque in the valley, rather than for the mountains.

I walked around the town admiring the old challets with their burned-black wooden frames and strange, elevated floors. It would be an amazing place to come in the depths of winter, with snow covering everything, but I'm sure in summer it would be equally as attractive a town.

Soon enough it was time to start heading home and I climbed on another postbus to Sierre. It was getting dark but I thought I should have a look at Sierre before going home, which generally gets ignored as an access hub for the valleys, so I tried to locate a couple of the Chateaux mentioned in my guidebook. I found them, without a map and in the half-light of dusk, and they certainly improved my impression of the town. Inevitably, I ended up taking a cross-country bolt in the dark through some private vineyards in order to make my train home.

It was certainly a fun adventure but, of course, less fulfiling than it might have been, without Linda to share it with.

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