Wednesday, 18 February 2009


On Friday evening we jumped in the car and drove up the Valais to Leukerbad. Linda had visited Leukerbad last year for work, and liked it so much she wanted to take me there and see it again.

We arrived in the freezing cold (it has been an unusually cold winter), drove up the snow-covered streets and checked into our hotel. We had a brief walk around the town and found ourselves some traditional Swiss cuisine for dinner (I had a Rosti).

The next day was quite overcast, so we slept in, had a big breakfast, and headed lazily over to some of the hot spring baths for which Leukerbad is famous (it is the highest spa resort in Europe).

We spent a couple of hours drifting from pool to pool, of varying temperatures and 'features', one of which that was outside in the open air, amongst the snow and mountains that surround Leukerbad. The outdoor pool was our favourite, with submerged chairs, bubbles and high pressure jets. The air outside was so cold the steam actually turned to ice in my hair.

Afterwards we had a massage, but I was really let down by this since it was a bit too Swiss in style. Forget about candles and whale songs; because I arrived 10 minutes late (not my fault) the masseuse told me my massage would be reduced by 10 minutes, the music was bad 90s, and the rooms were more hospital than hippy. I was actually more relaxed before the massage!

On Sunday we got moving a bit earlier - we woke up to find that the clouds had blown away and we were left with crystal clear skies.

We took the cable car up to the Gemmi pass, which is an incredible journey in itself, as the cable feels almost vertical as you approach the top, and the drop is enormous. From the top you had an amazing view over the alps and could clearly see Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.

We walked on and around the frozen lake that is in a basin at the top of the pass, and proceeded down the valley (we had snow shoes and ski clothes, but there was plenty of Swiss strolling past us in jeans and casual shoes - hardy mountain folk we are not).

The views were amazing; there had been a lot of snow over the previous week, and combined with the clear skies were had an incredible view of the surrounding mountains.

We walked past the restaurant which marks half way of the whole walk, and continued on a bit further for our own picnic lunch, before heading back towards our starting point.

After the walk we headed back down to Leukerbad for a recouperating spell in the baths again. This time we were there for sunset and the skies turned dark blue behind the mountains and looked really amazing.

All in all we had a really relaxing and fun time in Leukerbad, opening our eyes to the Swiss spa scene and making us keen for more in the future!

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