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Old 10-22-2013, 05:00 PM   #31
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LOVING IT!!









Time to pack up and go…







What a weird lump of rock just standing there…and then someone came along and glued a little hut to it.












WOWWWW!!







After all the rain the last couple of days…a muddy waterfall or watery mudflow?
Just check that big rock up there, the size of a delivery van.
Don't want to be around when that comes sliding/ bouncing down...












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Old 10-22-2013, 05:10 PM   #32
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Let's get through this…quick!







Another rock/water/mud-fall


















The parting shots make the heart melt…again!!











Heading straight for the main valley floor via Conthey, it's a quick dogleg for the climb up the other side of the main valley through Vex and Heremence to Thyon-Les Colons trying for a stay at La Cambuse.

A bit of horseplay up the hill with Tim and Dave in hot pursuit, those empty roads are just too tempting!





While the doors are open, literally!... there's nobody home…a few calls later it's confirmed that they're closed for a couple of days.

RATZ! It sure looks like a great spot and the recommendation I got for the place praised it sky-high.
Time to get serious, do a few more bends and find a place, possibly for 2 nights as it looks like our luck is running out.

The Ibis-Hotel in Sion is one of those generic quick-stop budget-places at the fringe of town.
Super-functional, well-sorted, very convenient…but with a soul and feel of a steel door.
Still, if in the area and a good, clean bed is needed quickly, it's a safe bet unless you're happy to spend twice as much, and then some, and move into one of the old, long-established places closer to town.

There's a small eating place down the road with a bubbling Fondue-Pot.
Can't say no to the local cheese, the stuff's heaven-on-a-fork.




A bit of a shaky shot at full zoom of the Basilique de Valere above Sion wraps a cracker of a day that will long be remembered. Tops, mate...BLOODY TOPS!!

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Old 10-22-2013, 06:35 PM   #33
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fantastic!

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Old 10-22-2013, 09:46 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g®eg View Post
fantastic!
Stunning little road going up to the Col du Sanetsch, the vistas are something else.
Thanks for looking in
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:05 PM   #35
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An Aussie raid hits the well-stocked Ibis breakfast buffet like a bomb, looks like everyone's enjoying stuffing their face in the mornings by now.

No rush…everything outside is dripping , tufts of fog bouncing between the ground and the low clouds like yoyos….looks like we're in for another day of miserable weather.
Yesterday's starting head cold has also taken firm control of my schnozzer and throat, eyes and nose going hammer and tongs in the "water-ing" department.
We've still got 2-3 days worth of plans for the lower Valais area…but the weather might be better on the southern side of the main ridge, maybe Aosta, maybe further south, who knows?
Staying and "riding it out?...or…punching through the crap across the Great St. Bernard into Northern Italy?

A fleeting moment of "light" on the old ruins above the city swings the rudder towards hanging in and using up our "buffer-day" early in the trip.

Let's check out Sion…or Sitten, as it was called until not all that long ago.
Settled a few 1000 years BC, it certainly has a bit of real history.

Not to mention its existence as a "McPope-franchise"…as one might call one of the oldest dioceses of the Catholic Church north of the Alps... in modern speak.
Some informative reading on Wiki, here.










The "ray of enlightenment" doesn't last long though…another blackbelly dumps it's load on our way across the swollen Rhone river…





…for another short, bright glimpse at the old + new in one frame.
Nice shot, mate…and it shows up that things are still pretty much the same, even if there are a few centuries or so in between.





Remember that stretch of road yesterday? Only THAT wide, mate, I tellya…





How about a ladder to get onto a bridge to get onto a ladder to get off a bridge?
Looks all a bit complicated to me….but should work, eh?





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Old 10-24-2013, 07:38 PM   #36
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Beautiful!!







How thick must those wall be for the windows to be that deeply recessed?










They were a bit shorter then






A little "praying corner" in a semi-cellar-come-arcade-come-sheltered-entrance









Medieval spiral staircase…still in everyday use.










Another medieval piece of gear…













Some rays of sunshine on the wet-glistening slate roof of the Petit Theatre in the Old Town…it's the real thing, not just a name.











Impressive?? Hell yeah!











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Old 10-24-2013, 07:43 PM   #37
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You look…you see! And there's a lot more to the place than apparent at first glance.




























Big restoration works in progress.














One for the Tornanti crew…c'mon, jam it in, folks!
Dave first…how was that overtake move on that Fiat van yesterday? Spill the beans, sinner!
Perhaps we should book in for a fortnight or so…






Have a look at THAT, mate!





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Old 10-24-2013, 07:46 PM   #38
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On the return, the sun comes out to stay, yeeha!



The place is just dead-gorgeous.

















































Look what I found, look what I found!!






Lunch


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Old 10-24-2013, 07:54 PM   #39
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Looks like Dave's confession regarding his infatuation with bright-red Ducati-loafers has found a sympathetic ear 'upstairs" and the curse was lifted…the morning's blackbellies are vanishing fast, the afternoon sun burns dry the ever-shrinking puddles and we're good for a short commute up-valley to St. Leonard and the fabled Lac Souterain, the Underground Lake.







Communal wine-press







Lac Souterain , here's the blurb:

Quote:
The subterranean lake of St-Leonard is located in Switzerland, along the Rhone valley, between Sion and Sierre in the heart of the Swiss Alps.
With a length of around 300 meters this is the largest natural underground lake in Europe which can be explored by boat.
During a 30 minute boat trip on the crystal clear water, you will enjoy the peace of this amazing place while your guide explains all sorts of fascinating details about the origin and the history of the underground lake.













Pretty thin on the details or anything else substantial, it rather turns into a MickyMouse affair of " can you see the Crocodile without a tail in that rock over there"….."and there's another crocodile with 2 heads", rahhrahh.

It's obvious our "guide" is bored shitless with his job… but shutting that out, it is interesting to hear how the glacial melt finds its way through the rock strata into these caverns, which apparently extend for another 1.5km after the current 'back-wall" section, which is a roof cave-in creating 2 underground water reservoirs, both of which are tapped to supply the local towns and villages.






















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Old 10-24-2013, 08:00 PM   #40
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Domestic tranquility…
With Lac Souterain written off as a flop, the washing's on the line…




….and the praying out of the way, the next main chore is the hard task of finding the right place for the night's festivities…and the Roesti's at the in-house Ibis restaurant prove the surprise winner.







Try to get THAT bottle at that price in Oz…
(add roughly 15% for Aussie$)






Or THAT!!
(add roughly 15% for Aussie$)







Well, time to pack it in for the day, gobble a pack of Vicks Vapo drops, wipe those laughing tears off the chin...and hit the sack.





Tomorrow: A day of Gold, Europe's Highest Dam, Earth Pyramids, a brush with the military, dodgem-bikes in the dollhouse village, our castle in the vineyards and more.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:46 AM   #41
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Nature's early morning lightshow…we're in for a good one, baby!!






Tacking south into the Val d'Herens….a quick view over the shoulder into the Valais valley.





On the cards is a day of bouncing around the lower Valais and its side-valleys…and there's LOTS of stuff to discover. Let's use the solitude of the early morning to get this crazy zigzag started…first up, the Barrage de la Grande Dixence, Europe's highest dam and the World tallest gravity dam.


"Le Ritz" Hotel is at least as ugly as what that dam wall is like…looks like the place used to be the workers quarters during construction.








And there's even a pique-nique area for the summer-guests…






The last 10 k's or so have been in the shade of the high mountains and it's BLOODY COLD! Heated grips roasting on full, or not…the fingertips are white. Let's go downvalley for a little sun…and those mud-pyramids at Euseigne.


Oh boy…this is turning into a cracker of a day!





Coming out of Euseigne…







…there's no sign, no warning, nothing but the distraction of a quick look down the valley to see the perfect "hairpinned" driveway…and personal vineyard, of course! Check the little patch below the buildings.






Then it's a lefthander with a little road branching off to the right and BANG!!...there they are!!











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Old 10-28-2013, 02:54 AM   #42
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Towards Evolene a little, then zag north again to St. Martin.
A few superb k's here, stunning k's there…










Views across the Valais again…









From here things get a little tricky…and very, very scenic!!











....trying to find the right track/ road to get us around the base of the side-valley and along the balconies of the Valais into the mouth of the next side-valley…call that impossible when faced with a steepening gravel track dropping rapidly into the Valais with a sheer rock wall on the right, negating any quick slip-across into the next side-valley.

But the views…oh maaan!!











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Old 10-28-2013, 03:02 AM   #43
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Today's juice-controller…Andrew, the man at the schnozzle.







Filling up a half-dozen bikes has become a 5min job at worst…with petrol paid out of the group-pot, it's a one-lane, one schnozzle affair, bikes getting filled and pushed out of the way immediately to make room for the next one, two, three. Everyone keeps the flow going, the group-banker pays cash out of the common pot and we're back on the road in no time at all.

It all looks like a bit of a military operation to the locals…but it's the fastest way to get the job done and back to the important stuff.

Despite the hour, the down-valley commute past Martigny to Bex isn't too bad, where we trip over the Salt Mines (and more!) just where the road starts to climb up the valley towards Gryon and Villars.





It also looks like the mines were used as a storage facility for the "Etat de Vaud"…the region's riches and wealth being stored in those mines and tunnels from 1700 to the mid-1900's.





The buildings certainly look period enough for it.





Don't really have to be a French-speaker for that…LOVE the sign for being that much less sterile than our own here in Oz. They make you LOOK!!





Another artistic rain spout.








Out the back of the place…





I think I just found a little backroad….





Looks like they're generating their own power to run this place...now that roaring whitewater out the back makes sense!


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Old 10-28-2013, 03:11 AM   #44
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A few k's up the road…and we're in "$$$$-town". This is it!


Villars sur Ollon, the place where "new money", including the former and current greats of the Formula1 and MotoGP circuses spend their spare time, go skiing, spruik themselves to the Paparazzi for the annual snow-bunny and family shots for the trash-mags and otherwise enjoy their mountain tax-haven lodges.


Make no mistake…this is one hell of a scenic place with all the right bits in the right places. Including their own 4km long scenic tramway that runs along the "sun-terraces" of the bigger private lodges terminating in the shopping hub of the chalet-village. Neat!








OI, DOUG!!























It's a bit of an effort leaving that Patisserie…



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Old 10-28-2013, 03:17 AM   #45
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…climbing back on the bike for a slow crawl across the short Col de la Croix.

Trying to stitch some accommodation for tonight, I'm faced with a waterfall in French that make the little Nokia pop its rivets.
The friendly and excited female voice on the other side is somewhere near Martigny and finally I get my 3 words in, asking for the chance to stay a couple of nights as the weather looks like it could hang in for another pearler.

I get another serve of how to find the place, a tiny B+B in a typical local house in the vineyards above Fully, across the valley from Martigny.
Renovated and modernized recently with local timbers and materials and enough space to hold the 6 of us. No worries, we'll find the place…found everything else in the past.

With that sorted, here are the next 17k's into the town of Les Diablerets then…let the pix do the talking.






































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