Wallis / Valais

Canton Wallis (the German name) or Valais (the French name) encompasses a long, wide valley and many neighbouring valleys and mountain ranges in the middle of the Swiss Alps.

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The flying rubbish truck

The rubbish collection service at Bettmeralp – a car-free village in the mountains of upper canton Valais – must be unique in the world. In the absence of any road connection to the village, a 7.5-tonne lorry is carried up and down the mountain by cable-car.

The flying rubbish truck

Breithorn, Zermatt

The valley at Zermatt is surrounded by nearly three dozen peaks with summits higher than 4,000 metres above sea level. The Breithorn is well-known as the “easiest” to ascend: although easiness is, of course, a matter of reference. The number of tiny, ant-like climbers on the slopes leading from the Breithorn Plateau was quite amazing, when Jo and I visited the…

Breithorn, Zermatt
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Die Bergretter – Air Zermatt

Fast anderthalb Stunden in Begleitung der «Rotbiene»: der Rettungsdienst von Air Zermatt rund ums Matterhorn. Wenn ich mit 28 mit mehr Geld im Konto in die Schweiz gekommen wäre, wäre ich Helikopterpilot geworden. Weil meine Geschichte diesen Weg nicht folgte, muss ich mich mit ein paar Touristenflüge pro Jahrzehnt und das Zuschauen von solchen Dokumentarfilmen zurecht finden.

Die Bergretter – Air Zermatt

Furka Pass, Switzerland

The Furka Pass, between Gletsch in canton Wallis and Realp in canton Uri, is one of the high alpine pass routes, only open between June and (approximately) October because of heavy winter snow falls in the region. The pass road is well known to James Bond fans, as it was featured in Goldfinger in 1964. (Watch out for Bond’s radar display: it shows Goldfinger to be near…

Furka Pass, Switzerland

Aigle, Switzerland

The castle at Aigle, near the western end of the Valais, was originally two fortifications. It’s a picture-book scene, but harks back to serious use in the fifteenth century, when it was already over two hundred years old. Today, it sits peacefully amongst expansive vineyards and welcomes tourists from all over the world.

Aigle, Switzerland

Gries Pass

Attempting to get away from baking temperatures, we headed for the mountains and a hike across summer snow fields to the Gries glacier.

Gries Pass

Gries Pass, Switzerland/Italy

The border between Switzerland and Italy lies along the alpine chain, and there are several roads which cross the border from north to south. But there are naturally many other places where one can cross the border with a little more effort. Around an hour and a half’s walk from the Nufenen Pass road, a hiking trail leads from the dam at…

Gries Pass, Switzerland/Italy

Mountains of Valais

A wonderful time-lapse sequence from the southern borders with Italy, ranging from the Nufenen Pass to Zermatt and the Matterhorn. Film maker Christian Mülhauser writes: Through fog, rain, snow and even wind gusts of up to 120 km/h I am happy to have completed this project. Mountains of Valais is by far my most time consuming venture,…

Mountains of Valais

Back in Zermatt

Zermatt is one of the Swiss destinations most well-known outside Switzerland, thanks mainly to its proximity to the Matterhorn, probably the most famous mountain in the country.

Back in Zermatt

Cross-country skiing

Jo learned to ski in Scotland when she was younger. After living here for several years now, she decided that it was about time to give cross-country skiing another try and give me my first shot at trying, as I'm not keen on regular skiing and had never tried cross-country before.

Cross-country skiing