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July 2nd 2018

A little rest after all the activities!

This morning I took off from Hotel Weisshorn already at half past seven, after a powerful breakfast of (again) Birchermüesli (this version was also very nice, because it was richly filled with blueberries and red currants) and home made prune jam on good white bread. The world looked still cool and fresh with the morning dew.

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St. Luc: leaving Hotel Weisshorn for the valley

I chose the steep descent to St. Luc through the forest on a track that in winter can be used by snowshoe hikers. Hotel Weisshorn is also open during a part of the winter season. In the forest workers had been busy cutting down trees: a lot of long logs of firs were laying on the ground, their branches already stripped off. Apparently they had still found time for some artistic work: mushrooms! The person in Leukerbad who has sawn the “couch” clearly is more oriented to the practical side. Last year in Elm (Canton of Glarus) I also saw a real piece of art.

For the steep descent I had counted about one-and-a-half hour, so that I would be in plenty of time for the 9.52 hrs. Postal car from St. Luc. On my way I also saw, besides the wooden mushrooms, nice views on the opposite mountain slope above St. Jean, lighting up in the morning sun and noticed an exuberant pole with the concise text: “Le Centre” and the combination “612.813”. Hereby is meant the geographical centre of Canton of Valais. According to the Swiss Bundesamt für Landestopografie (The Swiss Federal Department of Topography) the centre is in this very spot near Gillou at a height of 1.870 m. above St. Luc with the coordinates E 612.813/N 117.582.

I approached more and more St. Luc – the temperature rose as well. I could very well imagine that yesterday in the Rhône Valley near Sierre it had been around 34°C! Without a doubt the heat had also been excellent for the hay, that was stacked in the back of the minivan. The leaf blower, the rake and the collecting bags were laying on the ground. Looking back I spotted Hotel Weisshorn high up the mountain top.

At the outskirts of the village, near the sport accommodations of Le Prilet, is a small chapel at the side of the road, dedicated to “Notre Dame de la Route”. At the bottom of the cutlery the text “Notre Dame de la Route protégez-nous” is engraved – “Our Lady of the Road protect us”. That should suffice ‒ together with the “Saint Christopher” on my bracelet.

Well…, in the end it did! When I arrived at St. Luc actually in good time and I was patiently waiting in front of the small supermarket (with “sérac” on offer), the 9.52 hrs. Postal car came around the corner and … drove by! O dear, it would not be happening to me that after all my preparations…! I ran with my luggage, waving and shouting, after the bus – that appropriately held at the bus stop! Silly of me: I should have noticed that the bus stop was situated some 150 meters further on. I stormed into the bus, completely breathless. “Respirez, Madame, respirez!” the bus driver gently said (Breath on, Madame, breath on). He asked where I was going, “pas de problème” – no problem: he had all destinations in Switzerland in his computer. By the time I had spelled “Scuol-Tarasp” and that I wished to travel by Berne and Landquart, I had caught my breath again… And I had my ticket in the pocket.

From there the bus ride to Sierre was uneventful. This time I was able to have a closer look to the steep slopes and the deep ravines alongside the road from St. Luc to Sierre. Somewhere in the depths flows the river Navizence from the mountain areas where yesterday I had been hiking so happily, towards the Rhône.

From Sierre the journey by train first took me to Visp, past the area where during my stay in Leukerbad I had been hiking on Stage 98 of the Red Trail. It is funny to notice that I now see far more details than before! After Visp it took 20 minutes to travel the 35 kilometres through the Lötschberg-Base Tunnel. After the changes in Berne and Zürich I reached more familiar grounds again: along the Walensee Lake, where the summerly warmth, but also the thundery weather, could be seen from the air conditioned train.

The journey continued from Landquart by the narrow gauge railway of the Rhaetian Railways; there the windows can still be opened normally, nicely fresh, but not so nice in the tunnels… The scenery to the north side of the Vereina tunnel near Klosters is lovely and green – especially now with the contrasting billowing clouds.

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Prättigau: en route with the Rhaetian Railway between Landquart and Klosters

At 16.15 hrs. I arrived in Scuol and I was happy to stay in Hotel Altana again. During the low season they have innovated a lot in the hotel. I got a beautiful, renewed room with a view to the southside. Here I will be able to relax in the days to come! It feels good to be back here.