Hotel du Castel
Rue du Scex 38, Sion, 1950, Switzerland
More about Sion
Chapelle Tous-ls-Saint / All Saints chapel in Sion
Château de Tourbillon / Tourbillon castle in Sion
Blonde 25, Bière Valaisanne
Fountain in the city centre
Driving over the Simplon Pass
Visiting Valais 19th Aug. and want to visit an old friend who lives in cugnasco, a little worried about driving over the Simplon Pass as I'm not used to driving over mountain roads and also not used to driving on the left. Is it a dangerous route and did I see a train route that brings cars some of the way, also would that be very expensive. A little worried. Would appriciate honest opinions.
Re: Driving over the Simplon Pass
The Simplon pass is one of the easy to drive ones (Especially on the Swiss side). Really, don't worry.
As far as I know the car transport on the train is only offered in winter.
Re: Driving over the Simplon Pass
The Simplon is definitely not a problem. It is even used by the big trucks and semi's and it is open all year round. (Except an occasional avalange) The road is from Brig to Gondo (Swiss-Italien border town) very wide, after that until Domodossola it get's a bit narrower but there the hairpin curves are over anyway. Don't take the train if you don't have to! You would miss one of the most scenic area of the alps. From which side do drive into the alps anyway? From lake Geneva there is a good motorway to Sion or a.k.a. Sitten. From there to Brig it takes another 45 minutes. But if you come from Basel, Zurich or Berne take the road to Thun - Spiez - Kandersteg. Then the car is loaded on the train (CHF 25.-) and for 15 minutes you're in the Tunnel to Goppenstein. From there to Brig it takes about 30 minutes. Have fun! Martin
Re: Re: Driving over the Simplon Pass
Thanks so much for all the advice, it really is much appreciated, and now I know of course I can drive it. Just me a little anxious about the mountain roads.
Travel Tips for Sion
TRADIONAL WOODEN HOUSES
In spite of the Contemporary Swiss Architecture is considered particularly innovative, we all know more about TRADIONAL WOODEN HOUSES than the recent projects by the Swiss architects Mario Botta and Herzog & de Meuron.
Traditional houses in the mountains were built by wood the ever growing material.
The traditional Square Timber Style is a very old and durable way of building a house.
You can find houses hundreds of years old that are built that way and still in good condition. Key factors are a good roof, regularly maintained, and a solid foundation that keeps the moisture from raising into the wood structure from the ground. Often a big overhang on the roof is used to protect the sides from the elements. Often there is also a big stone over the stilts to protect the wood . . . from the mice!! (thanks Patrick for this interesting note :)
Not only the structure of houses is made of wood but often also the facades of houses are richly decorated using woodcarving.
WALL DECORATIONS and CHIP CARVING
This tip is about SIERRE a village very close to SION,
so a perfect place to spend some hours and easy to reach by train.
Wandering among nice houses in the Old Town of Sierre, I noticed some pretty decorations hung on the walls or on the doors/windows.
It was also funny to see this happy family in a small niche (pic. n°1).
Sometimes the owners were proud of showing wooden items outside their dwellings.
This form of working wood is chip carving in which knives are used to remove small chips of wood from the project surface in a single piece. This carving is normally used for the decoration of everyday objects, such as milk stools, neckband for bells, wooden spoons or walking sticks.
Free city map and brochures
Don't forget to pick up a free city map and some brochures or leaflets about Sion and the surrounding region at the Tourist Office.
They have various maps with useful descriptions of the main sights available and the staff is very helpful and friendly.
Sion's Main Tourist Office is situated at the southern side of the Place de la Planta, right in the heart of the city centre.
Address: Office du Tourisme de Sion, Place de la Planta, 1950 Sion
Hike along the Bisses de Clavau
We started the hike along the “bisses” or Suonen in German in St. Léonard. The bisses are small water channels built along the mountains in order to water the hills. On this walk you will find them in the vinyards.
In St. Léonard you start the walk in the part of Uvrier. Coming from the underground lake you walk towards Sion until you hit the river coming down the hill. There you will find the hiking paths signs.
After leaving St. Léonard the path takes you up quite steeply through the vinyards until you reach the water channel. You then follow the water channel until you end up above Sion. There are a couple of places where you can go down to Sion. Along the way you enjoy superb views on the Rhone valley and the surrounding mountains. Somewhere along the path there are some vines of old species. You will see information about it hanging there. Unfortunately not in English though.
The hike takes about 2,5 hours and you could do the hike the other way round. Check out my
St. Léonard page for more information.
Wine discovery Provins
Provins is one of the main wine producer in Valais. Many winegrowers (called member) bring their harvest to this cooperative for the wine making by oenologists.
Some of my favourite are Maître de Chais and Mémoire du Temps , Domaine Tournelette and my last discovery is a fine Pinot Noir Domaine du Perrec Selection Philippe Rochat 2002 (one of our finest Swiss Cook).
Each year in November, I go to the Vente à Quai (direct sales from the cellar) to taste the new vintage, discuss with the oenologists and discover some fine wine for my own cellar.
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