A local beer brand in the Canton du Valais is the Walliser Bier (German name) or Biere Valaisanne (French name).
The brewery was founded in 1865 in Sion. In 1972 it was acquired by the Feldschlösschen brewery which is Switzerland's largest brewery.
Popular beer types include their lager and the "Blonde 25" which is a fashionable light beer. It was launched in 1992 and became a huge success among young people.
Walliser Bier (Biere Valaisanne): http://www.valaisanne.ch/
Blonde 25: http://www.blonde25.ch/
One of the most famous Swiss customs is the playing of the Alpenhorn. The origins of this wonderful instrument are not really known, but it was once used as a means of calling in the cows for milking. I would imagine that the principle of playing the Alpenhorn is similar to that used Down Under when playing the Didgeridoo (although the end product is quite different.)
I was lucky to find these two guys playing outside of the Catholic Church in the main square in Zermatt late one afternoon.
Whilst walking along the main street of Zermatt I kept noticing that the road was covered in what looked like patches of horse manure. Anyway, I kept dodging them and didn't think much more about it until I noticed a poster in our hotel advertising the "La Promenade des Chevres" - the goats tour.
Basically, each morning (around 9am) and each afternoon (around 5pm), a herd of goats are paraded along the main street. How could we miss out on that!
One morning, at about 8.45am, we headed just up the road from our hotel to the church square and got into position. Just a few minutes later the goats appeared, being herded by a group of kids.
I am partial to goats and these were beauties - long haired, with their front half black and their back half white, and with lovely long horns. So we snapped a few photos as they passed, and then dodged the poo on the way back to the hotel.
In 2008, the 'goats tour' took place each day between the 21st of June until the 16th of August.
When I think of Switzerland, I think of mountains, cows with bells, and chocolate! This country is a chocolate lovers paradise. Not only are there numerous speciality chocolate shops to browse and shop in, but pop into any supermarket, food hall, tourist shop etc and you will be confronted by a massive display of tasty Swiss chocolatey goodness.
I have a soft spot for Lindt chocolate, and didn't bore of looking at the large selection on offer. I may have sampled a few varieties you can't seem to buy in the UK, and bought a few blocks home too. We did taste some other brands of Swiss chocolate, but none of them compared to my precious Lindt.
My favourite purchase was a blue Lindt tin with a picture of the Matterhorn on the top, which was filled with chocolate. I bought it at a souvenir shop in Zermatt, expecting that I paid way too much for it. I saw the exact same tin at the Geneva airport on our way home, and it was double the price that I had paid! Lesson for the day - souvenir shops aren't always a rip off.
The 1. of August is Swiss National Day. There are celebrations all over the country. Therefore as well in Zermatt. You will get to see lots of people dressed in traditional folklore cloths. Normally there is a big firework show(if it is not too dry and fire danger alert). Check at the tourist information for exact programme of the day. Sometimes they serve free Valais wine during the fireworks show and you will hear Swiss traditional music. I think it is quite an interesting day for tourist. Swiss people have the day off and it might be crowded everywhere on that day.
Although Switzerland is situated in the centre of Europe it is neither a member of the European Union nor does it have the Euro as currency.
The official currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF). The smaller denomination is called Rappen ( 100 Rappen = 1 CHF).
As all countries around Switzerland use the Euro as official currency, many shops and restaurants catering to tourists will accept payment in Euro but probably not at the best rate.
You can get your Swiss Francs from many cash points or exchange offices all around the town. Credit cards are widely accepted.
Zermatt is very popular with tourists from Japan, therefore Zermatt is twinned with two Japanese towns.
Since the 30th September 1994 Zermatt has had a friendship with Myoko Kogen, which merged with Arai and Myoko City to become Myoko City in 2005. It is home to the active volcano Mount Myoko (2454 m).
Zermatt's second Japanese twin town is Kyoto. The friendship was established in summer 2004.
Bronze relief tablets of the two friendships can be found in the the so called "Myoko Corner" which is located just next to the St. Mauritius Church.
One of the most picturesque characteristics of Valais, they are the “raccards” with wood pillars, high on a cellar in masonry. These pillars, called pintails, are surmounted large round stones. The purpose of these broad stones were to prevent the famished rodents, such as rats, field mice and other small beasts, to climb in the raccard and to devour the invaluable food there stored.
The interior contains a surface and an attic. The first is used to beat the grain (rye, barley, oats), which one separates from the ball in a van; then the straw is piled up. The attic shelters the provisions of the mountain dweller: dried meat, sausages and hams, and the tasty cheeses which it let refine.
Currently, many raccards are forsaken; because the meat products, fresh or dried meat, can be bought with the store into the most insulated villages, and even the cheese parts are not any more manages preserved in the attics. One can be delighted when these raccards abandoned is not demolished; there is even which is transformed into country cottages of holidays with much of care, so that the raccard valaisan, thus maintained in its structure and its aspect with the periphery of the localities, survives.
The Swiss really know their cheese and they make some nice wines as well...so, I decided to do myself the favor of a sampling (or two) of wine and cheese just before boarding the train to leave Zermatt....
And there's no better place to sample the local goods than Josi Cheese & Wine...
Zermatt will not be the same without Mr. Inderbinen - a legendary Matterhorn guide.
Dec 4th 2002 and he celebrates his 102nd birthday, an amazing man. It was a privilege to meet him. He has written a book on the life of the village Zermatt, well he sure must have seen some changes over his many years.
Mountaineering is a way of life for many in Zermatt and for visitors. Many attempts on climbing the Matterhorn are recorded in the local Alpine Musem.
There are tales of courage and victory as well as tragedy. The most famous accident was in 1865 when a rope broke and killed 4 out of the 7 climbing party.
Goat's herd walk through the village every day in the summer at 9AM and 4PM.
Very useful if you have forget your watch, the famous Swiss punctuality is saved once again ;-)
All over the Canton of Valais you'll see this old Granary, which are built this way, that Rats cannot get into the Granary.
I just love that style. Typical Swiss!
Sometimes you'll see entrances like this:
Walk all the way in the back and you'll get to an elavator, which brings you up to the hotel!
This chair could be hired in old Zermatt life to take you up the Gornegrat.......think I prefer the mountain train.....