A gentle downhill day to start! Or at least that’s what we thought. It turns out there is no gentle grade in Switzerland. It’s either straight up or straight down…nothing gentle about it. We awoke and had breakfast at the hotel (more bread, cheese, granola, and deliciousness!). From there, we headed out along the lake. There were lots of people fishing from the shore, speaking in French, smoking, and generally looking very European. We turned behind the Hotel Alpina and started heading down from Champex to Sembrancher. Our legs were quickly reminded of the many miles of steep downhill we had done just yesterday. The views, however, today were excellent. The clouds had lifted and we could see well the peaks of Valais. It was truly breathtaking. The trail followed mostly grassy fields down the mountain. Along the way, there were many benches that allowed you to sit, relax, and enjoy the amazing views. It was fun walking through little farming communities with their victory gardens, large farms, and quaint chalets. It was so green and so majestic. It was hard to take it all in. This place was truly a beautiful and pastoral part of the earth.
After winding down the mountain ,we made it to Sembancher. It was exactly 11:00 AM when we were supposed to meet our driver, so we hurried through the town square as the church bells rang out the hour to make it to the train station. We didn’t want to be late! Fortunately, we weren’t late….in fact, they had totally forgotten about us, so we sat around for an hour before calling the tour company. Eventually, someone called us back and 3 hours later, they came to pick us up. We got to go back into town and walk around a little more, down to the river, but it was Sunday, so nothing much was open. We did enjoy the vending machines in the train station, especially the pregnancy test called, “Maybe Baby”. Finally, a girl from Nampa, Idaho picked us up and took us back down into the central valley and onto the next valley to La Sage.
Unfortunately, we got to La Sage a little late in the day, so we decided to go for a stroll through the town and down one of the country lanes. La Sage is at the feet of a few peaks and is truly one of the most striking views to be seen on the planet. There are 2 peaks that sit right at the end of the Val d’Herens. They rise above the green farmland and truly blow your mind. It is so big, and so sudden that it is hard to imagine being around something so grand. These peaks sit in a backdrop of other peaks forming a little fiefdom of grand vistas. We took this time to go on a little hike through the farmland and made the bend toward the glacier that feeds the river that comes down through the Valley. We enjoyed the farmland and the little chalets and of course the ridiculous views of the mountains. We made it back to our hotel, Hotel de La Sage, in time for dinner. Dinner was magnificent and was punctuated by a chocolate mousse that we both inhaled so quickly we were sad that it was gone. The dinning room windows faced out over the peaks making the food taste all that much better because the views were so immense. After dinner, we got packed up for the next day and went to sleep.