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Published: August 31st 2017
Partly because mummy is keen on swimming in high (& cold) lakes, and partly because Pierre-Jean has an emotional connection to the area, we were driven up a windy hillside clad in grape vines and then a treacherous mountain pass (4 cars were washed from the road 2 days after we visited) with hand blasted cliffside tunnels to Lac de Derborence. The walk on the other side of the valley had whet daddy's imagination. You can see the path in the photos. Conquering this path could help me to become a mountain adventurer! The lake was very low and a thunderstorm threatened, so we just scampered around the lake edge (with one eye open for rattlesnakes) and then took a late lunch at the 'refuge'. A piano accordianist in the corner had me dancing and bringing home memories of yet another beautiful day.
That afternoon we visited the town of Sion and did some shopping. Mummy bought a present for Grandpa's birthday, and Magali did some shopping for food. Pierre-Jean and Magali seem to have lots of friends as they kept bumping into people they knew!
Mummy and daddy's wedding present from Piere-Jean & Magali is to be a
visit to a local restaurant which serves 7 courses of "Valais" delicaticies, each matched with a local wine. Mummy and daddy dug a bit deeper into their suitcases, and did funny things to their faces for this special occasion. The restaurant seemed relaxed, with fish nets and shells on the wall. The hostesses directed us to a table towards the back of the room with a super-big high chair, especially for me! I mostly had fresh sweet corn and bread, whilst the rest of the table made many "mmmm and ahhh sounds". I will let the photos speak for themselves! A beautiful moonlight greeted us as we left, which was a trigger for me to collapse into a deep sleep.
This morning I tried apricots and prunes, and then we danced some jazz (daddy puts my feet on his, and then we can do an appropriate jig). It was a relaxed morning since Piere-Jean needed to finish some work. In the afternoon, we made another long windy drive up steep vine laden slopes (that are everywhere enjoying the sun here!) to a historic monument which we could walk along. Our hosts commented that this site would normally hardly have
any tourists, but this year a TV documentary had changed all of that! We found a car park on an edge which would not get slippery if it rained. We were carrying supplies for picnic, and I was being carried in the backpack, so had a good view of the surroundings.The first sound of rippling water was associated with a cooler air flow, which is one of the reasons why so many people where doing this walk. The Bisse du Torrent-Neuf is a man made water channel that carries water from a source in the hills to the town of Sion. The channel is about twice as wide as I am, and flows at a depth somewhere between my knee and my waist. Where there was soil, digging a simple trench would suffice, but around these cliffs a wooden hanging arrangement was required. The cliffs are quite sheer in many places, which could be intimidating for making and repairing the water channel. The weight of water channel and repairers is supported by driving two studs of timber horizontally into the rock (wedged in with splices) - quite a feat of engineering (as daddy described it to me). A few hours
of walking (& some exhilarating swing bridges) later, we sat (I mostly lay) down at a beautifully scenic spot and had a picnic. Spits of rain signalled the commencement of a rapid retreat down the hill for many of the visitors.The winds blew sand and bits of rock around. A few times, big chucks of slate would fall from high above and smash upon the walkway. Daddy was carrying me in the backpack, and tried to protect my head whenever the rock fall risks arose.
That night, Magali cooked again, and made a special dessert with apricot sorbet and mummy's favourite Abricotine. I just had pasta and wasn't allowed any dessert. 😞
On our last day, Piere-Jean went into work early, and we were going to leave just before lunch, but the chats and dancing with Magali just kept going. Magali (who is a chiropractor) said in surprise that "he (ie. me) is all muscle" Whereas most babies are a fleshy type of chubby, apparently I am still chubby, but have much more muscle - especially in my legs! But with all this muscle, why can't I stand yet!! It's so frustrating I can't get up on my
own and walk!!
We also visited Pierre-Jean's mother who lives in the lower half of the house. She seemed very pleased to see me and give me a cuddle. I liked her a lot! She had a different accent to mummy when she speaks French. I think it must be from this Valais region of Switzerland. In the end Peire-Jean came back from work and we all shared lunch together. Magali made a lovely dish of all different coloured tomatoes and mozarella cheese, as well as some cheese pizzas. I had so much fun I was sad to leave Pierre-Jean and Magali's place!
That afternoon we headed to Geneva, where mummy used to live for five years. However, with our well practiced skill for under-estimating how long things can take, we saw Château Chillon, resplendent on Lac Leman's edge near Montreux, and were tempted to stop and explore. Mummy and daddy restored clarity regarding Lord Byron's poem and human torture during the 16th century, whilst I just enjoyed the stories about feasting with medieval forks and the high views over the lake. Needless to say, several hours later, we were late for our meeting with Frédéric (in Archamps)
so that I could have my immunisation injections. Luckily Frédéric didn't mind. And it was so different to last time I had injections where I cried because it hurt! Daddy just sat me on his knee and talked to me in the lovely sun at the Villard's place overlooking the field. There were some funny feelings in my arms, but then all was over. Mummy was expecting a lot worse and lots of crying and says that daddy should take me to all future injections!
We sat and talked a bit in Archamps, so it was dark when we drove into the old heart of Geneva. This was good from the perspective of parking, but most of the restaurants would likely be closed. The nearest car park that we could drive to near Rue Jean-Calvin was a stairwell and a small car park away from our apartment. We wanted to move the car closer but would leave that challenge to daddy later in the evening, so we carried a few things to the apartment and then headed out to find an open restaurant.
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