Switzerland: let the let the channe!

Switzerland: let the let the channe!


In the canton of Wallis have to give up to let in the channel. Enjoyable time then we have guaranteed Sand, sawdust and wooden rollers do not make trouble. On the gravel is a little more difficult, but the worst are the cones. Rigid shells stings feet, dig into the skin. Until catch of experience and I am barely able to go after them. Is the description of an obstacle course for masochists or looking mortification? Quite the contrary. In the canton of Valais everything is fun and it’s hard for a better place for a relaxing holiday.

I’m going “barefoot trail” in Siviez near Nendaz. Part has been artificially prepared, part leads to the natural substrate. Walk down this path is to recall impressions of childhood, when it was running on holidays throughout the day without shoes. And the way to get closer to nature. So the trekking “slow food”. I’m going without haste, so that each receive a sense of the environment – what is under your feet, and what is around. I’m going down to the stream of the stairs with a metal grille – ouch, it is a challenge, and then only soft grass, cold mud, smooth and heated sun wooden footbridge. I feel as if I opened any additional flap in the head. If I felt through the skin all around: mountains, blue sky, green valley and the bells of grazing cows. I have to admit that it is very enjoyable.

Beware of Bees

The idea for the preparation of “barefoot trail” came Yves Duffey, owner of hotels in Siviez. He is a lover of walking barefoot. He had the opportunity to follow the construction of this kind of routes in other cantons and considered it worthwhile to have such in its own window. The path begins at the parking lot and ends at the picnic spot on the river prints. Just half an hour to go a whole. That’s where you should go, inform the signs of prints of bare feet. Along the way, meet a whole little family of children, all smiling from ear to ear.

It is interesting that after nowhere ban walking barefoot. You might as well take off your shoes at the normal route, and there is no shortage of those, and march ahead. But here, on a path in Siviez, it is as if everyone willingly consent and benefit from such opportunities. Actually, there are no contraindications, you only need to be careful on the alpine meadow full of flowers and herbs not to step on a bee.

Although it is only the forenoon, spacing of our guide Adeline and photographer Philip picnic spot for an aperitif. The menu with regional specialties – cheese, dried meat, bread and wine. All produced on the spot. Canton Valais is famous for its interesting cuisine and vineyards, hence the third of total production of wine in Switzerland. It really is what taste. Canton has its own strains such as Cornalin or petite Arvine. We drink fendant’s flagship product, Wallis – white wine, delicate and fresh. As the valley in which we sit. The sun shines, however, more and more, and there is a risk that if we stay here much longer, liquor hit our heads. Time for further enjoyment. “Barefoot trail” was just an attachment.

In Siviez paved road ends. Next, you can either move with the shoe, or use one of the chairlifts. In winter, skiers are driving around – Nendaz area is a very popular ski area – the summer visitors looking for beautiful views and friendly trails. We drove on Combatseline. That’s the name of the upper station of seats, with a restaurant and overlooking the valley. Height very impressive as the Alps – only 2238 meters What else but lured us here. Right next runs one of the historic irrigation channels called “Bisse”. Some were built in the Middle Ages – eg Bisse de Salins was founded in 1435 and is still running!

On the top shelf

The question is, what in the Alps irrigation, since there are so many rain and snow in the winter? Rhône Valley has a unique climate, because it is sandwiched between two high mountain ranges. In this natural barrier stop rain and thunderstorms. This has its good side – the canton of Valais is famous for its dry sunny weather that encourages relaxation and agriculture, including viticulture. Only thing missing is a sufficient amount of water for the crops, so it must be fed from the mountains. Hence the number of channels carried on the slopes. They exist all over the Valais, but most of them are in the area of ​​Nendaz – a total of almost 100 km. Along these marked hiking trails.

We start from the top shelf – from the Bisse de Chervé, the most spectacular. It is not particularly long (only 15 km), or especially old (only in the mid-nineteenth century), runs for a maximum of all channels and is the most alpine. This means that we are going in full sun, and beyond individual trees do not obscure our view. Everywhere common here pines grow stone-pine, which in Polish Tatra mountains is like a cure. The vast halls and all the peaks around there at a glance. Far ahead shimmers turquoise lake. The more we approach to it, the more unlikely it seems to me its intense color. In comparison with blooming on the slopes różanecznikami up biting into his eyes.

It turns out that the lake is artificial, formed in front of the almost 90-meter high dam on the river Cleuson prints – the same, over which a few hours before we stopped for an aperitif. The color owes waters flowing from the glacier.

Adeline asks us if we want to go further along the canal, or prefer to go down the path already the dam and return to Siviez. What a question! Of course, we choose the first option. And on ourselves sets a trap. Canals brought water, their decline was so constant and small. Also marked trails run along them almost for the contours. He goes up easily and nicely without feeling can be overcome kilometers.

We celebrate the whole lake, which takes a lot of time, and enter the dam on the other side. The views are consistently great. Completes their standing at the dam white chapel in St. Barthelemy. Next is a dump marmots. They look with her inquisitive toddlers, not yet fully aware of the risks posed by man. Well, here ends the idyll. Finally, we must descend to Siviez. No longer along the canal, only roads and paths, as winding as steep. When I finally arrive at the parking lot, the sun goes down. Almost legs do not feel tired, even though we knew the morning whenever the stone under the foot.

The taste of raspberries

The next day, still keep the channels. You only change the scenery – there are more trees – and a guide (previous heals sores). This time Anita leads us along the Bisse de Saxon, the longest canal in the whole canton. It has up to 32 km and is unique also because after many years of break the water flowing again in some sections. And if the channel is used, it is mandatory in need watcher.

He receives a salary from the villagers, and its task is to ensure that those who filed the demand for water, given her as much as they should. Thus, the relevant lock opens, for example two or three hours, and then closes. Water irrigate vineyards, meadows and orchards, mainly apricot and raspberry plantations. Few fruits can be equal to that of the canton of Valais, maturing in harsh alpine sun.

Anita tells us, offering him first in this year raspberries. And how can you not fall in love with this place? The channel flowing refreshing water, where you can rinse your hands and face. The route runs in the woods, among the majestic spruce. Sometimes a nice variety on the trail as footbridges, railings and go in the rocks.

Our guide tells us that once went into the mountains by bike. The weather was bad, it started to rain (here it happens sometimes). She decided to shorten the route, choosing the trail along the canal. Unluckily, that hit a guard. This saw her eyebrows furrowed in anger – ride along the canals is prohibited – and a long time it was impossible to convince. In the end, accepted the explanation and Anita did not suffer any consequences.

Bisse de Saxon leads to the village of the same name, but so far we do not go. Path descend on the lower Bisse Vieux (from the mid-seventeenth century), and later to Nendaz. There we sit on a couple of glasses of local wine. Przegryz cheese and look at the town. In winter, it becomes a bustling ski resort, in the summer people come here hungry for sunshine and peaceful rest in the bosom of nature. The area really is favored. Appreciate the Swiss themselves, who have their homes.

Cheese as serak

In one of the local dairy farms can look like Swiss cheese arise. Do you want to see? Sure it is. We’re going to Prarion and watch the entire process, from heating the milk, mixing, adding rennet, until after pressing the curd mass in circular forms. Later, with the remaining whey employee is even cottage cheese called seracs, which we can try and buy a place to go. Tasters also ripe yellow cheese, but these can not buy, although we are also very taste. What a shame it would be great to purchase cheese at source, as oscypki straight from the shepherd. Here, however, the matter is more complicated. All cheese rings belong to the owners of the cows, the Swiss, who live in big cities. Cheese do … Portuguese. Both parties to this worthwhile. None of the locals not eager to do the job, and the Portuguese, despite the fact that in his country often have their own herd of cows, here earn much better.

I leave the building dairies. Everywhere the sound of cowbells coming. Farm stands in the middle of vast pastures, which you can see the entire valley and mountains on the other side. This place is unique for another reason. On pasture grows more than 250 giant larches. Such venerable giants, which reportedly reaches age 800 years, has never seen. Impressively must look especially in the fall when the needles turn yellow.

But now it is beautiful. I am glad that I gave to let the channels around Nendaz. And in the local raspberries.

Channels “Bisse” are a specialty of the canton.

In the early twentieth century, their total length was about 1800 km, but since then many have been abandoned and destroyed. Over the Bisse de Saxon wooden house still stands guard channels – Caban du Bourla of 1877

Channel Bisse de Chevre hand over the chair lift Siviez Novelly. Visit the Prarion, where you can see the production of cheese (and old larch), will cost 12 euros per person – the details in the tourist information office in Nendaz. Serak kilogram (whey cheese) costs on the farm 9 francs.


Accommodation in the town is impressive, it is worth paying attention to the traditional wooden Hotel Edelweiss (Edelweiss) located near the gondola station. It works there a lot of pizzerias and worth a visit

(Eg Pizzeria Les Flambeaux). They work in them Italians (Nendaz is situated near the Italian border), and they really know how to cook a pizza.