I had been wanting to stay at a mountain resort, or at least near the mountains, in winter … ever since our trip to Sankt Moritz last year. This wish became stronger after the trip we made with the parents to Davos at Christmas. I really enjoyed our excursion to Davos … but our stay there was just too short to really be able to soak up the winter atmosphere and enjoy performing any winter activity there. And there are just soooo many mountain villages and resorts in Switzerland … so that not to stay in at least one or two at this time of the year seems to me such a waste of the winter season … because the mountains and the little villages near them look very different in winter. Really, they are bestowed at such times of the year with a kind of almost mystical appearance, if you know what I mean! 😉
So … I was happy to use the opportunity to celebrate our wedding anniversary to go and spend a weekend at the mountains. Thankfully, the hubby is as much a mountain person as I am. At least, he is more a mountain person now than he used to be in his younger years. He claims that this change was caused by the long hours of commuting that he had to do when he was working in Zurich a few years ago … spending hours on trains travelling to and from work during the weekdays … which made him crave during the weekends more for the fresh mountain air and for open spaces than for staying home and indulging in his other great passion — reading books! 🙂
So off we went to Les Haudères … to stay at a place that I had seen listed on Hotelcard.com as offering a 50% discount with that card. The hotel is owned by a family, which is nice. Even nicer is its chalet style and its location at the end of a valley not too far away from Lausanne, that of Hérens, some 2.5 hours away by public transport. Its close vicinity to the nearby valley of Arolla with its beautiful view and snow-shoeing/cross-country ski tracks was an added bonus.
(As usual, feel free to move the pointer of your mouse on a picture to display background info or click to enlarge.)
Making our way up the mountains on a postal bus after leaving Sion railway station.
The pyramids of Euseigne …. a natural formation (to be more precise, a set of geological cones often topped with a rock) which was created at the end of the last ice age as the glaciers retreated … coming into view as the postal bus started to make its way round a bend on the mountain. There is a hole through this rock formation that enables the bus to pass through the ‘pyramids’ to get to the other side of the mountain. There is also a bus stop near the area for those who wish to check out this interesting geological formation in greater detail.
Approaching the village of Les Haudères …
… before finally arriving at our hotel, located just next to the bus interchange at the village centre. We had a room facing the front with a balcony, nice! 🙂
The low building just across the road (bottom right pic) is a shop run by a couple of locals (the hubby was amazed that he did not understand them at all when he heard them speak the dialect of the valley – which, should you be interested, you can listen to some samples here, 2 min and 30 sec into the broadcast) … from which one can rent ski equipment, shoes, etc. for a very very good price. As the shoes that I was using for raquette were starting to tear a little, we decided to rent a pair of shoes here for only CHF 8 a day. No deposit and no ID card necessary … just a name was sufficient for us to take the shoes with us … it was that simple!
After having put our bags and refreshed ourselves a little, we set out to do a little walk through the village with the objective of reaching the tourist office (which is located in the next village of Evolène) before it would close as the hubby wanted to find a map of the area for our snow-shoe trip the following day.
It was a lovely walk!
The view to the right … in the direction of Evolène … from the junction of our hotel.
Looking back towards the direction of our hotel, located to the left of the parking spot just after the restaurant, from the main road as we were walking towards Evolène.
Soaking up the atmosphere of this small village … before deciding to turn into one of the small roads …
… after having seen several old chalets there … in order to have a better look at them.
These chalets are typical of the canton of Valais (Wallis in English and German).
It was really lovely walking through this tiny village.
And I just loved the little details that I saw while passing through the bottom part of the village. Notice, that the bearers of this local surname, that of Maître, which is derived from the Latin word magister (teacher) and whose earliest known mention goes as far back as 1343, were so proud of this that they have displayed it on different houses!
La Borgne (which means stream in Celt), the river that runs through the valley, with a track for cross-country skiing on one side and a track for walking on the other side.
A big signboard showing all the different activities that one can do in the valley in winter … and the track marks that one can see on the snow as a result of those activities. Which reminded me of the track marks that I had photographed when I was on Lac de Joux … but which I forgot to share on the entries I published on that region! Haizzz …
A beautiful view of the valley and the village of Les Haudères as seen during our walk along the river.
The walking track with the river on the left … heading towards the village of Evolène.
Walking along a stretch where the snow was deeper. One had to be careful walking along this stretch … because …
… one would not know whether one might accidentally step into a hole covered by snow, causing one to fall … which happened a few times to this lady in the red jacket above … poor her!
Arriving at a small camping area, with some cute little chalets. Check out the height of the snow, here. I had thought that this was quite impressive … until we went to Schwägalp recently!
From the camping area, we then turned back onto the road as it would no longer be possible to walk along the river. This was the view in the direction of our hotel with Petite Dent de Veisivi (3184m) emerging in the background ...
… whereas this was the view in the direction of Evolène.
We could see several skiers doing cross-country skiing on the track beside us … as we made our way to Evolène. If you look closely on the picture above, you might be able to see two skiers coming our way from Les Haudères.
Still some way to go before we would reach the village of Evolène. But I did not mind the walk as the view was just lovely … and …
… I enjoyed looking at the equally lovely and fascinating rustic old houses along the way. I wondered how they look like, inside.
A small stream totally frozen and covered with snow.
Finally, we could see the village of Evolène … looking so pretty against the snow-covered mountains in the background.
Getting nearer and nearer to the village.
And finally we were there!
After purchasing the necessary map of the region from the very friendly staff at the tourist office, which is about another 100 metres from this little square, we decided to do a little shopping at the COOP supermarket here … where we bumped into a former colleague of the hubby’s, David, who was there to enjoy some skiing in the area! Small world … 🙂
Coming up next, our little raquette trip at Arolla …
Other entries on Val d’Hérens or the region: