Lac Souterrain & Vercorin

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Our plans for Friday had centred on a visit to Zermatt to see the Matterhorn (Cervin) providing the weather seemed suitable. It wasn’t. The clouds and rain that had dampened our visit to the Val d’Anniviers on Thursday were still around on Friday morning so we decided to leave Zermatt until Saturday – again providing the weather was reasonably fine.

We had a quiet morning around Sierre, did some necessary shopping for food and managed to telephone Jane at a time when she was home and Emily could talk to her.

In the afternoon we drove a few kilometres west along the valley towards Sion to visit the Lac Souterrain at St Leonard. This underground lake was discovered around 1943. In 1946 an earthquake caused some cracking that allowed some water to escape and the level fell to the current point where it is possible to offer boat tours of its 300 metre length. The average depth of the lake is only 2 to 3 metres. We saw some fairly large fish (trout) near the end furthest from the entrance. Our guide was a young man working this job in his summer vacation. This was his second day on the job and, though he was able to give the commentary fluently in French and German, his English was limited. We managed with that and what we could glean from his French and German.

Majella had decided earlier in the day that, after insisting on doing all the driving from just before we reached Bologna on our first night, it was time to let me drive. I had managed around Sierre and down to St Leonard but now she decided that we should visit Vercorin, a village up the mountain on the western side of the Val d’Anniviers, opposite the side we had visited on Thursday and home to the parents of Marie-Francoise. We had visited with them at their apartment in Sierre the previous afternoon and, although they were still in Sierre, Majella wanted us to see their chalet in Vercorin which she had visited on a previous trip to Sierre. She was sure she could find it so up the mountain we went. I really needed more driving practice on the valley floor before attempting that ascent and descent. The road wound about and was quite narrow in places so that we had to stop and pull over for cars coming in the other direction to get past. We made it up to the village with some nervousness but found the village larger than we imagined and were unable to identify the chalet we had come to see. I was glad to get back down to the narrow but relatively less daunting roads of the valley floor.