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Today dawned with a mix of clear sky and cloud. It ended similarly after being overcast for much of the day. Fortunately the weather did not stop us from doing what was planned and having another great day.

DSC_6699I was awake early, a consequence of an early night, and spent some time tidying up email and other tasks that had fallen through the cracks. There is more of that to be dealt with when I find time but I was pleased to be awake to enjoy the sunrise over the valley. Majella slept a little longer but we were both showered and dressed in time for breakfast at 8:00 am. We enjoyed cereal with yoghurt, fresh rolls with jam, and coffee.

By 9:00 am we were on our way up the western side of the Val d’Anniviers to Vercorin, where the parents of Marie-Françoise had lived. Her brother, Paul Vetter, is an accomplished photographer of wild life and landscapes who had offered to take us walking around the mountain where we might see and photograph some wildlife. We both enjoy walking but the photography was a special treat for me.

DSC_6741Paul greeted us soon after we arrived at Vercorin after Roland had driven us up the narrow winding mountain road. I remembered the road because Majella had me drive up there once before and I nearly freaked out on one of the tight curves with a sheer drop to one side and little room to move. Being Swiss, Roland appeared to have no such qualms and we arrived in good time and comfort. Paul was sporting a camera with a 600 mm lens that induced a degree of lens envy in me. I am very happy with my 16-300 mm lens for travel but some extra power would have helped today.

DSC_6729We set off around the mountain track in cool and overcast conditions. My orange jacket was warm enough for me but probably not the best wear for remaining inconspicuous in the forest. We saw a few birds along the way but our principal quarry was chamois. Not far along we spotted the first below us and paused to take photgraphs. Then we spotted a pair a little way above us, though they were partially obscured by the shrubbery they were grazing in. Further on we spotted a mother and youngster. We watched and photographed them for a while until the young one went back to mother and suckled for a bit before they moved on. We saw few more along the way and I managed to get some respectable photos. It may be a while before I get them onto Flickr but Paul has some already there.

By 11:30 am we had completed the circuit and were back at Vercorin where we watched a group of paragliders prepare and launch before going on to have lunch at the hotel restaurant. Salad, lasagne, and banana ice cream with white wine and red followed by coffee was more than enough to refresh us. It had been overcast throughout our walk but did not rain until we were eating lunch and by the time we emerged from lunch there was barely a sprinkle.

We farewelled Paul with much thanks and Roland drove us back to Veyras where we rested for a while before setting off for Martigny where we saw the Paul Cezanne exhibition at Fondation Pierre Gianadda. We had seen an exhibition of Cezanne portraits and some of his other work at Musée d’Orsay in Paris but this exhibition had more of his landscapes and still lifes along with just a few portraits. We enjoyed seeing more of his work, especially the landscapes with vibrant colours that seem to come out of the work. Some of the later works were incomplete but still interesting to see alongside the others. Afterwards we walked in the museum garden where we enjoyed the sculptures and the ducks swimming on the pond. By that time the sky had mostly cleared so we had sunshine and blue sky to enjoy.

DSC_6761Back at Veyras we relaxed with a glass of wine. Roland showed us some of his photographs from his time assisting in the Congo and we admired the view up the Val d’Anniviers with the sun shining on fresh snow. Dinner was raclette served by Michel – melted cheese with boiled potatos and pickles accompanied by wine – followed by ice creams and the inevitable schnapps. That was all accompanied by conversation and merriment. It was another day and night to remember.