Around Martigny

Last modified date

This morning was another relaxed start, probably the last of those because the rest of our days will involve more driving distances. Majella and I had breakfast at 7 am and relaxed until we woke Callum at 9 am.

Once Callum had showered and dressed, Majella did our laundry while he ate breakfast. There was just time to wash up and hang our clothes to dry before we needed to leave for our 10 am rendezvous.

Our hosts were waiting and ready to go. Majella explained that we still needed to buy a motorway vignette and Roland led us to a service station on our way where I was finally able to buy the elusive vignette. My next challenge was to apply it to our windscreen. While Majella followed Roland on the motorway toward Martigny I worked out how to remove the paper backing and apply the vignette but held off doing that until we arrived at our destination and were stationary. At that point it went on easily, ending our illegal travel on Swiss motorways.

The last stretch from Martigny up to our destination at the Meichtrys’ was along the road we came down from Forclaz on Thursday and then on narrow winding country road above Martigny. Majella was pleased to have made that without incident.

Myriam (daughter of Marie-Françoise and Roland), her husband, Claude, their daughter, Mäelle, and son, Lorick, greeted us warmly. Their Australian Shepherd dog seemed pleased to see us too. Perhaps he recognised compatriots.

Soon we were seated around a table under an awning enjoying cold drinks. Lunch soon followed with bread rolls, cold meats, cheese, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, and pickles. Beer and wine were served to those who wanted either.

Majella mentioned that we had seen very few cows and none close up on this trip. Claude assured us that there were some just 5 minutes away by bike. That was all that was needed for an expedition to be arranged with Mäelle and Lorick taking Callum to see the cows. Mäelle set off on her motorcycle followed by Lorick and Callum on e-bikes. We wondered how Callum would manage with the language gap but there was no need. About 30 minutes later they returned, all smiles and evidently bridging the language gap with a shared spirit of adventure, the English Mäelle and Lorick had learned at school, and Callum’s few words of French.

Around 1 pm we set off to visit a zoo, Les Marrécottes, where Callum could see local animals. Because it was on a mountainside reached by narrow winding roads the plan was for us to park near the foot of that road and travel with the local drivers experienced on the roads. Having followed Claude down the mountain which he knew well from daily trips, Majella was happy with the plan to let the locals drive. Mäelle was accompanying the cars on her motorcycle.

Once we had parked, Majella and Callum went in the Meichtrys’ van and I went in the Salamins’ Duster with Roland and Michel and Myriam driving. We had an interesting visit to the zoo which is set on a hillside with enclosures for animals constructed with minimal disturbance to the terrain. It was on a hillside so that required walking up and down hills among large rocky outcrops with natural vegetation in many places. We saw deer, goats, fox, pigs, bears, and more as we wandered around. Callum was interested in the animals, especially those he had not seen previously, and he and Lorick rambled up and down various outcrops for a better view or the sheer fun of it. On the way back to the cars they went bush for a short distance and emerged clearly pleased with their adventure.

On the way down the mountain we paused at La Bobine to walk on a disused concrete bridge across the ravine. It runs parallel to the newer bridge on which we crossed and allowed a view into the depth of the ravine.

Our next stop was to allow Callum, Mäelle, and Lorick to go swimming. That was at a large lake just off the motorway. It was divided by a bridge at a narrow part. In one end there were people enjoying wingfoiling – using a handheld sail on a board with a hydrofoil that lifts the board out of the water. Swimming was at the other end where our trio went to enjoy the water and various ways of swinging and jumping into it. We sat on a terrace to have drinks and watch the wingfoilers. We recognised the location as the Relais St Bernard where we had stopped with Emily.

We had arrived there around 4 pm and relaxed until Claude called the trio to return around 5:30 pm. As we waited on the path back to the cars, they appeared along a lakeside path, pausing to skip stones on the water. Clearly they were having fun together.

Once they had joined us we drove a short distance to visit the Cascade de la Pissevache (vache = cow and readers can guess the rest), a high and powerful waterfall. We walked the short distance to the viewpoint near the foot of the falls and the more intrepid, Claude + 3, walked closer. Once again on the return walk, Lorick and Callum ‘went bush’ and Callum emerged excited to have seen some ancient ruins in the forest.

From there it was on to McDonalds for dinner. After Callum’s report yesterday, Roland had encouraged him to try another Swiss McDonalds and suggested we go there for dinner. All, especially Lorick, were happy to join us for dinner there. An order for 10 people is necessarily large and Callum was surprised by how little time it took for 3 staff members to appear at our upstairs table bearing trays of food. He had never seen an order so large and gave the place a top rating for service.

After dinner we bade goodbye to the Meichtrys in the car park. Myriam had done well in planning a day to suit Callum and her children. All three seemed to enjoy it. From there we followed Roland back to their place. There we fondly farewelled our hosts before driving the short distance to our accommodation to rest and prepare for an early departure tomorrow.