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Vals 2005

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last updated: 22-Jul-2005

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When: 22th to 24th June 2005
Where: Therme Vals
How: We got there by car, it is ca. 2 to 2.5 hrs from Zurich

Therme Vals

Provisorium Room

Our room, one of the "Provisorien"
We spent just two days in Vals in the Swiss Alps again, in Hotel Therme - a farewell gift of my former team. We had a "Provisorium" room designed by Peter Zumthor. This is a refurbished, modernized and luxurized room with furniture classics, silk curtains, smooth black or white floors and handmade carpets - and a bowl of handmade chocolate truffes :-) Going in the very beginning of their summer season, they hadn't finished construction work, but otherwise it was quiet and peaceful there.

The famous Therme (thermal bath or spa) itsself is in the same house downstairs, and of completely different architecture (again by Peter Zumthor). The spa is clad in 60'000 cool grey slabs of local quartzite. A treat for eyes sore from all those pseudo-roman spas. Unfortunately there is a very decent sign in the Therme saying that photographing is not permitted in the spa - which I saw only when leaving. So no Therme pictures here (email) - but there are some, including a 360°x360° virtual tour, on their website. The Therme consists of several indoor and outdoor pools of different temperature, showers and quiet rooms, all of them with different architectural features. 

Another famous feature of Hotel Therme is its restaurant, the Red Room. It offers one 7-course set menu and alternatives for each course. And a 1000-cal-diet (served in a separate room). We didn't take the latter, but decided to enjoy ourselves and have both dinners and breakfasts there.

We spent the days with bathing, taking sunbaths, reading and with an excursion to the Zerfreila reservoir. Important was that our stay was on Wednesday to Friday, as Wed/Thu are the two evenings where hotel guests are allowed to go to the Therme at night.


Vals is in a narrow valley through which one of the tributaries of the Rhine flows. It is one of the largest communes in the region with a very small local population, resulting in ca. 6.5 inhabitants per km2 - i.e. almost uninhabited for Swiss standards... The Therme and small village are surrounded by meadows (some of them were just mowed during our stay - manually, because they are so steep), alps, forest and mountains. Very scenic and very far away... Up the valley lies the Zerfreila reservoir, just below the Zerfreilahorn mountain, which looks a bit similar to Matterhorn.

The restaurant Zerfreila close to the lake has a nice terrace which even allows for some gamespotting, as the famous Valser Mountain Panda can be found only in this region. We were lucky to see a whole herd peacefully browsing! However, they must be descendants of the Gemsbok (Oryx) in Southern Africa, because they share the same damn "don't look into a camera" gene. Only in one of the panda cubs this gene was not yet fully expressed, so find below one of the rare Valser Mountain Panda picture!

Zerfreilahorn Hills around Vals

                                                     Countryside above Vals

<-- Zerfreilahorn mountan with Zerfreila reservoir

Galloway calf

The famous Valser Mountain Panda (a.k.a. Galloway calf)

Spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata)
Dactylorhiza maculata

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