|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
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
The famous Therme (thermal bath or spa) itsself is in
the same house downstairs, and of completely different architecture
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
Countryside above Vals
<-- Zerfreilahorn mountan with Zerfreila reservoir
The famous Valser Mountain Panda (a.k.a. Galloway calf)
Spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata)
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