Feeds RSS

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 7 - Grimsel Pass

Surviving from the steepest funicular in Europe, we cool down ourselves by driving on the Grimsel Pass....

Grimselsee (Lake Grimsel) is an artificial lake along the Grimsel pass in the Canton of Berne. The dam was completed in 1932, it is the largest hydroelectric reservoir in the region. 

Grimsel pass in the heart of Aare Massif is characterized by impressive granite rocks. Due to its reservoirs and power plants, the region also plays a very important role in electricity production.

The contrast between the wild natural landscape and the use of man-made technology to generate hydroelectric power is very impressive too. 

The power plant management is planning to raise the dam but the project is highly controversial because the rising of the water level by 23 m would involve the loss of valuable habitats. The glacier foreland and numerous Swiss stone pines along the shore of the current reservoir will be affected by this measures. 

There is a historic alpine hotel located in the center of the Lake Grimsel dam, to offer the tourists a break in the middle. 

There were not too many tourists came to this place on that day. So, the place was just quiet and peaceful.

Hotel Grimsel Hospiz sits atop a rock, called the Nollen (1980 m), with a wonderful view of the Lauteraarhorn and the lake. 

Hotel Grimsel Hospiz is the 1st certified guest house in Switzerland back in 1142. 

Since we didn't plan to check-in nor dine-in this hotel, there is nothing much to see or do around except taking a few pictures. Soon, we continued our journey....

From here, we can see the hotel atop the hill, surrounded by power plant & high voltage cables, such a classic example of the old meets the new. 

We drove on this road for quite some time....

Saw a big waterfall over there....

Saw the hotel from the other angle.... 

On the ridge of the pass (2165 m sea level) is the Totensee, or Lake of the Dead, which got its name during the Napoleonic wars, when soldiers of Duke Berchtold V were driven into the lake by the people of Valais. Sounds so cruel and violence. 

Totensee is a small natural lake, now is used as a reservoir and drained into Grimselsee.

In November 2006, the lake's entire trout population died, possibly due to algae. 

The time was nearly 2pm by then, so we decided to take a quick lunch at this road side restaurant. 

Our foods for lunch has nothing special, but the view as seen from the restaurant's window was a pleasant one. 

At 1st glance, these 2 people were admiring the natural beauty of the surrounding.....

But in fact, they were not...they probably tried to figure out what was the thing that people down there were doing?

I didn't go to check it out, so I have no idea why were they grouping there for?

Just when we were about to drive away, we saw some people coming out from the group with horses. They seem like they were going for trekking or something. 

Later then I know that in the past, mule traders transported Swiss cheese on dizzying paths to Piedmont. The Piedmont traders brought wine, rice, corn and leather in exchange. The exchange trade often took place in the old Hospiz, which was flooded by the reservoir in today. 

On the Valaisian side, we travel on a well-constructed road with many long bends down to Gletsh in Obergoms (1759m above sea level). 

Panoramic view of the Rhone Glacier and the Furka Pass road. 

Sitting in the car for a long time is boring, plus the sun was too glaring for me....Slowly, I dozed off. 

When I woke up, we were in this anonymous town. Husband asked me if we should drive to another town to buy some foods. Well, I was still a little bit blur to think straight on his concern.....

I turned back and saw the boys were Zzzz......too. They must have slept for a very long time, cause I didn't remember anything they said along the way. 


Post a Comment