My sister tried to talk me into taking a day off, but we agreed that I stayed for lunch down in Chamonix and then took off. It was so hot at lunch time that I did not feel like moving at all anywhere. I sat chatting down there until 15 in the afternoon until I got the idea that I really should get going. Half an hour later I was off at last.
A short while after Argentière, where the final climb up to Col des Montets (1461m) starts, another cyclist guy came up behind me not looking too professional. All right, time to move the legs a bit I thought and then it was near maximum speed up and down (on the bumpy road) through the Swiss border in full speed and up to Col de la Forclaz (1527m) (from 1094m). Then full speed down to Martigny, where I stopped for a quick McDonalds meal.
I had heard that the weather should get worse in the afternoon and that I therefore should do well to stay in Chamonix, but I was thinking that that was the more reason to get going so I could get back to Cortina in time. There were rain in the air, but I was lucky and had mainly just the wind in the back all the time up to Sion. I changed over to the left hand side of the valley on the main road there, which I have not really used more than in parts before and it was a very good alternative to the straight road up/down from Martigny.
I had decided to skip most of the planned climbs in Valais/Wallis and leave them for another time as there are anyway more unplanned places in the area that I wants to visit another time. It is a long list of places, so will not bore you with that until I get there. One could probably spend something like four weeks climbing new climbs every day in this huge valley and I guess very few people has done even a majority of them in their lifetime. This photo is from central Sion (491m).
I had however hoped to get up at least 2-3 roads. The idea today was to at least start out on one climb. The rain was close by, but I only ever got a few rain drops. Looking up the mountainsides was not inspiring in this weather though. I stopped by a café in Sierre (540m) before going into the German speaking part of the valley up the Salgesch road. This road climbs up a bit and is quite nice (nice enough in this gloomy weather, otherwise I had likely just complained about the heat).
I went into Varen (760m), thinking that maybe I should stop here already. The minimum for today was to get into the German part of Wallis, but I found no place there. A man at the café in Sierre had suggested that I go to Susten looking for a place to sleep, but I did not want to stay down at the bottom of the valley. Next was Leuk and now it was getting late already and I had not much choices left as I hoped to climb up to Galm (2236m) in the morning of the weather would be fine, which is one of the climb I most wanted to do of the ones still on my list here. I found a hotel, but although they were there it was closed this day and after the man had talked with his wife I was suggested to try another place.
There should be one more hotel in Leuk, but I only found it after asking at a restaurant in the village as it was a bit below the centre. This hotel was quite a good one though. It was the Schlosshotel in a great building next to the castle in Leuk. It was perfect in every way and cheap as it was run by some organisation helping people with problems getting work, which they seem to carry out well here. I went back to the restaurant I had asked for the hotel at and had a surprisingly good pasta dish and some wine. Very nice place and I was lucky in the end. The next day did not prove so terribly nice though … .