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wonders that the labour is not an obstacle to any attempt to cultivate it."
Immediately before arriving at Stalden, the torrent of the Saas, and thai of the Matter, or St. Nicolas valley, meet and rush with fury through the lofty arch of an alpine stone bridge: from which the scene is very grand.
A little below the confluence, and on the left bank of the river, the village of Stalden is situated: here there is a decent inn, where the traveller may find accommodation and rest, if the two hours, yet necessary for reaching Visp in the Valais, should add too much to his day's fatigue. Stalden is about 8 miles from Visp. After the belles horreurs of the valley of Saas, the scenery below Stalden is tame. At Visp (Route 59.) there are two or three tolerable inns, and the village offers many picturesque points of view: the snowy peaks observed to bound the view on looking up the valley from the bridge, is generally pointed out as Monte Rosa, but the “ queen of the Alps
cannot be seen from Visp. Those peaks are on the mountain of Saas, which divides the valley of Saas and St. Nicolas, and overhang the glaciers which are crossed in going from Allmengal to Zermall by the path already menlioned.
VISP TO CHATILLON IN THE VAL D'AOSTA, BY THE PASS OF
THE MONT CERVIN.
The first cight miles of this route takes the traveller back to Stalden, whence, ascending by the road on the right without crossing the torrent, he enters the Matterthal or valley of St. Nicolas. The road is carried along the sleep slope of the side of the mountain which bounds and narrows the valley, where the furious torrent which descends from Zermalt foams in its deep course far below the path of the traveller. The vast buttress which, resting against Monte Rosa, stretches down towards the Valais, dividing the valley of the Saas from that of St. Nicolas, terminates at the confluence of the rivers which flow through these valleys. The slope at the confluence is richly wooded, and among its forests and pasturages, the village of Grenchen is seen on the left, in the valley or St. Nicolas; it is remarkable as the birthplace of Thomas Platter, the reformer, who was a physician of Basle. This village the guides rarely fail to point out.
The route to St. Nicolas is not so fearfully savage as the path up the valley of Saas, though, but for the immediate comparison, the Val St Nicolas is wild enough to satisfy a lover of alpine scenes. In two hours the traveller from Stalden reaches the village of St. Nicolas, the chief place in the
valley; it is agreeably situated amidst the orchards and forests which enrich its immediate vicinity: the house of the curè is usually resorted to by strangers, and his hospitality never fails.
The journey to Zermatt from Visp is a short one of nine hours only, and St. Nicolas is about hall way. Starting at a very early hour from Visp, the traveller might cross the glaciers of the Cervin on the same day, and reach the chalets of Brieul : but it is a wiser course io start in the morning from Zermatt, cross the glaciers, and reach the Val d'Aosta at Châtillon the same evening, that is, supposing the effort of the traveller be to reach Châtillon from Visp in two days: the more frequent practice, however, is to go io Zermatt on the first day, io Val Tournanche on the second, and Chatillon on the ihird.
Above St. Nicolas the valley becomes much narrower, and the path in many places carried along a steep slope where a slip would hurry the unfortunate passenger to his certain destruction. The valley widens before arriving at Herbuggen, and passes near a fine glacier which descends from the Schallhorn. The next village above Herbrigen is Randa, and about an hour higher up is a larger village - Tesch,where, if foul weather should overtake the traveller, he has little chance of comfort; the few unfortunates who have staid here have left their malediction upon its dirty and miserable accommodation.
At Zermatt, two hours surther, the house of the curè offers its hospitalities, and a worthier host than Jean François de la Costa cannot be found. In the little plain of Zermatt, situate amidst the grandest scenery of nature, surrounded by forests of pines and vast glaciers, is placed, with its neat church, this elevated and retired village, with more cleapness and comfort among its inhabitants. than is to be found in many places of greater pretensions : this has perhaps been effected by the influx of strangers, for many mineralogists, botanists, and entomologists, come here to collect rich harvests in the neighbourhood. The intercourse with the Val d'Aosta by the Mont Ceryin is not frequent enough to produce such' effect upon the manners and character of the inhabitants,-the example of the worthy curé may however have done much. Here many days may be spent in excursions to the glaciers and points of view with which the neighbourhood abounds, and to which many of the inhabitants are excellent guides.
From Zermatt, a path already adverted to leads to the valley of Saas, and another-rarely used except by the boldest mountaineers–Jies directly across the glaciers of Monte Rosa, by a course known by the name of the Arète-blanche, to Ma
cugnaga; this pass is better known by its German appellation, Weissen Thor. The distance from Zermatt to Macugnaga by this pass is twelve hours, and its highest point exceeds 12,000 English feet.
But the grand object of a visit to Zermatt is the Mont Cervin, which, from the village, is seen to rise in singular beauty and inagnificence against the sky, of a pyramidal form, and more than 4000 feet of elevation above the bed of ice from which it seems to spring. In the whole chain of the Alps not one object offers so striking an appearance as this remarkable mountain, which lifts itself from an otherwise unbroken line of glacier, which is more than 11,000 English feet above the level of the sea : this scene alone would repay the trouble of a visit to Zermatt from Visp.
There is some confusion produced by names on the frontiers of states, each language giving its own : thus the Mont Cervin in French is the Monte Silvio in Italian, and the Matterborn in German; and the village of Zermatt is known on the Italian side of the mountain as Praborgne.
When the traveller in the Alps receives the hospitality of the curès of retired villages, where there are no inns, it is usual to leave with the housekeeper, or for her, a donation, which it is just should at least equal the cost of such accomInodation at an inn; the tax would otherwise be heavy upon the limited means of the host, and kindness and attention is thus insured to future travellers.
There is another cluster of huts and granges called Zmutt, still further up the little plain of Zermatt; it lies close to the glaciers of the Breithorn, but is passed on the left by the traveller who approaches the Cervin. About an hour above Zermatt the path abruptly ends in a deep rist in the mountain, in the depths of which the torrents from the glaciers of the Cervin are seen to struggle and force their way into the valley of Zermatt. A path has been cut out of the overhanging rock to reach a wild alpine bridge by which the torrent is crossed, and the ascent to the Cervin abruptly commences by a path which passes by some granges and up a rugged course through a pine forest, in which, however, it does not long continue, but enters upon some scanty pasturages enamelled with flowers, and making a considerable détour to the right, soon leaves the traveller to wander up a trackless course of loose schist, sodden with the waters from the glaciers. Often it is necessary to traverse deep water courses cut by the streams, and this fatiguing ascent offers little variety until he reach the glaciers; and this is only after a fatiguing march of four hours from Zermatt, and two long hours to reach the summit are still required on the glaciers-which are free from danger,
Though deep rists on the left, point out the risk of deviating from the true course.
From the summit of the pass, which exceeds 11,000 English lect above the level of the sea, the scene around is onle of extraordinary magnificence; the eye wanders over a vast intervening country to the Bernese Alps, sweeps round by the Breithorn and Monte Rosa, looks down upon a thousand peaks towards Piedmont, and rests upon the wonder of the Alps, the pinnacle of rock in immediate proximity-lhe Cervin
-whose peak is 15,200 English feet above the sea. During the ascent this glorious object-the motive for his journey, the reward of his exertion is constantly before the tourist.
On the actual crest there is some bare rock, and a little space so exposed that the snow cannot rest upon it. Here Saussure remained three days with his son and attendants engaged in experiments at this elevation. Traces of the rude cabins in which they sheltered still exist, and also of a redoubt thrown up three centuries ago by the Valaisans, and known by the name of Fort St. Théodule : it never could have been intended for serious defence but placed there with a silly military swagger, of which the Swiss were at that time fond, to mark what they claimed as their frontier-the crest of the Alps.
From the summit the descent towards the Val d'Aosta still lies over the glacier for two hours, thence down the steep and loose Moraines, swampy and difficult of descent, for two hours more before the traveller can reach the châlets of Mont Jumont,-the first on the side of Piedmont, without even any summer residence of man intervening between Zermatt, the last habitations in Switzerland, and this place, a distance of nine hours. About an hour below the chalets of Mount Jumont, is the plain of Breuil, where there are many granges, and a chapel, in which once a year, during the resort to the pasturages in these high regions, service is performed. The plain of Breuil appears to have anciently been a lake. From its lower extremity the peak of the Cervin is seen on the side opposite to Switzerland, but still towering over its enormous bed of glaciers.
Below the plain of Breuil, the route descends by a wild and deep gorge, through which a torrent rushes, and scarcely leaves space enough for a path by the side of the rock through this savage ravine, one of the wildest in the Alps, the traveller passes for about two hours, and then reaches the first village, which is composed of many houses scattered over the slopes of an amphitheatre of rich pasturage, surrounded by mountains. This, the highest village in the valley, bears also its name-Val Tournanche.
At this commune, the Piedmontese officers of the customs,
or as they are called in Piedmont, préposé, are stationed The difficult and dangerous passes into the Valais are the suresi courses for smugglers. Formerly, in defiance of Napoleon, and his Berlin decrees, they passed these frightful solitudes laden with British muslins, tempted by a bigh reward; but sometimes they were shot by the preposé stationed at points of observation.
From the village of Val Tournanche to Châtillon is a journey of about six hours, generally deep in the ravine through which the Tournanche foams; two or three little hamlets are passed, the principal of which is Antey. On aproaching Châtillon the road rises high up on the side of the rayine, and winds amidst enormous blocks of serpentine which have fallen from the mountains, whose side and bases bound the gorge, The arid faces of the rocks, whence these have been detached, present the richest colours to the pencil of the artist, and the vast trunks and wild branches of the chestnut and walnut trees increase the picturesque character of the valley. Through a forest of these the path descends, and on emerging from it the Val d'Aosta opens, the old and new bridges of Châtillon spanning with their single arches the deep ravine of the Tournanche; and, beyond, on the opposite side of the Val d'Aosta, the ruins of the Château d'Usselle present those materials of the picturesque for which the valley of Aosta is so celebrated.
The bridges are among the most remarkable objects at Châtillon. That over which the high road now passes is il very fine single arch, thrown across a deep gulf. From it are seen, further down the torrent, the remains of a Roman, bridge, also a single, and still an entire arch; and immediately over it another bridge, one which served its purpose for, many ages, but it has now been superseded by the new bridge, and its improved approaches.
In the depth of the gulf, and a little up the stream, are forges, strangely placed there, for the sake of the water power in working the tilts; a wild path leads down to them, and the view of the bridges from the bottom of the ravine forms one of the most striking scenes in the valley. Châtillon contains a convent of capuchins.
ROUTE 107. FROM TURIN TO CORMAYEUR, THE VAL D'AOSTA. The shortest route from Turin to Iyrea, at the entrance of the Val d'Aosta, is by Lemie, Volpiano, St. Benigno, and Foglis—all large villages or towns, containing from 1800 10 3000 inhabitants. St. Benigno has one of the most beautiful churches in Piedmont.
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