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The Lodge

Cheesey goings on in the Val de Bagnes and the countdown really is on......

Hello wide world of Blog readers,

How are you all? We are coming to a close here for the summer. Now, this may be repeating myself just a little bit, but, wedding: imminent, and lifts opening: 40 days today!!!! So saying I had not watched a ski movie all summer a few weeks ago, this weekend I managed to watch 3 (yes a little bit sad...) But in the mean time, what else has been happening? I also have some very exciting news for those of you who have visited us over the past 2 summers and wanted to experience a ski holiday here. But more about that later, so read on.........

Well, as I mentioned, summer is winding down, we closed last week for the summer, however have opened up for 2 nights for an exclusive group, giving us a little more time to close down before autumn. In the past week of close we have had the staff outing, a great day, wine tasting in Sion, bowling in Martigny and an authentically Swiss Chinese meal. We are not talking about the bowling, however the rest of the day was great fun. Hannah has been away on her surprise hen weekend, and Pauls stag is coming up soon. Will and I managed to make ourselves feel very ill by eating too much cheese at the cheese festival in Le Chable, and it had nothing to do with the Fendant we were drinking, honest.

In the vines high above Sion

So, whats all this cheese festival about? Well, every spring time the cows go up the mountain to the 'Alpage' or high grazing pastures, where they eat plenty of summer grass, which apparently gives the cheese different flavours to the lower alpine grass they eat in winter. So, they have a festival up on the mountains in Spring time to celebrate this, and then in Autumn when the snow is about to come, they move all the cows down to mountain, to Le Chable, and this of course is reason to celebrate again. Although this time its a proper knees up. All the farmers from the surrounding villages, Volleges, Sembrancher, Etiez at the start of the valley, all the way past Verbier, through Bruson, Le Chable and into Versegeres and even as far as

Champsec all gather for a 2 day 'cheese off.' All the top producers of Raclette cheese, which is a local Val de Bagne speciality set up tents, fires and fridges, and sell their cheese. You basically wonder round the stalls trying all the different farmers cheeses, and accompany the cheese with a pickle, onions, potatoes and bottles of a local wine called Fendant. Now there is a bit of competition amongst the farmers, and they are all trying to outdo each other. A lot of the farmers use gas fires now to cook the cheese, but as one lady told us, you don't get the same flavours as a real fire, as she showed off her husband, who was, of course, cooking the cheese over an open fire. She got a bit upset when he took a break, and her younger son took over, promptly burning the cheese, and getting it too runny too quickly. Patience is a virtue down in the valley. All in all, an excellent way to spend an afternoon, as you get to mix with everyone, from the young children trying their first plate of Raclette, to the long in the tooth old farmers, complaining about the lack of real fires.

So, as promised, I leave you with exciting news about the rapidly approaching winter season. We have opened up the 10th to 13th of December as Hotel style, and are taking 3 night bookings for these dates, and even more exciting, the last week of the season, the 18th to 25th of April 2010 at the moment taking 7 night bookings. Get in early, as we have already sold a couple of rooms, and is a chance to come and ski with all the summer friends you have made here.

One final piece of news about Gerwin and his second marathon, he is running for a company called Floja Malawi, who are a Dutch couple who set up an orphanage helping the Malawian children give life a second chance. If you would like to donate to this amazing cause, please get in contact with me through the blog, and I will pass on the details, or try the website: flojamalawi.nl/pages/english/home.php his aim for this marathon, after running a 3 hr 20 last year, in his first marathon, is 3 hours on the nose. We all wish him the best of luck, and of course I will let you know how he gets on this year.

Not sure when I will post again, as I'm off on holidays, Kat is off to Necker, Will is off to Ulusaba, and Hannah and Paul on honeymoon. I will check in from time to time, and let you know about our new arrivals, both snow and staff, and of course (most importantly) when I get to put on my ski boots for the first time!!

Stay safe,

Gareth