Monday, 27 February 2017

Navette Autonome (4)

Sion (French) Sitten (German) Seduno (Italian)
Three languages are spoken in Switzerland, namely French, Geman and Italian hence many organisations need three versions of their name. A resident of Sion s called a Sédunois which seems to apply irrespective of language.The people of the Canton of Grisons will be seething at the list of languages. Many of them speak Romansch, a fourth "official" language in Switzerland.

Viafier (road of iron) = railway : Glatsch = ice cream

Where is Sion?
It is in Switzerland, east of Geneva and in the valley of the River Rhône, a watercourse that we have met at Lyon. It is the capital of the Canton of Valais. At a cursory glance the town seems built on flat river plain ...
... surrounded by gorgeous Swiss mountains. But this 16th century engraving exaggerates the town's distinctive features.
Look closely today and you can see what the ancient engraver chose to emphasise.
In and around the town are several distinctive peaks of solid rock and each of these two chunks is host to an ancient building.

On the left is ...
... Châteaau de Tourbillon dates back to the 13th century and was badly damaged by fire in 1788 and oft rebuilt and re-occupied, It is now a ruin but still spectacular.
On the right is The Basilique de Valère ...
... which can also date itself back to the 13th Century. Its purpose was a combination of worship and political and religious domination of the region.
You really wouldn't want to mess wit the folk that lived and rules up there!

At the foot of these two peaks is the old town, now largely pedestrianised or with traffic severely restricted as per the blue lines of the Google map.
On the southern edge of the old town you will find the railway station.
The station is on the main line between Geneva, Lausanne and Northern Italy via the Simplon Tunnel (click on the map below to enlarge) ...
... and thus has a wide range of international and interurban trains,

Next door (of course, this is Switzerland) is the superb covered bus station.
From here buses run by the Swiss Postal Service ...
... run inter urban and rural bus routes. A wide variety of vehicles is operated nationally, ranging from minibus-type buses ...
... to impressive double deckers.
The livery includes the traditional post horn.
And just round the corner from the bus station is the main stop for Sion's town buses.
Note the size of the stop name on the shelter (left); no mistaking where you are. fbb plans to take a look at these services later this week. For the time being here is an articulated single decker.
Note, in passing, that Sion has a population of about 34,000 people. Here is a list of English towns of similar size.
Contrast and compare!

It is to this little town that Navya driverless buses have come, resplendent in their Post Bus livery.
This operation is very different from the others that fbb has reviewed; as we shall see tomorrow.

 Next Navette Autunome blog : Tuesday 28th February 

1 comment:

  1. The line through Sion between Lausanne and Brig is one of my favourites - I do like scenic mainline "proper railways" far more than little toy trains.