Route

In 1863 Thomas Cook led the first group of British tourists to Switzerland. Eight intrepid travellers joined his «expedition» from Geneva, through the Valais and the Bernese Oberland to Lucerne. One was 31-year-old Jemima Morrell, whose diary is the basis for today's ViaCook Cultural Route. The programme presented below is suitable for a trip of several days, or for day trips.

Gineva–Chamonix-Mont-Blanc (F)
Monday, 29 June 1863. The group travelled by carriage straight to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. From there a mountain guide led them to the Mer de Glace.

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Chamonix-Mont-Blanc–Martigny
Cook's group crossed the Col de la Forclaz to reach the Rhone Valley. Today the route via the Trient Valley is recommended.

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Martigny–Sion
At Martigny, Cook's group took the train to Sion. Today we suggest a hike on the southern side of the Rhone.

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Sion–Sierre
Today's travellers are fascinated by the «bisses» irrigation channels in the gorge of the river Liène, although Jemima Morrell missed out on them.

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Sierre–Leuk
In Sierre the carriage halted so the tourists could stroll through the village lanes. High above the Rhone are many other villages waiting to be explored.

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Leuk–Leukerbad
The English tourists waved briefly to the inquisitive villagers in Leuk; their destination, Leukerbad, the «summer town of baths and chalet-hotels» was near.

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Leukerbad–Gemmipass
At Leukerbad Cook's travellers observed the guests «commencing their day's soak». Then they set off on foot for the Gemmi Pass.

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Gemmipass–Kandersteg
Jemima Morrell was enthralled by the spectacular view from the Gemmi Pass. The descent made her think of a staircase for giants.

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Kandersteg–Wengen

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Wengen–Giessbach

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Giessbach–Luzern

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Luzern–Rigi Kulm

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Rigi Kulm–Solothurn

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Solothurn–Neuchâtel

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Neuchâtel–Travers

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Travers–Pontarlier (F)

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