THE GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Rearing up in the otherwise deltalike flatlands of the western Valais, two otherworldly twin hills flank the ancient city of Sion. The two hills together are a powerful emblem of the city's 1,500-year history as a bishopric and a Christian stronghold. From the top of either hill are dramatic views of the surrounding flatlands and the mountains flanking the valley.
Sion folk are fiercely proud and
independent, as reflected in the fanatical support for their soccer team and their dogged attempts to host the Winter Olympics. (There was bitter disappointment when they lost the bid for the 2006 games to rivals across the border in Turin, Italy.) A shortage of high-quality hotels gives the impression that the town is not as hospitable to travelers as the tourist-oriented ski resorts, but don't be deterred; there are ample reasons to spend time here.
Ice-capped peaks with small mountain resorts staggered up their spines rim the Aletsch, a glacier that shares its name with the area surrounding...
A rail and road junction joining four cantons, this small but vital town for centuries has been a center of trade with Italy. Often overlooked...