Hotel Belvédère: The Iconic Swiss Hotel on The Edge of The Rhone Glacier
by Kaushik. Photo credit: ilirjan rrumbullaku/Flickr
Located in one of the snowiest regions in Switzerland, the Furka Pass, connecting the cantons of Uri and Valais in the country’s south-central region, is considered to be one of the “most iconic, exhilarating and exciting drives” through the Swiss Alps.
The scenic road with its tight switchbacks curving up the picturesque mountainside attracts countless tourists.
There is the Rhone Glacier with its ice grotto—a one hundred meter long tunnel drilled through the glacier every year that glows in an unearthly shade of blue—as well as attractive options for hiking, climbing and skiing.
The Furka Pass even played a brief cameo in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger.
As the road switches back and forth hugging the side of the mountain, at one point near the top of the pass, it comes within 200 meters of the Rhone Glacier.
It was here, in 1882, the young hotelier, Josef Seiler, built a hotel in one of the hairpin bends.
Over the decades Hotel Belvédère became one of the most iconic hotels of the Swiss Alps.
Nowhere else in the world could one drive a car so close to the edge of a glacier, check into a hotel room with balconies overlooking the massive river of ice, and then walk down a paved path to the glacier below located only a couple of hundred yards away.
Tucked away near the bottom of Switzerland’s Areuse Gorge is a nearly fantastical little bridge that looks straight out of a storybook.
Of course the Saut de Brot, as it is known, is very real, and absolutely gorgeous.
The lush Areuse Gorge in the region of Brot-Dessous in Switzerland was carved over millennia by what is now the Areuse river.
The waters still rush along the bottom of the beautiful natural fissure, between tall walls of stone.
The gorge is a popular nature spot for hikers who can traverse the trail that hugs the rocky cliffs.
However, maybe the most stunning feature is the small bridge that was built to span the Areuse between the canyon walls.
Known as the Saut de Brot, the bridge is a simple stone arch that is not overly dramatic in its construction, but is nonetheless singular enough to create an almost fantastical scene like something out of a Tolkien novel or a fairytale.
Greenery grows above and around the bridge giving it an even more hidden and secluded feel, even with other hikers and visitors milling around.
The actual origins of the bridge are unclear, although it seems like a recent edition despite, the stone construction.
It was obviously not built by elves, but it almost seems like it could have been.
Giger’s most famous book, Necronomicon, published in 1977, served as the visual inspiration for director Ridley Scott’s film Alien, Giger’s first high-profile film assignment, which earned him the 1980 Oscar for the Best Achievement in Visual Effects for his designs of the film’s title character, including all the stages of its lifecycle, plus the film’s the extraterrestrial environments.
Giger’s other well-known film work includes his designs for Poltergeist II, Alien3 and Species, as well as the legendary unmade film, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune.
From the onset of his career, Giger also worked in sculpture and had an abiding desire to extend the core elements of his artistic vision beyond the confines of paper into the 3D reality of his surroundings.
But it wasn’t until 1988 that he was given the opportunity to design his first total environment, a Giger Bar in Tokyo, Japan.
However, it was four more years before his concepts were properly realized, under his personal supervision, with the opening of a second Giger Bar in Chur, the city of his birth.
The HR Giger Museum, a further extension of this dream, opened its doors in June of 1998, in the Chateau St. Germain, in the historic medieval walled city of Gruyères, Switzerland.
As the permanent home to many of the artist’s most prominent works, the museum houses the largest collection of Giger’s paintings, sculptures, furniture and film designs, dating from the early 1960’s to the present day.