Vaud Alps: the blog

In the heart of the mountain, white gold

It may seem surprising to go by train to the bottom of a mine located in the heart of a mountain to visit its hidden treasures. Especially when the weather is beautiful outside! However, this truly one-of-a-kind experience totally fascinated us. Here is the summary of our family visit to the Bex Salt Mines this summer.

We had hardly arrived, no time to hang around! With our guide, we entered directly into the heart of the adventure by taking a narrow path carved into the rock which led us to a large room. We watched a film on the history of the Bex Salt Mines in a light-hearted way, the techniques of salt extraction as well as the use made of it. Impatient like children, we heard a roar in the distance. The train was waiting for us and we wondered what adventure we had embarked on...

Aboard the mine train

No surprises: there is no first class or service on board! However, we did have the choice to sit inside or outside, at each end of the cars. In any case, be prepared for ten minutes of close encounters with your fellow travellers. But the experience is definitely worth it!

In the heart of the mountain

Indeed, once arrived, it was fascinating to imagine the kilometres of rocks that surrounded us. We learnt that the salt is locked in the rock and that it is by injecting water that it is possible to release this white gold. We took time out to think about these miners who worked here, armed with hammer and chisels, advancing a few tens of centimetres a month in search of salt that would ultimately be elusive without this technique.

The visit was dynamic: our guide shared many anecdotes with us. The tools used by miners were also on display. No doubts: we were in Switzerland! Gruyere cheese and red wine were indeed stored in the heart of the mine. The temperature of the mine is ideal in the promotion and the development of aromas. The making of the fleur de sel is also visible through a magnificent bay window where you can see one of the specialists at work.

Alpine salt delicacies

After about an hour soaking up the unique atmosphere of the place, we were about to leave the mine when suddenly... no train! We were told of a slight delay. Well… at least, we had something to eat and drink for a while!

After a few minutes of waiting, we were off again on the train, ready to find the light of day. The end of the visit went well: we tasted salted caramels, chips, salt with organic herbs, raw vegetables: so many products that are enhanced by the quality of the salt from the Alps!

This trip 350 metres below the surface takes about two hours. The temperature of the Mines is 18 degrees, no matter what time of year! It would also seem that this saline atmosphere slows down the ageing process.
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