A cool breeze wafts down from the glaciers. The mountain tops seem closer to reaching the heavens than anything else on earth. The Rhone River is like a blue ribbon, fed by numerous tributaries that emerge from steep valleys. In Goms, the river is wild, in the lower Valais, gentle. It flows past mountain villages of sun-scorched houses, past towns where ancient history and modern impulses combine, past orchards and vineyards, until, well tamed, it enters Lake Geneva. In short, it is a landscape of opposites; of steep rock faces and soaring Alps; of German and French; of northern and Mediterranean flair. It is a region of 4,000 metre peaks, the twelve largest glaciers and a multitude of Alpine passes.