Train, Walk & Boat trip

The Swiss are rightly proud of their railways.  Not only are they clean, comfortable and run on time, but they can also take you up mountains.  Indeed that was one of the reasons we chose to camp in Vitznau, as there is a cog railway which takes you up from the side of the lake to the top of the Rigi (@1,798 metres or 5,900 ft).  In fact, you can also go up there on a completely different track from the village of Goldau.  The top can therefore get quite busy.

However, after heavy rainfall overnight, we awoke to see the mountain completely covered by cloud. (The tent was also quite wet, but that’s another story). So Jude and I decided to take the train as far as Romiti Felsentnor (@1,195 metres or 3,920 ft) then walk down to Weggis, before taking the paddle steamer back to Vitznau.



Camping in Vitznau (1 of a few)

Both our chalet and apartment were booked last week, so Jude and I had to move out and go on holiday…

We often talk about visiting other parts of Switzerland and for some time now, Jude has been trying to talk me into going camping.  Bearing in mind that the last time I went camping was in 1979, to Guernsey with my mates Ian and Martin, I took some persuading.  Buying a 4 person tent and two oversized inflatable mattresses helped of course, as did the two ring camping stove (not that I’d be using it much).

So it was that we chose the camp site at Vitznau for a 5 night stay last week.  Vitznau is towards the centre of Switzerland and sits on the shores of the ‘lake of 4 cantons’, which is better known as Lake Lucerne (even though Lucerne is only one of the 4 cantons).

As ever, our journey there was as exciting as our arrival and stay, so below are some of the images taken during our many stops while driving over the Grimsel pass. (Yes, it does sound like something taken straight out of a fairy tale, but I can assure you it does exist !)

Le Tour de France – Stage 17

It’s hard to imagine the pain and suffering that the Tour de France riders must go through.  I only walked about 300 metres (1,000 ft) up from the station to the first hairpin bend on the ascent out of Martigny and I was about to spontaneously combust.  With temperatures around 34 degrees C (or 93 F) it was HOT.  So I did what any self-respecting person would do in that situation and found the nearest bar to cool off…  About an hour later ( 🙂 )  I could just about bear to come out and watch the ‘caravan’ go by.

For anyone unfamiliar with Le Tour, the race is preceded by a cavalcade of advertising floats, dispensing freebies, in the form of hats, sweets, key-rings and all sorts of goodies to the enthusiastic supporters by the side of the road.  (How they have enough to cover the whole 180k+ route, I will never know).  But it was a wonderful spectacle and great to see these phenomenal athletes in action.

Cabane de Prafleuri Walk

Yesterday we bade a very fond farewell to Katie and Fergus, our honeymoon couple, who had walked over 80 miles during their week staying with us !  Only a few hours later Matt arrived, another keen walker. He and I had been to the top of the Barrhorn (@3,610m) together a few years ago.

Looking for something slightly different, we decided to drive around to the Dixence dam (the largest gravity dam in the world you’ll remember) to do a circular walk over the Col des Roux to the Cabane de Prafleuri.  Some friends and I may be staying there in September, so it was a good opportunity to check it out.  As you’ll see from the photos, there was still quite a lot of snow around.

50th Montreux Jazz Festival

Last week, when I was back in the UK, an old friend of mine called Mick mentioned that he was coming over to Switzerland for the Montreux Jazz Festival.  He said he was staying in Vevey for the weekend, so I took the opportunity to go over and take him around some of the more interesting sights (to me anyway).

One of them was up the funicular railway to Mont Pèlerin, which is where Jude & I used to live.  The views of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) are simply stunning from up there. (Yes, it was hard to leave that apartment that we loved so much!)  Mick and I then took the trolley bus to the Chateau Chillon, which is one of the Top 10 ‘must see’ sites in Switzerland.  From there it was just a short stroll back along the lakeside to Montreux, where we watched a couple of shows in the open air (& free) ‘Music in the Park’ venue.

The Jazz festival is iconic, showcasing musical talent from all over the world (not necessarily jazz either) and this year it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Summertime at Chalet Les Criquets

The holiday season is in full swing here at Chalet Les Criquets.  Today we said a fond farewell to a lovely family who were on a Frost Guiding course and later this afternoon we will be giving a warm welcome to a honeymoon couple !

As you can see from the photos, the sun is shining brightly here in Evolène, the chalet flowers are in full bloom and the parascenders are flying high.   So, after some hoovering, cleaning and bed changing, I think it’s time for some well earned lunch at The Refuge.  Life can be tough sometimes, but someone has to do it !

Enjoy your weekends.

Bricola Hut (Walk 20) – Ferpècle Glacier hole update

Just to recap, for new readers or those with short memories…  I’ve created a list of 31 walks in the Val d’Hérens region and, so far, I think I’ve managed to post something about 26 of them*.  I promise to catch up with the missing 5 and to do some new ones, but for today it’s an update on the hole which appeared in the Ferpècle glacier last year  and a repeat of Walk 20, which I did with my mate Pete in September.
*Note that you can use the Search facility on the About page to look for ‘Walk xx’ or to find a particular place.

It never ceases to amaze me how diverse the alpine flowers are, with their different shapes, sizes and wonderful colours.  Even though I’ve seen almost all of them before, I still find it fascinating to photograph them.  It must have taken me the best part an hour to cover only a few hundred yards, before the path started to climb out of the valley.  I’ve done my best to identify each one from my Swiss Alpine Club ‘Our Alpine Flora’ book, but please don’t take my word for any of them !

As for the glacier – the hole is still there and, as far as I can see, it’s hardly changed at all. 🙂

Kingston upon Hull, Old Town pubs

Anyone who knows me, knows that I like a beer or three…  So it was no surprise to find me wandering around the old part of my ‘home’ town of Hull (full name Kingston upon Hull) during a recent visit to see my family.  (With thanks to my sister, Karen, for devising the route and keeping me on the straight and narrow !)

In 2017 Hull will become the European City of Culture so it was purely in the interests of research (of course) that we decided to seek out some of the best real ale establishments for this ‘report’. 🙂  My top 3 recommendations would be The Sailmakers, Ye Olde Black Boy and The Lion and Key.