A Glorious Hike In The Shadow Of The Eiger

One of our favorite parts of Switzerland is the outdoors and the superb hiking.  When we hiked at the Matterhorn, I was stunned by its beauty.  In the Bernese Alps it was déjà vu all over again with sunny skies and gorgeous mountain views.
In warmer months, we fill our water bottles using these log fountains.

There were a couple of places where the trail was a bit slick (which is understandable when you see the above photo).  I only fell once.  Luckily, I have a bit of padding back there.  It softened the blow when I went crashing down.  I was a bit worried about falling and tumbling down the side of a mountain.  The Swiss like to use those hiking poles when they hike (or even walk on a flat trail by the lake in Geneva).  I might have to get a pair.    I don’t think they’d protect me from the falling rocks though.

I’ve loved cairns ever since we saw tons of them hiking Ben Nevis, but hadn’t seen such a pretty art installation.  Right on.

This is the iconic North Face of the Eiger with the town of Grindelwald below.  For a cool YouTube Movie of someone (not that guy below) climbing its North Face in record time, click here.  It’s Ueli Steck‘s Triple Speed Climbing Record.  He bested his own speed record for scaling the Eiger’s north face via the classic Heckmair Route.  This improvement is likely because he did not belay, instead he relied on a loop of rope that allowed him “to hook on occasionally,” and reduced the weight of his gear.   This isn’t his only big climb or big mountain; he’s kind of a maestro.   He also did speed ascents of the two other great north faces in the Alps, the Grandes Jorasses and the Matterhorn (completing the Grand Jorasses in 2 hours 21 minutes, and the Matterhorn in 1 hour 56) in record time.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Does Anyone Need A Sherpa?

I can now add a new position to my resume.  Sherpa.  If you need a Sherpa, I am your woman.

We live in an old building from the turn of the century. As a result, it does not have a garage. Rather than rent a parking spot for a few hundred Swiss Francs a month, we are leaving the car at work. We will be able to park in the neighborhood when our local registrations come through. In the meantime, we are hoofing it during the week.

Everything we buy, we must carry home ourselves.  It’s not a problem and we don’t mind it one bit. It does yield some interesting train rides. Here is a top ten list:
10. I purchased a shelving unit from Ikea for my (admittedly excessive) shoe collection. I received lots of honks on and even a thumbs up with an “Allez, Yeah” on the way to the station.  Enjoy the photo above even though it doesn’t do it justice.
9. Carrying 6 bottles of wine home.  I tried not to look like an alcoholic. Funnily enough, carrying 6 bottles of wine doesn’t even merit a raised eyebrow here.
8. Walking down the street carrying an iron (purchased from the Salvation Army for a steal) with no box.  I couldn’t fit it in my backpack because it was full of groceries.
7. He and I carried our (possibly too large) TV to our apartment.  We had to carry it from the other side of the city because we also purchased this secondhand.
6. Although technically not in the same category, I have been carrying magazines home.  Everyone recycles here (more about that in another post).  On Wednesdays, everyone puts their paper goods out in front of their doors for the city to pick up. On our Tuesday evening walks, I have seen perfectly good new French fashion magazines sitting on top of the recycling.  They are perfect for me because I can easily read them and the articles aren’t too long.  I have scooped them up and gleefully carried them home.  The $6-7 that they cost at the newstand is prohibitively expensive.  Free is the right price.
5. Lavender.  All the old ladies on the tram (and a few men two) wanted to ask me about the beautiful plant I was carrying.  They wanted to know where I got it, tell me how lovely it was, how nice it smelled, etc.  It is currently ailing.  Here’s hoping that it will pull through.
4. A toilet plunger (again the backpack was full). Enough said.
3. A lamp that was taller than me. It was a smokin’ deal that the Salvation Army and even has a dimmer! How could I have passed that up?
2. An excessive amount of wine and beer bottles to take to recycling (see #9). We invited all 7 people we know in Switzerland to dinner.  Funnily enough, this didn’t merit a raised eyebrow either.
1. One day I carried this table home. To it, I taped a vacuum cleaner, a steamer and a plant stand.  Oh yeah, I wore my backpack too.  It was full.*
*Swiss people have been very nice.  That day, I had no less than four people ask me where I was going so that they could help me carry it.  I politely declined. For me, it was a point of pride. How else can I train properly for my Sherpa job?