Tag Archives: #wonderweg

Toe-rnado

Yayyyy, my toe is finally getting better! It went on for weeks, and turned out to be an ingrown toe nail which got more and more infected and hurt like hell. I tried every ointment known to man. Nothing worked. It just kept feeling like someone stuck a knife in my toe. I got seriously worried that maybe I might have to stop hiking. But, since yesterday, I am trying yet another cream. This time an antibiotics cream and, now, the pain is already gone and the toe doesn’t look like a cherry anymore!

I am so happy and relieved. A few more days to let it heal just a bit more, then I will finally be back on the trail again.

In the meantime it’s wonderful to spend time with my friends here in Geneva. I’ll always remember the relaxed, fun, and uncomplicated time we had together. Thank you for sharing your home with me!

Geneva

Time flies. It’s my 5th day in Geneva already. The idea was to only stay for two days and continue on, but it’s all about the journey and the moment, isn’t it? To appreciate it, and enjoy it…

I feel so comfortable here with my friend Jonathan. Geneva seen through his eyes is surprising me in many ways. And the little toe on my right foot is still infected. So, I have extended my stay a bit more every day…

Yup, that damn toe is still acting up. It’s been two weeks now and I’m frankly a bit worried. I have tried a lot, and put so many creams and ointments on it… Currently, I am trying a new tip I just received yesterday: bathing the toe in camomile tea and then putting Betadine on it afterwards. If this won’t help either, I’ll go and see a doctor on Monday to get some antibiotics.

At least those toes are now getting a lot of freedom and sunshine in Geneva, as I am slowly walking through town in my flip flops.

It’s wonderful to see Jonathan again. We met while we worked for a circus show in Macau ten years ago. Even back then, his boundless positive energy blew me away. And his easy, relaxed smile often made my day. Especially, since we went through often hard times back then. He left after a year, I stayed a few years longer, and since then we’ve always tried to get together for a beer in Geneva, but it took me a whole decade to finally make it there ☀️.

He lives right next to CERN and it is ominous as well as exciting to think that the large Hadron Collider is operating underneath us as we sit on the couch watching Netflix. Who knows, one evening we just might end up in another dimension…

Yesterday, I had a chance to go sailing for the first time in my life. Like all good things, it was over way too quickly. But, ahhh, what a moment!!!

Other than that, I have spent a lot of time in the Bains des Paquis, Geneva’s favorite outdoor bath at the lake. I have watched Mont Blanc turn a soft pink at sunset whilst sitting at the pier and have enjoyed the uncomplicated international atmosphere of this special place.

I have picnicked on the banks of the river Arve. In the middle of the city. And it felt as if I was far away from any metropolis. In general, I keep getting surprised by just how much nature there is in Geneva. So much water. And so much green.

At the end of the day though, it’s never really the place, isn’t it? It’s all about the people you meet. And, so far, I’ve met wonderful people here in Geneva.

Oh, and I am shoe hunting… again. It turns out regular hiking boots, no matter how good, just don’t work for my feet on a long distance hike. They are too heavy and rigid. I will aim to find some comfortable trekking shoes before I continue on the trail beginning of next week.

For now, happy weekend to you all! Seize the day ☀️⛰🇨🇭

Byebye Switzerland, Hello France

Here a little map (it’s not exact), to recap and get an idea of how far I’ve hiked so far, where I am now, and where I’m headed next:
Yesterday, I walked until shortly before Sainte Cergue, then took a train to Geneva, where I plan to rest a couple days and have quite a few cold beers with my old friend Jonathan.

This finishes the Swiss part of my long distance hike.
The Jura Crest Trail was something to behold. Every forest, every meadow, every little village, every town more beautiful than the last.

I started my hike in Brugg (Canton Aargau) on July 6th, 2020.
Since then, it’s been 22 days, but only 15 hiking days
(7 days rest in between).
So far, only counting walking kilometers, it’s been approximately 200 km.
The Jura Crest Trail went up and down like a yoyo…
The highest point for me was at 1’600 m above sea level.

After Geneva, I’ll cross the border into France and continue onwards through the Rhone valley and the Vercours mountains…

Lac de Joux

After three weeks of hiking, I finally came across a mountain lake.

It’s about time! I always saw the big lakes in the valley: Lake Murten, Lake Biel, Lake Neuchatel, Lake Geneva. They were beautiful but way too far away. I kept longing for a cold lake to be right next to the trail, to dip those tired feet in. Or, even better, to throw that whole tired body into the rejuvenating mountain spring freshness. Well, today Lac de Joux did not disappoint. And the little village of Le Pont (aptly named) was so beautiful it almost hurt the eye.

Beware of Speedy Hikers

On my way towards St. Cergue this morning… getting ever closer to where I will cross the border from Switzerland into France…

As I stumbled to an open restaurant for a strong morning coffee, I came upon this curious little sign on the path.

Does it mean, “Beware of speedy hikers”? For slow hikers like me, so we won’t get run over? 🤔🌬

We Need To Talk About Cows

They are everywhere. Which is great, overall, and there is something soothing about all those Swiss cow bells, too… unless the cows are right next to your tent… Because, somehow, cows seem to never stop moving their heads, so the sound never stops.

Then, there is the good advice of “avoid the cows.” Great. How can I avoid them when my hiking trail literally leads me through every single cow pasture of the Jura region? Then, there are the signs saying, “Please don’t leave the trail.” Right next to other signs saying, “If cows are on your trail give them a wide berth.” Oookayyy.

And then, there is the thing about mother cows supposedly being especially aggressive to protect their young. If there are no calves, then you need not worry. But, today, I almost got attacked by cows who had no babies with them at all…? Thankfully, I had my walking sticks. The aggressive-no-baby-cows were standing right on the trail…

I left the trail, and gave them as wide a berth as possible, avoided eye contact, and literally tip toed around them through the high grass. When suddenly, I heard one cow stomping her hoves, followed by sounds of her galloping towards me. A quick glance backward confirmed she was headed straight for me. And another cow started to move towards me, too. Instinctively, I whirled around, into some sort of Kung Fu stance, both walking sticks extended towards the aggressive bovine ladies, and screamed at them “Leave me the fuck alone!” Somehow, the combination of profanity and sticks worked. The cows stopped in their tracks. I kept brandishing the sticks and continued tiptoeing, backwards, away from the large ladies, until I reached the gate in the fence and unceremoniously fled through it as fast as I could.

To celebrate my rather rude escape, here a herd of cows for you, changing pastures, and a little cow bell concert. Enjoy! To get the full cow-bell-fix, turn the volume up high 😉

Creux du Van

How can I possibly have lived so many years in Switzerland without ever hearing about the Creux du Van? It’s lovingly nicknamed the ‘Grand Canyon of Switzerland’ by the locals. Which (I have to be honest) is a massive overstatement. But, Switzerland is a small country and, like many other things around here, small doesn’t deter from being fabulous…

My good friends Angie and Leo caught up with me in Noiraigue yesterday around midday. From there, we hiked three hours up to the Creux du Van. As the trail zigzagged up the mountain, the Swiss were so kind to number the bends. It drove me nuts, because it made me feel as if the hike up was longer than it actually was.

One thing I’ve discovered over the last three weeks is that it’s best not to think about how long something will take. I’ve also learned not to think too much about the trail going up or down. It’s best to just move forward, step by step, no matter what the trail does, without obsessing about details which can’t be changed anyways. But yesterday, try as I may, I couldn’t ignore the bright yellow number on a tree at each bend.

Oh well. All worth it in the end. When we finally made it up to the plateau, the Creux du Van lay beneath us in all its glory. And, albeit small, it really is glorious!

Leo and I shared his first ever cheese fondue. Then, Angie and Leo headed back down. I stayed the night in a tipi in the forest which was slightly warmer than sleeping in my own tent. The nights are freezing up on the crest!!

In the morning, I got up at sunrise and went to the edge of the canyon. The wildlife I had hoped to see wasn’t there. But, the sun was out. I just sat there for a while, drinking in the beauty around me before I indulged in a large Swiss farmer’s breakfast at 8am to then head out along the Jura Crest Trail once more…

The Perfect Performance

Yesterday was a day of butterflies. They were everywhere. One thing I notice as I am hiking through these meadows and forests is that if they’re healthy there is nothing quiet about them. Everything buzzes, scuttles, and moves. Insects are everywhere. I haven’t seen this many ant hills since my childhood (and I’m ooold). Some of those ant hills are as wide as a person and at least one meter high. There must be a metropolis of millions in each one. On the trail, I can’t step anywhere without stepping on something. I just hope all those little critters are small enough, and the forest floor has enough give, so I am not crushing too many of them (Watch out for giant Liam!) Flies and bees are hovering and zooming all over the place. Oh, and I am rediscovering my grave dislike of horse flies. Give me a cute little mosquito any day. These horse flies are tenacious and their bite hurts like hell (grrrrr).

The beauty of this landscape is almost indescribable. I was thinking, will my photographs be able to convey how it feels here? But they really can’t. It’s the scent in the air as well. This potpourri of different grasses, leaves, bark, and dirt. It’s the perfect combo no perfume designer will ever even come close to designing. I wish, I could breathe more, breathe deeper, to let this wave of natural scent saturate me completely. Then, there is the sunlight hitting the foliage and blades of grass in different angles. And then, there is the wind, playing trees and grasses like instruments. Altogether, it is the perfect performance, the perfect composition. An opera for eternity.

Hiking in French

On the trail again!

Wednesday night, I said goodye to the area around Lake Biel in style, with a cheese fondue in a beautiful little mountain hut at Chasseral, up at 1’600 m, in wonderful company. Thanks so much to my friends Irene and Sylvain for making time and pampering me to bits!

On Thursday morning, my hosts Kathrin and Sepp and I drove up to Vue des Alpes. They did this trip extra to bring me to my next waypoint on the Trans Swiss Trail (which, I now found out, is more accurately called the Jura Crest Trail). We had a last coffee together before they “abandoned me in the forest” as they put it with a charming twinkle in their eye. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done for me and for letting me stay with them for an entire week. My stubborn feet and I couldn’t be happier.

I took it easy on this first day back and hiked only for about 5 hours. The trail was more stunning than ever, staying above 1’400 m for most of the day. Below I could first see Lake Biel, then the even larger Lake Neuchatel, stretching all the way to the horizon. The clouds were spectacular. So were the grass lands up above the tree line. There were quite a few hardy Swiss hikers on the trail. The many “Gruezi”s have now fully been replaced by “Bonjour”s though, as I have entered the French part of Switzerland completely. Unfortunately, the Swiss dialect of French spoken here sounds rather different than regular French. So, beyond “Bonjour” I don’t really understand a word my fellow hikers are saying.

Et voila, at the end of the day, I found a rustic “Sleep in the Hay” mountain hut where I spent the night to avoid the thunderstorms which seemed to threaten on the horizon.

Soon Back On The Trail

A wonderful day to you all! The inflammation in my feet seems to be almost entirely gone. Two more days of pampering the little rebels and off I’ll go on the trail again on Thursday. I will continue from Vue des Alpes on the E4 and keep hiking towards Geneva. Shortly after Vue des Alpes I’ll pass by Creux du Van, the Grand Canyon of Switzerland. Can’t wait!