Our week-end in review

November 11, 2015 § 2 Comments

Lately our week-ends have been packed. When we’re not travelling, we have guests or are entertaining or are planning a trip or get-together… you get the point. I can’t remember the last time we sat around doing nothing (which arguably I’m not very good at anyway!). The past week-end was jam-packed with activities and I don’t regret it in the least.

Saturday started bright and early with brownie baking. Yes, you read that right I was baking brownies on Saturday at 8am. Very unusual start of the day for me but the brownies were a major hit with all of our friends and I even managed to freeze a few pieces. The recipe is incredibly easy to put together, in fact I whipped up the batter the night before and left it in the fridge. I promise to give you the recipe soon, this is a winner for sure.

brownie

After dropping some brownies to our friends’ house we drove to Gland, where wine-tasting was in order at the Caves Luis Vinzel. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and people were flocking around the wineyards taking sips left and right. Basically, the way this works is that you pay 15CHF which includes a glass and any amount of wine you can sip from the different wineyards. The event was very well organized – from the train station in Gland a bus or mini-car would drop you off to the different wineries which participated. We were done early but I guess the whole atmosphere becomes much more jazzed up later in the day. 🙂

wine 1 wine 2 wine 3 wine 4

We got hungry pretty soon and made a pit-stop at one of the restaurants in Vinzel called Malakoff. The place serves these wonderful dishes based on… you guessed it: cheese. Malakoff is basically a fried piece of bread with cheese on top. I loved it but couldn’t down more than 2, as it’s quite heavy stuff. The views from the restaurant were amazing though and the restaurant serves really great food – highly recommended.

mal 2 malakoff 1

 

Sunday is for resting, right? Well, not if you live in Switzerland and the weather is gorgeous in mid-November. On Sunday morning we woke up to perfectly clear skies and 20C temperature. We decided to tackle an easy hike in St Cergue with our friends. It was more than perfect and I stripped down to my tank top. The views were incredible and we stopped often only to take pictures. St Cergue is such an incredible area and we plan to go back this winter for some snow-shoeing.

munte 1 munte 2 munte 3

We went to bed early that evening as I had an early morning train ride to Zurich. We have some more travel planned for this week but I already want to go back to the mountains… Countdown to Christmas you said? 🙂

Celebrating 29. The more-than-perfect weekend in Leukerbad

October 1, 2015 § 4 Comments

I always seem to fall behind with travel recaps. We have have been away so much this year but there is no rendition of that on the blog.

So here’s what I can commit to:

  • Recap of our get-away in Albinen
  • Hike in Montriond
  • Vacay in Corsica
  • Holidays in Portugal

From now until the end of the year we have much more travel planned, so I’d better keep up to date with our whereabouts. 🙂

I owe the last weekend to Elvin. He booked the most gorgeous place ever to celebrate my birthday for what seemed like the most romantic and pampering get-away. To get to Albinen we took the highway that passes Lausanne and Montreux. I’m always so impressed with the views, they never get old!

montreux

Demeure des Elfes is perked up high in the mountains in a village called Albinen. The first time we went there was 3 years ago when I was still living in London. I adored the place and promised myself that one day I would come back. That day was my birthday this year. 🙂 Albinen is  a 5 minutes drive from Leukerbad, which prides itself with the oldest spa in Switzerland. Between the gorgeous nature and the more than perfect weather, we knew we were in for an amazing weekend. 🙂

As soon as we arrived at the cottage, Thessalia, the daughter of the owner greeted us with a home-made aperitif.

primire

We had booked the same room as the first time and… it was just as I remembered it… only better. The entire cottage has been refurbished and redecorated and it was simply perfect.

obersoncamera

I squealed when I saw the view from the balcony – it was truly breathtaking. The skies were clear, the mountains were standing tall and it was so incredibly p e a c e f u l.

balcon

view1

From the balcony we ran to the terrace, which had been completely re-done. The garden was in bloom and there were pumpkins hidden in the dense patches of grass. Also… a hammock!

garden 2hammock

We spent some time marveling at this incredible place but then it was time for dinner. We decided that a festive dinner was in order and chose La Croix Federale in Leukerbad. Upon getting there we realized we had been to the same place 3 years ago – quite the serendipity. The menu was full with delicious suggestions and we opted for an assortment of deer and game, plus local beer. We loved this place and would come back any time!

Driving back to Albinen we experienced the most serene, almost uncanny night. We stopped on the side of the road to look into the starry sky. The whole scenery resembled that of a movie… and yes, that is to be experienced and seen with your own eyes. No pictures here.

Back at the cottage we sipped on some of the 10 year old port which we had brought with us.

porto

We slept like babies and woke up to this beautiful breakfast.

brekkie 2brekkie

We had planned a most amazing hike (and long, and difficult) for today: the Gemi pass. Described as the classic among the classics, this hike did not fail to disappoint. We departed around 11am and came back at 19.15.

Some technicalities: the hike starts in Leukerbad and after ascending for seemed like forever 🙂 we reached Daubensee. This was the longest and most difficult stretch of the hike. It was probably what also killed my legs for days after the hike.

hike 1 hike 2

hike 3Daubensee is at the border between the mountains in Valais and the Bernese Oberland. A very strange-looking lake… but beautiful in the sunlight!

lake

And perhaps here’s where we under-estimated the difficulty and length of this hike, as we decided to keep going to Berghotel Schwarenbach. The way there was mostly descending and we never regretted our decision for a second, especially given the amazing food we were served there:

gulas

elvin food

tarta

The hotel looked really splendid and we agreed it would be amazing to spend New Year’s Eve there… one day. 🙂

pumpkin

By the time we set off again it was 16.15 and we knew the descent to Leukerbad was going to be technically difficult. Luckily I had my batons (best purchase ever) but to be fully honest, I was relieved when we set foot in Leukerbad again, as darkness was falling.

After a long, hot bath (ahh the bathroom at Le Demeure…) we slept soundly and woke up to a beautiful array of foods for breakfast the next day. I took a million pictures of the cottage, and what seems like 2 millions on the terrace where we sipped our coffee

terasa 1

We  had a hard time saying goodbye to our dear hosts, who generously offered me a jar of home-made confiture as a birthday gift. Sooo lovely of them! I took one last picture and we were off…

demeure

… to the spa. We had debated whether to go straight home or make a detour. Our muscles definitely thanked us for the hours spent in the amazing water and lovely sunshine. It was simply out of this world and we agreed that Leukerbad is probably one of the best maintained spas we have experienced.

view spa 2 spa 2 spa 1

We agreed that this weekend has probably added years to our life. 🙂 I am very grateful to Elvin for making this possible and… can I just say that I would like to spend my 30th birthday exactly in the same place, and in the same company? 🙂

The end. cer

Mont Tendre in May. Tender and beautiful

June 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

The details

Project: Hike from Col de Marchairuz (1447m) to Mont Tendre (1679m)

Date: 30 May 2015

Team: Sinzi & Elvin

Difficulty: Medium to easy

Hike duration: 2-2.5 hours for one leg

As I said in a previous blog post, I am really keen to do a lot of hikes this summer. Last Sunday Elvin and I decided to tackle Mont Tendre from Col de Marchairuz.

All in all I would say the level of difficulty on this hike was medium to easy. There are peaks and valleys and the peaks tend to feel steep to the relatively inexperienced hiker like us.

We drove to Col du Marchairuz which is about 1 hour away from Geneva. Affording splendid views over Lac Leman and the Savoyan Alps, Col du Marchairuz is a park in the Jura mountains which connects Aubonne with Le Brassus in the Vallée de Joux. The beautiful plateau is a starting point for many hikes.

Mont Tendre is the highest peak in the Swiss Jura. We were familiar with it already since last year we completed a hike to the same peak, but from Col de Mollendruz. We knew the Buvette at the top of the mouintain had opened 2 weeks before so this was an additional incentive. J

The weather was splendid, albeit a little hot. I am not a specialist, but I really payed attention to the landscape – the types of trees we encountered, the rocks, the kinds of flowers. The landscape is specific for the Jura mountains, with rocks scattered all over the place and looking pretty ancient. We stopped often for pictures and snacks – we brought cherries, home made cookies and almonds. Delish! Oh, and it turns out that this place is a great habitat for lizards as well as huge colonies of wood ants. 😀

Before we knew it, we arrived at the Buvette and filled our tanks with tartiflette and beers.

The views at the top were gorgeous! We even had a little nap in the grass – I don’t have any pics of that though. 😀

The hike back proved to be more difficult (all those little peaks that we had to conquer!) – the beer was probably not a good idea.

All in all, this was a great hike which can be tackled with kids as well. We came back pretty knackered. 😀

I can’t wait to go on the next hike – probably not this week-end though! 🙂

 

 

About self-limiting beliefs and getting back in the saddle

May 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

As a teenager I was quite adventurous. I travelled a lot by myself and had my fair share of trouble. I had a lot of fun but I was always quite cautious. The typical good girl.

With time my dreams became things I achieved alongside others and I quickly lost the appetite for solo adventures, to the point where I would not imagine travelling somewhere by myself. The typical sad story.

Life however has a special way of helping you redress when you stray. And life has demonstrated to me that I really need to take the bull by the horns and re-learn to have fun by myself.

The past week-end I really really wanted to go on a hike. I dreamed of being in the mountains and do a strenuous hike. I needed that organically for several reasons.But things didn’t quite pan out and in the end everyone in our group backed out, so at some point the hike was out of the question.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. But somehow I could not give up on my dream, not this time.

By the time I left home it was already 3pm which is extremely late when you also need to take the train to the mountains. But something in me was stronger than any obstacles and I did not second guess myself. I just went on, determined.

I took the train from Cornavin, direction St. Cergue. Trains run every 30 minutes. I changed in Nyon and took this small train which winded through the steep valleys in a number of smaller villages.  In my back-pack I had water, money, my phone with a dieing battery and a lot of energy that had to be used up. In about 30 minutes I had arrived in St. Cergue and was smiling ear to ear. Although I had mapped out an itinerary for myself so many hiking routes presented themselves! But it was already quite late and a ‘serious’ hike was out of the question… which irritated me!I decided to go on Haut Mont which I thought was a hike I could tackle in the time I still had left.

photo 1

The air was… incredible. The views were breath-taking and I even stumbled upon entire beds of tulips.

tulips

But most of all, I was out there doing what I had set for myself to do. I felt strong, free, beautiful. Capable. With every step on that path I realised how many self-limiting beliefs I am nurturing! I realised how much I tend to cling to people and expect of them to cross the finishing line with me. I realised I am MUCH more capable than I think I am and I can build my own stairway to the stars – I don’t need anyone else to do it for me. Half-way on the path it felt that this solo hike was the best thing that could have happened to me on that day.

me

Heck, when I came down to St. Cergue I even went to this cool place to reward myself with a beer – and actually enjoyed it.

beer

So what’s next? I’m not really sure. But what I do know is that I’m back in the saddle and ready to ride wherever my wise horse takes me… 😉

 

Wengen oder Plusquamperfekt

March 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

Orice intoarcere din vacanta e dulce-amara. Aveam nevoie de aceasta vacanta ca de aer… si norocul a fost ca Elvin s-a gandit la asta acum cateva luni. 🙂 Am fost la ski cateva zile, in inima Elvetiei, si m-am intors odihnita, relaxata si plina de energie.

Statiunea Wengen este situata in regiunea Berner Oberland, faimoasa atat pentru masivul Jungfrau, de care ne leaga niste amintiri foarte placute :), cat si pentru domeniul skiabil impresionant. Ne-am documentat din timp si am aflat ca pensiunea Edelweiss unde urma sa fim cazati era la 500m distanta de gara, intr-o panta, asa incat am luat la noi doar strictul necesar, caci echipamentul de ski e oricum destul de greu. Apropos de asta, ma amuz cand imi amintesc cat de nedumerita eram in primul an de ski cand vedeam cu cata naturalete merg schiorii cu bootsi, carandu-si in acelasi timp schiurile si betele. Mie mi se parea ca seaman cu niste extraterestri, unii a caror placere nu prea o intelegeam. Intre timp, totul mi se pare mult mai usor. 🙂

Pensiunea e foarte linistita, cu camere curate si primitoare. Am avut o camera cu terasa si privelistea ne-a taiat respiratia in fiecare dimineata: pensiune 2pensiune 3 pensiune 4 pensiune Gazdele au fost extraordinar de primitoare. Am optat sa servim cina in restaurantul pensiunii in fiecare seara si nu ne-a parut rau, caci meniul a constat din 4 feluri. Totul a fost delicios…

mancare 1 mancare 2 mancare 3

Dupa un mic-dejun consistent ne echipam pentru ski. Conditiile au fost excelente si fiind chiar inainte de Paste, statiunea nu era foarte aglomerata, asa ca de cele mai multe ori am avut partiile doar pentru noi. Vremea a fost… de toate felurile. Ceata extrema, asa incat coborand pe o partie rosie la final de zi nu mai vedeam nici la 10 metri in fata.Ninsoare din plin… Din fericire, nu ne-a fost deloc frig, chestie cu care nu ma impac deloc la ski.

ceata 2 ceata

Dar am avut si zile cu soare, cum a fost cea de ieri. Vremea a fost pur si simplu impecabila! Cer fara nici un nor, zapada perfecta, oameni veseli, barurile deschise. Ne-a fost atat de cald incat eu una am inteles ideea de ski in costum de baie. 🙂soare 2 soare 3 soare 4 soare 5 soare

Cand am obosit ne-am oprit la un après-ski pentru o bere, un carnat si chiar o siesta in sezlong, la soare…

bere sezlong

Dupa cateva ore eu imi simteam inevitabil muschii tari, infierbantati de la atata incordare si mai ales, obositi. Din fericire, magazinul Intersport a implementat un sistem inteligent, menit sa iti usureze viata: de la hotelul unde erai cazat primeai un fel de legitimatie care iti permitea  ca la finalul zilei sa iti depozitezi echipamentul de ski peste noapte la Intersport, unde aveai sa te echipezi a doua zi dimineata. Cine si-a carat skiurile si bootsii la final de zi intelege de ce e asta un sistem destept. 🙂

bootsi 2 bootsi 3 bootsi

Am incheiat sezonul de ski glorios ieri dupa-amiaza… dar inainte sa cedam de tot, ne-am propus sa mai facem o drumetie. Dupa o oprire scurta la pensiunea cu echiparea de rigoare, am luat trenul din Wengen si am coborat 20 minute mai tarziu… in plina iarna. Urma sa facem o drumetie de cam 45 de minute… dar oboseala, ninsoarea din ce in ce mai puternica, si peisajul oarecum apocaliptic aproape m-au facut sa renunt. Noroc ca am avut cu mine un spiridus care m-a incurajat tot timpul pana am ajuns la Kleine Scheidegg… unde ne-am tras sufletul si… unele lucruri trebuie sa ramana numai acolo. 🙂 Cert este ca ne-am promis sa ne intoarcem in acest loc din 10 in 10 ani. 🙂

Dupa un vin fiert si mai multe pahare de must, am luat trenul inapoi spre Wengen. Am dormit neintorsi…

iarna 2 iarna 3 tren 2 tren 3 tren

Cam asta a fost vacanta noastra la Wengen: mixul perfect dintre sport, aer curat, confort dar si efort, privelisti care sa iti umple sufletul de fericire, mancare delicioasa si… un film intreg de amintiri!

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