Tag Archives: Switzerland

Weekend in Champéry, Switzerland

19 Feb

Wow! Has it really been more than one month since I posted a Cheese & Vegemite tale? There is so much to catch up on so I’m going to go ahead and get started by telling you about our ski-turned-hiking trip to Champéry in January.

My husband and I are still in the beginners phase of our respective skiing journeys and wanted to get a few good sessions in this winter so before we shipped off back to Australia for the Christmas holidays we booked a hotel and some ski lessons in Champéry in January. Little did we know that the snow season would start off slowly and leave us with brown patchy pistes for our weekend.  We concluded that our first ski of the season would be rather unpleasant in such conditions so we opted to chill out for the weekend and enjoy a few local hikes instead.

We had not been to Champéry before and chose it primarily because of its close proximity to Geneva and direct access to Les Portes du Soleil – the world’s largest internationally ski domain with 194 ski lifts. There is certainly a wide range of winter activities to be enjoyed in the region – when there is snow of course – including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and sledding. Fortunately for us there is over 800km of trails to wander although with our decision to take it a bit easier we didn’t walk very far from the center of town. We followed a few hiking/snowshoe trails but there was definitely no need for snowshoes. Here’s a few snaps from our little walks.

The village itself features beautifully kept wood chalets with cute storefronts and numerous restaurants and bars all within walking distance. Overlooking Champéry are the 7 spectacular peaks of Les Dents du Midi (at a height of 3257 metres or 10,686 feet). You can catch a glimpse of these towering beauties from just about every street/hotel/restaurant in Champéry and Val d’Illiez meaning we got plenty of photo opportunities. See for yourself

We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful country! We still have not been skiing yet but as soon as we do I will share my experience with you 🙂

Who has been enjoying the snow season this year? I’d love to hear your stories.

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Weekend Hiking in Emmental

22 Nov

Emmental, a dairy region in central Switzerland, famous for its Emmental cheese (or the Swiss cheese with holes in it) and Kambly biscuits.

A beautiful area of rolling hills and green pastures and views of the Swiss Alps. My husband had planned a two-day hike for us to do last weekend and the weather was looking to be good – chilly and overcast but no chance of rain equals perfect hiking conditions.

We packed our bags and headed to Burgdorf on Friday night after work, about 2 hours by train from Geneva. We stayed the night in Burgdorf before starting our hike from Langnau on Saturday.

*You will notice a theme throughout the weekend… can you guess what it is*

Burgdorf

On Saturday morning before starting our hike we took a quick turn around Burgdorf. A typical Swiss town; super cute and totally quiet in the early morning.

Day 1 Hike : Langnau to Eggiwil

The map below is from the national hiking trails website and the route we had planned to follow – 10km of easy hiking.

Trans Swiss Trail - Langnau to Eggiwil

Trans Swiss Trail – Langnau to Eggiwil

This what we ended up doing – 17km of moderate intensity hiking

My Garmin - Langnau to Eggiwil

My Garmin – Langnau to Eggiwil

All through Switzerland, hiking trails are marked by small yellow signs, some with place names and arrows, some just a marker. Right at the start we missed on of the signs and started walking in the wrong direction. We found ourselves in Emmenmatt after 2.5km, not a place we were suppose to be walking through on our way to Eggiwil. My husband had said that the first few kilometers were all uphill and so when we had been walking on fairly flat ground for 2.5km we did start to wonder what was going on. After a quick read of our map (thank goodness we printed them out!) we backtracked the 2.5km and started “up” the right path. Here’s what we saw along the way…

We passed by one local dairy farmer who provides milk to the Emmentaler cheese dairy. Over 150 farmers provide more than 28,000 litres of fresh cows milk every day for the production of just 20 wheels of cheese each day. I’m sure this place would be more lively in the summer months so we may just have to come back.

We also made a slight detour via Blapbach for a pit stop at the Restaurant Blapbach. This restaurant is famous for its meringues, yum 🙂

We stayed at Gasthof Baren (a popular name for Guesthouses in the Bern canton) in Eggiwil – the only guests I think – which was quite cosy and enjoyable.

Day 2 Hike : Eggiwil to Trubschachen

For this part of our weekend hike we joined two hikes together. Unfortunately I can’t show you on the Swiss hiking website but here is what my Garmin showed – 15km of moderate intensity hiking

My Garmin - Eggiwil to Trubschachen

My Garmin – Eggiwil to Trubschachen

We didn’t take any wrong turns this time! We started off just after 9am and this is what we saw along the way to Trubschachen…

With such a rapid increase in elevation, it wasn’t long before we hit snow. Green pastures and autumn coloured leaves soon turned to white. It was a fairly steep climb but we took it slowly and stopped every now and again to take some photos and greet some alpacas. The sun almost broke through the clouds at Pfyffer but we were sadly unlucky.

Upon arriving in Trubschachen, I could smell freshly baked bread, like a bakery smell. To my surprise, the Kambly factory was located in Trubschachen! Kambly has been making biscuits in Switzerland for more than 100 years. There is no tour of the factory, no tourist video to watch, only a small cafe and shop selling the biscuits.

Did I mention free tasting of ALL the biscuits? Yep, that’s right, free tasting! The absolute best way to end a weekend of hiking.

So, did any of you guess the theme of our weekend? Anyone? How about the fog? Did any one notice the fog? I’ve seen photos of what scenery we should have been able to see on this hike but unfortunately for us we were enveloped in a thick hazy of cloud all weekend long. *sigh*

Stay tuned for more hiking tales from Switzerland xx

Weekend Hiking in the Bernese Oberland

16 Oct

Hiking in Kandersteg in the canton of Bern

Now that the marathon training has finished and we have both recovered (physically) from the event we are taking the opportunity to do some other forms of physical activity, like hiking! The weather throughout most of Europe was predicted to be less an accommodating to our outdoor adventure plans but my wonderfully resourceful husband found a small pocket of landscape in the Bernese Oberland that looked promising. Thanks babe!

After packing a few essentials we caught the train on Saturday morning from Geneva to Kandersteg via Brig.

Day 1: Kandersteg to Selden

11km, 500m incline, 3h20m (suggested timing).

Oh my goodness, everything was white already!! I was not prepared for this. I’m struggling to come to grips with the cooler weather as it is let alone preparing for proper winter and snow and below freezing temperatures. It was a sight that I was not prepared for and promptly told my husband so all the while being astounded at his excitement for all things white and wonderful! Who is this person I married? I must admit though that I was really excited to be out and about, doing something physical other than running and exploring these beautiful parts of Switzerland.

The weather looked promising although after the snowfalls on Thursday and Friday night we donned our gators as we thought the trail could get a bit slushy. We started off after a quick bite to eat at the Kandersteg train station cafe (a piece of salami between two pieces of bread for chf 6, hmm) and sure enough the trails turned snowy very quickly. There were even some parts of the trail that had not been walked on in a few days (as evidenced by the unadulterated snow cover) so we made sure to create lots of fresh new footprints.. hehe.. a bit childish but so much fun! Puddles had iced over and I managed to pick up a huge piece of ice from one puddle – how cool is that!!

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