Rochers de Naye, Swiss Alps

MONTREUX, AUGUST 2001 – The railway going from Geneva to Montreux follows the borders of the Geneva lake.  After a short visit to the beautiful town of Lausanne, with presumably one of the nicest cathedrals of Switzerland, we went on to Montreux, to visit the world famous ‘Chillon castle’ and to get away for a couple of hours into the mountains.  The Chillon castle, built on a rock in the Geneva lake, seems kind of small when seen from a distance, but when visiting the numerous rooms, cellars, passways and towers, it becomes soon clear this is an immense fortress.  In the past many of its visitors have fallen in love with the castle and its surroundings, among them Lord Byron which has put his name on one of the pillars in the former prisoner cells.  

The wooden passways, that used to be manned by the guards defending this castle, now constantly crack under the burden of the many tourists from all over the world.

Chillon Castle

From the station of Teritet, about a 15 minutes walk from the Chillon castle, a fully automated cable car takes you in 4 minutes time to the station of Glion, from where you can admire the castle once again, now surrounded by views of the mountains.  To be able to really admire the Alps however, we had to go higher, up to a place called ‘Rochers de Naye’, at an altitude of 2041 metres.  The pinion railway train takes you there, a ride that is maybe the most expensive I’ve ever taken but it’s a real adventure and worth every Euro !  Moreover at the very end of the ride, you are on top of Rochers de Naye, and from there the views are absolutely stunning.  On the top, we visited the Alpine garden, which hosts a collection of mountain flowers from the Alps (e.g. the Edelweiss) but also from elsewhere in the world (Himalayas, Andes,…).

Rochers de Naye train station Look this way for Eiger !

What struck me the most was the fast changing landscape.  The many clouds that were there that day played with the sun and the shadows on the mountains, resulting each time in a different scenery.  When it’s clear you can see the Eiger from up here. The bells of the Alpine cows are the only music that is heard here.  Yet another discovery, a small concrete Tibetan chörten – Switzerland hosts the most Tibetan refugees next to India.  We walked around for some hours and saw the lakeside view disappear completely in the mist.  By the time we heard the last train came up to bring us down again, the mist had reached the train station.  But the trip was not over yet.  By the time we reached Glion again, it was raining but we nevertheless decided to walk back to Montreux. It’s an easy path to follow but in rainy conditions, it’s very slippery.  This was a descent some of us will remember for a long time…

We went into Montreux town for diner, admiring the thunder and lighting raging above the lake, from in between the palm trees on a lakeside terasse.  We were all a little tired but yet another experience richer.

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Obergurgl, Austrian Alps

OBERGURGL, JULY 1996 Most people in Europe visit the Alps in France, Austria, Italy or Switzerland in winter on their ski break.  I visited the Alps in mid summer and even then you encounter snow, provided that you go high enough. Obergurgl is situated in Otztäl, in the Austrian Alps, at an elevation of 1930 metres.  No village in Austria is situated at higher altitude than this one, making it an ideal startpoint for hikes in the high Alpes nearby.  Many peaks of 3000 metres and up are situated in this area, including the Wildspitze, Austria’s highest mountain, rising 3772 metres above the wonderful alpine landscapes.

First goal of the hike was reaching the Breslauer Hütte, at an altitude of 2840 metres.  This is the startpoint for hikers that go up the Wildspitze.  I didn’t climb the Wildspitze – although this is not a technically difficult mountain, it should not be undertaken without a mountain guide. And most importantly, the weather is king of the mountains… the weather decides whether or not to go on a particular hike

 View from the Breslauer HütteHappy hikers  

 

 

 

But I made another fantastic hike in the Vent area, crossing  mountain ridges and wonderful passes,… unforgettable mountain beauty !  From the Breslauer hütte,  I continued my hike to the Vernagthütte, a few more hours away from the Breslauer Hütte, located at 2766 metres.  The ups and downs on this hike are not much, as one walks on a the side of  mountain slope ranging between 2600 and 2900 metres,  the sights are magnificent !  Most of all, you are above the tree level here, there’s nothing but rocks, ice and snow – this is my favorite part of the mountains.  On the way back to the town of Vent, one descents quite gradually, and on the lower grassy meadows, sheep are a common sight.  Also spectacular is a hanging bridge over a river gorge, nearly at the end of this hike.

 Mountain beauty of the Alps When I arrived back in the village of Vent, drinking a beer (or a glass of butter milk if you prefer) was absolutely heavenly.  And while sitting on the terasse, you can still enjoy the splendors of the Austrian Alps…
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Snowdon

Snowdon

Wales, 1085 m, visited July 2012

The highest mountain of Wales, in the Snowdonia N.P.  Multiple routes available to the top ranging from easy to challenging.  You can also take the train to the top .Outstanding view on a clear day with many hills, lakes, the sea, Anglesey,…

There is also a yearly running competition !

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Skiddaw

Skiddaw

England, 931 m , visited July 2012.

The fourth highest mountain of the Lake district, missed the climb due to bad weather this time, have to go back to climb…

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Latrigg

Latrigg

England, visited July 2012

An easy walkable hill from the centre of Keswick, Lake District.  A warmup to start the climb of Siddaw perhaps ?  Anyway, great views from the top, so very rewarding climb.  The climb takes you through a nice forest.

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Catbells

 

Catbells

England, 451 m, visited July 2012

A not so impressive  hill , easily walkable from Keswick.  But very famous because of two reasons : it’s the hill you see from the well known Friars Crag viewpoint, and the view from its top is fabulous : Derwentwater, Skiddaw and Blencathra, and the Borrowdale valley to the other side…  The picture is taken from the top of Latrigg, another popular hill reachable from Keswick (Catbells is in front on the left).

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Castle Crag

Castle Crag

England, visited July 2012.

Told to be one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the Lake District, the top of Castle Crag gives you a view of Skidaw, Scaffel Pike and Helvellyn , and many others, … on a clear day. We walked from Seatoller to the centre of Keswick, a wonderful walk in a very beautiful valley.  On the way we climbed Castle Crag, which was quite an adventure but not so difficult.  The clouds hid the best view but it was still very rewarding.

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Helvellyn

Helvellyn

England, visited July 2012

After I had climbed Scafell Pike 20 years ago, I wanted to go back to the Lake District, and climb other peaks.  Helvellyn is a very popular mountain because of the access route via the Striding Edge, a sharp ridge walk to reach the top.  We chose the ‘easy’ way, starting from Swirls carpark near Wythburn.  This route is very streightforward bu you get to see all the spectacular views of Striding Edge and Swirling Edge, etc… We went down the other side, to reach Wythburn church.

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Langdale Pikes

Langdale Pikes

England, visited July 2012.

Situated in the Lake District, we made several walks, from easy to challenging.  On our walk from Grasmere to Ambleside, we had some nice views of the Langdale Pikes from the safety of the valley.

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Apuan Alps

Apuan Alps

Apuan Alps

Italy, visited september 2011
From left to right, Monte Sagro and Pizzo D’Uccello (Matterhorn look-alike) are visible.
The Apuan alps are part of the Apennines and are situated in the Massa – Carrara area, which is famous for its marble quarries.
Michelangelo used blocks from these mountains to create his masterpieces.
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