Wednesday, July 22, 2015

And the second day

My Aunty Anny, who is hosting us in her home, is leaving on vacation later this week. So rather than traveling all over Switzerland, we've been staying in Lenk and dragging her along with us as we explore our home town. This is a little bit different for me, as usually we've done one day trip alternated with one day at home - and found that the best way to preserve our energy as well as see our family (which is supposedly the real reason we come here, after all!)

For our second day in Lenk (and really, the first day we woke up here and spent the entire day in Lenk), we decided to go up to the Leiterli. That's the mountain we look at from our windows in Chalet NeuOertli, and also where I learned how to ski. Lots of memories for me. In fact, for many, many years, I would fall asleep imagining each twist and turn of the ski hill.

Because our rental car only has five seats and there are six of us, David and I walked down the mountain, through the village and up to the ski lift. I think it took us less than half an hour, and that was stopping to look at everything along the way.

Then we got into the six seater gondolas and started up the mountain.

I had totally meant to lose fifty to a hundred pounds before this trip, but I must have forgotten.

I love how Anny is looking at me in this picture. It's so nice to be here and spend time with her.

We switched gondolas into a themed one. This one had faux wood interior, and all kinds of things like tools, work boots, binoculars (all bolted down) and it had a little recording playing about goats and mountain living. Too bad there wasn't an English setting for my non-Berner Deutsch speaking family.

At each station (where you boarded, middle station halfway up the mountain and at the top), there were all sorts of cows with information on them. I didn't read the information because I was too busy taking pictures. Here's one with udders that David milked, there was another that had the skeleton of a cow affixed to it and you could see all the cow bones.

If you haven't noticed already, the Swiss love their flowers. This is from a window box on the gondola station. Notice the Edelwiess :)

When Andrew, David and I were out walking yesterday, we saw a barn with window boxes. It's hard not to be an enraptured tourist and go on and on and on about how wonderful Switzerland is. Thing is, this is just my home town. It's not Interlaken or Gstaad which do tend to be very touristy. It's home. 

Off the gondola, and our summer tradition is to do a little ramble along the Alpenblumenweg. Of course, most of the flowers are already done here, but it's still beautiful. There are about a hundred hikes you can do from up here, but I've never done more than ramble.

Something new they've added since I was last here is these markers. Further down the post there is information and a map. but they top each post with an intricate carving. Just beautiful.

Can you spot Elisabeth?

I'd packed us sandwiches and apples and water, so we walked a short distance and found a bench to sit on and enjoy our lunch.

The trail is just about at the top of dad's head, and at the top of the hill behind him is another trail on a slightly steeper hill. In front of us and quite far down were two more trails.

Like I said, you could walk forever up here.

The two panorama shots are our view from where we were sitting.

Andrew, Elisabeth and Anny turned back to go to the mountain top restaurant for coffee and the playground. David, Dad and I kept walking.

I'd done this walk with my grandma a few times. I never quite seem to get here when the flowers are at their best.
That little building down there is a farm house. The farmers bring their cows up the mountain for the summer and let them roam (there are electric fences to keep them contained, and the cows wear bells). They produce cheese from the milk and you can buy it direct from the farmer. Most of these little houses (the ones that produce cheese, and not just milk) have a little fridge outside and you purchase the cheese on the honour system.

We wandered farther than I'd ever gone before (and maybe in a different direction slightly) and came upon this section of the mountains. The white rock is very chalky, and the hills are full of these indentations. Some have water in them, but many are just holes. Often the hole's mouth is covered with bright purple thistles or other alluring flowers. Local legend has it that if you go into a hole, you fall somewhere (no one knows where) and are never heard of again.

Every summer, farmers lose animals up here and the only explanation is that they've fallen into these holes and disappeared.

It felt a little bit like walking around Scotland in a Gabaldon book, and David and I kept listening for the rocks to sing.

We continued past the scary part of the mountain, out into the flats. From here we could have turned left and walked from one mountain to another and eventually ended up near where we were yesterday.
Here's a look at the trail, and the geography of where we were walking.

And way down there is another farm or two. We could hear the cowbells from way up where we were. If you look closely at the green hill top, you can see trails. Dad has done the walk from way up where we were, around and over that green hill...and all the way around to the end of the valley. It sounds lovely.

If we hadn't had people waiting for us back by the lift, I think all three of us would have liked to keep going. There was a lot of, 'let's just go around that corner and then we'll turn back.'

Can you see why this is one of my favorite places on earth? And I didn't even have to drive up a scary logging road to get up here.

As we were walking back to the lift, we saw a marmot. He was so close, but as I told David to look, the marmot saw us and ran away. Thankfully, only a little ways away so I was still able to get a picture.

I took this picture for my friends Natasha and Denis who always want to know which birds are about. These are all the different birds you might see while you're out and about on this mountain.

And then we rode back down the hill and David and I walked home. First past some holiday apartments....

And then through the village...
We always take a picture of this chalet and their mini chalet.

We stopped across from city hall for a quick drink from the fountain.

And then up home to make dinner. Another perfect day in Lenk.