Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Day Three: Out and about in Lenk and down to the Simmefalle

Since it's so nice out, we've been eating our meals outside, on Anny's balcony. The view is spectacular. Here are the two kids at breakfast on Tuesday morning. I'm not sure what they were doing!

This is what we get to look at while we're eating.

Oh yeah. We are blessed.

After the breakfast things have been washed and put away, we venture down to the village to buy the days groceries. Here are the kids in front of our chalet, waiting for everyone to be ready for the walk. Anny joined us and walked as far as the bank.

As we came to the train station, we bumped into my Onkel Sammi. He's Grossmeuti's 95 year old brother and my life inspiration. Sammi says that he was a chubby, unhealthy man until he turned fifty and then he decided to turn his life around. And that's when he started hiking. Sammi led multiple day hikes into the mountains, across the glaciers and all over the place. He's ALWAYS happy to see you, always cheerful. Up until recently, he would pick up the elderly and drive them to their appointments. And his favorite thing to do (when he's not hiking), is visiting with friends and family). Today he was in a rush to catch the bus back past Poschenried and then up to the the Iffigenalp, where I can only assume he was going for a ramble.

Nineteen years ago he took me on one of my favorite hikes ever - and told me to go home and train and that when I came back he'd take me on a real hike. He was in his late seventies then. This man is such an inspiration!

After leaving Anny and Elisabeth at the bank, we progressed on to the bakery for bread, then across the road to the tourist office to pick up a schedule of events for August 1st. That's where we saw these cows.

Then across the Kronenplatz to Marie Louise and Willy's boutique to say hello. They are cousins of dad's who visited us when I was little and we lived on the farm in Chilliwack.

Remember the last time David was in this car? It doesn't seem quite as roomy any more...

This is the Kroene Platz, where we tend to do a lot of our grocery shopping. That's the hotel, post office and probably other things that I never look at.

Some interesting art work on the real estate office.

And looking back across the place towards Marie Louise and Willy's boutique.

After shopping, we walked past the bike shop. Saw this totem pole outside one store.

And then after lunch it was time for another adventure. Dad, Anny, Andrew and David took off in the car while Elisabeth and I started walking back towards the Simmefall. We were headed towards those mountains back there.

Luckily dad picked us up after he'd dropped off the rest of the crew.

Look, pretty bathroom sign!
We stopped on the restaurant patio and waited for some coupes. Finally a place that served them so David could see what the fuss was about.

This is one of my favorite spots here. There are a few different hikes you can take that end up at this restaurant, or you can catch the bus or ride along the river. We took the cheater's way out and drove.

(after all that build up, he just had a cone :P)

Elisabeth had a Coupe Danemark, and Andrew and I shared a Coupe Negrito (which was chocolate and hazelnut).

I can't remember what dad's was called, but it was pretty tasty too.

After the sweet treat, we walked over to visit the goats. They've had goats here since I was a little girl.

My mum tells me that when I was small I burned my leg on the exhaust of VW Bug here. When I was six, I fell on a root they had for climbing on and sliced up my knee. Thankfully, no one was injured yesterday.

Here's a shot of the restaurant from the river.

Finally it was time to walk towards the river.

This is the river Simme for which this valley, the Simmenthal, is named.

I have hiked to the top, where the Siebenbrunne are twice, and I'm hoping we'll have a chance to do it again this holiday. Unfortunately, the lake at the top of the mountain is one metre from overflowing it's bounds. If it does, the water could potentially run through the trails and make it impossible for us to do the hike. So fingers crossed we get some cooler weather, the snow on the mountains stops melting so quickly and I get up there this trip (cause it's all about me you know!)

In the meantime, this was a lovely spot to spend an hour or two.

Anny found out today (Wednesday) that she is getting hip replacement surgery in August. She's been valiantly walking with us, but it's slow and painful going. So it's good that she can have this done, and hopefully next time I come back, she can hike the trails with less pain.

We dragged ourselves away from the cool mist of the river, and started walking back towards town. This time, Andrew and David joined me.

We made slow progress because we had to stop every three steps and take a picture. I wish I was kidding.  But can you blame us?

David's a little obsessed with VW bugs and vans these days, so it was kind of fun to see this guy putting along.
We passed by several farms, including this one with donkeys and goats.

I had been telling David that in the old days, farmers used to have their cows in the bottom of the chalet, and the family would live upstairs. It kept the house warm, for one thing. There are still some farms like that here, and we've been hoping to see a working farm while we're here.

Notice the flowers on the farm building?

I'd also been telling the kids about haying here. It's crazy the steep hills that they have to cut grass on. Apart from needing the grass for farming, they do it to prevent avalanches. If the grass gets too long, and bends over, then when it snows, the snow slides off the mountain. So they used to give a subsidy to farmers who would maintain grass on the mountain tops to help with avalanche prevention. Sometimes you see farmers hanging off the one side of the hay truck to help balance it while the truck drives along the side of a particularly steep hill. Here they were using leaf blowers to help blow the dry grass farther towards the truck.

Here's from farther away so you can see how steep the hill is.

After dinner, I settled in to what has become my evening activity of choice, colouring with one of the kids. This page here is a mirror of what David is colouring.

And then, since it was such a nice evening, the kids and I went for one more walk before bed time. This time, just a short loop through the neighborhood.

We walked from Oertli, down the street towards town, turned right at the corner for the low road back up towards NeuOertli and then turned right again and walked beside the creek so we could do the steep hill by Oertli once more. It was along the creek we met these fine fellows.

And here is home. Good night.