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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Hike: Mille Pattes

After studying the walking and hiking routes, Doug decided that a less ambitious walk on our first day might be the best decision for overall health of the trip!  The weather was dry but cloudy as well and we felt that taking the gondola to the top would be better saved for a clearer day. The walk he chose took us through forests, near lakes, alongside of the famous golf course here, Crans-sur-Sierre, where the European Masters are held, along with giving us sprawling views of the surrounding mountains, ski areas and general beauty. 
The flowers that are everywhere just take your breath away with their color and vibrancy. 
It's so nice to see how everyone tends to beautiful flower boxes that the rest of us can enjoy. 
It was easy enough to simply enjoy being out and tough enough that catching one's breath at higher altitudes was a bit tricky on the uphill climbs.  Because our cottage is located 2 kilometers above the main town, clearly the last straight uphill climb before we arrived home was most challenging!
We had a great day. 
We started with this lake view in the center of town and followed the well marked path along our route.  We came across an extensive high ropes course that was very cool.  We've both been on high ropes so felt that we could skip this adventure.  But it was one of the most extensive either of us have seen and the people using it were having a great time!
The walk began by heading straight downhill and in the back of my mind all I could consider was the final road back up.  About half way through we stopped for lunch by one of the lakes and a group of seniors were sitting at the picnic tables obviously enjoying a break from their trek. It appeared that it was perhaps a walking group or even a tour group, but most were 60 and older and it was great to see them outdoors enjoying the physical activity and taking in the beauty of the area.  The area that we are in of Switzerland is the French speaking area and all you meet on the trail greet you with a warm bonjour.  We return the favor in spite of our miserable French.  Merci, parlez-vous anglais, au revoir and bon jour are about the extent of it! But it's amazing what a simple bonjour and a smile can communicate!
After lunch we knew that, for the most part, the rest of the hike was uphill, so fortified by Swiss chocolate we set out.  Upon arriving back in the town, the incredible smells of a nearby bakery drew us in.  Doug enjoyed a chocolate croissant while I indulged in a strawberry/lemon pastry.  A fine reward for a good hike.
As we prepared to head up the hill to our home, something went pop in one of Doug's knees.  This was a very sad part of our day as we are not sure how extensive the injury might be.  I hope it's a strain, but at any rate, it has put a damper on his outlook for taking a more rigorous hike.  We'll see what a new day brings.
It had started to rain for the last little bit of our hike so that combined with the steep climb made us very happy to see the house.  We took our boots off, got Doug icing his knee, had a beer and fell asleep!
We had gone grocery shopping before the hike so had many lovely things awaiting us.  We wanted to try the Swiss dish Rösti and had bought a ready to cook package.  The only problem was that of the three languages the directions were in, (German, Italian, French), sadly, I speak none of them.  But I did come up with an industrious solution!  I grabbed my computer, typed the directions into Google Translate and  voilà, I knew what to do.  The result was a grilled bratwurst dinner accompanied by Rösti, a green salad, and grilled onions.  Delicious.
We ended this wonderful day by watching Glee on DVD!  It was a near perfect day...I just hope Doug's knee feels better when he wakes up.  Our plan is to head to the thermal baths today in Leukerbad and perhaps that will supply enough healing to get him hiking again by tomorrow.