Hiking in Vevey
My favorite Ohio State professor has moved to Switzerland a couple of years ago and settled down near Vevey on the north shore of lake Geneva. Since then I have been amazed of the pictures he has been posting from the various hikes in the area so when it came time to plan the European portion of my trip, I decided to try to make it out there and see it for myself. That is really what made me decide to come to Switzerland in the first place and, although expensive, I am happy I did it. Professor Mathias graciously agreed to show me around and let me tag along on a hike with him so on Thursday morning I left Geneve on a short train ride to Vevey. He met me at the train station and we drove out to the town of Leysin to start our hike up to the top of Berneuse mountain. While not a technical hike, it was definitely the most challenging hike I have done so far, especially given the fact that I did not have any hiking equipment with me besides the sticks that I was given. We started out on a road at about 1400 meters/4600 feet and after a bit we had the choice of continuing on the road or going off on a trail that was zig-zagging to the top. As there were only isolated patches of snow on the ground, we decided to take the trail.
It started out pretty mellow, but soon more snow appeared and the trail got pretty narrow. As we kept ascending, we got to the point where the trail was covered by a good layer of snow and eventually completely disappeared. Thankfully, professor Mathias knew his way around and I kept following in his footsteps, at times getting almost knee deep down into snow banks (those sticks really came in handy at this point to prevent me from sliding). Not really the most enjoyable experience for jeans and sneakers I was wearing. It took us about two hours to get up to the top of Berneuse and by the time we got there, my feet were completely wet as well as my shirt. I was sweaty, cold, exhausted, out of breath, and dehydrated. But I felt awesome! This was one heck of a hike for me and the views along the way were just amazing. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the top, the clouds rolled in and we could not see anything.
We decided to grab some lunch at the revolving restaurant at the top to get some rest and hoping that the clouds may go away after a bit. Being in Switzerland, I had to try some cheese fondue - the local specialty of dipping pieces of bread into a small pot of hot melted cheeses with some wine and other ingredients. It was pretty tasty and filling and after the hike, I did not feel bad about the ridiculous amount of cheese I consumed. Besides, we still had to hike back down.
We took the road on the way down so it was a pretty easy walk, and once we got a bit farther down, the clouds disappeared and I was able to indulge in the breathtaking views of the scenery, the mountains and valleys, the little towns, and the lakes we were passing on the way. It was simply amazing. Even on our drive back to Vevey I loved the views of the fields and terraces with the mountains in the background. Heck, if Iowa had a couple mountains, all those cornfields might not have been that boring… After getting back, we went out for some dinner with his kids and later they dropped me off at the train station so I can head over to Lausanne for the night.
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