stroms en suisse alpine tour, part 2

We spent the morning ice skating in Interlaken, my first time on hockey skates (much more comfortable) before continuing our trip to the Lauterbrunnen valley. After check-in at the Hotel Oberland, we wandered down a winter hiking trail along the valley floor with mountains all around. Lauterbrunnen is famous for its 72 waterfalls plummeting from steep cliff faces.

Our quiet walk ended back in town just in time to catch the New Years choir of bells from the church:

Happy New Year!


stroms en suisse alpine tour, part 1

We left Thoiry early Monday morning with a two hour wait and quick walking tour of Bern before continuing on to Unterseen near Interlaken.

We spent some time wandering around in the valley and relaxing the rest of the afternoon to be ready for our first day of snowshoeing. Tuesday. We took a train and then cable car up to First (2168 m) and snowshoed back down to Grindelwald (1050 m) in time for dinner.

Wednesday morning brought a bit of rain while we were walking to Brienzer See. We made it as far as the town of Ringgenberg and explored the church/castle by the lake to get out of the rain a bit.

The sun came out in the afternoon for some more wandering once we dried off.


joyeux noel

Joyeux Noel! Merry Christmas!

We had a fun day here with sunshine and lots of holiday goodies  Our gifts were gathered from France, Switzerland, Sweden, and some comforts from back home in the US.  Derek, Tyler and I each got snowshoes for our trip to the Alps next week.

I made vegan cinnamon rolls for breakfast with mint mochas. After a a morning of gifts and chatting with good friends and family, we joined new friends in Sergy for a Christmas feast and walked home again under the stars.


easy vegan torte

This torte is really easy and has a great texture. 

-1 cup couscous
-1 cup sugar
-1/4 cup cocoa
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-2-1/2 cups water
-2/3 c ground almonds (pecans or other nuts would also be good)

top layer*
-1/4 cup sugar
-2 tablespoons cornstarch (I used farin de mais, more like a corn meal - translation error - but it worked and not so starchy textured)
-2+ tablespoons cocoa
-1 cup soymilk  (I like vanilla soymilk-it's sweeter)

1. Mix the couscous, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, salt, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat until thickened, about 7 minutes. Pour into a 7” - 9" springform pan and cover with ground almonds.
2. In a medium saucepan, stir the remaining sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and soymilk together and wisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until very thick (like pudding). Spread evenly over the top of the cake.
3. Refrigerate until the cake is set, at least 3 hours, before serving. (don't forget to loosen pan sides before opening the spring).

*The top layer is yummy, so doubling it would work if using a 9" pan. I also drizzled a raspberry glaze over the top when serving.


happy 30th derek!

Yeah, birthday sunshine. It is rare that we don't have rain, so this sunshine was a great birthday treat. After internet installation (big YEAH), cookies and singing from our neighbor, and a pancake breakfast, we started out for a long birthday hike to Cret de le Niege, the hight peak in the Jura.

Blue sky, great views of the Alps, and snow!

After six hours of hiking, we were pretty hungry, and home to make a lasagna dinner just at the very last bit of daylight. So we celebrated with a completely vegan/organic dinner and chocolate cake, and champagne. It took a little work, but we even got all 30 candles lit.


le reculet and beyond

At the Narderans, almost there.

Today I set out for a solo trek up to Le Reculet. Once I reached my goal, I decided to spend a little time along the ridge before decending, since I was all the way up there anyway. I ended up visiting Cret de la Niege, which is the actual highest peak in the Jura Mountains as of a remeasure in 2003, pronouncing it 1 meter taller then Reculet. From there I continued along the ridge until I realized I would have to double back to make my way down and home. Although it was not as clear as I had hoped and horribly windy, I had a great day, a good climb, and only saw two other solo hikers (they were both faster than me and at least twice my age). I even did a bit of trail running-mostly downward- to help get ready for ski season.

Lunch break.

The black dots are grazing chamoix.

Still climbing.


Le Reculet


At  Cret de la Niege and looking back at Le Reculet.


Erie Jurassic overlook.

Hoping a chamoix doesn't fall on me on my way back down.



I got slightly soaked walking back from the grocery store this morning, but after lunch, writing, and a bit of art-making, the gray haze cleared, and I discovered that the rain that got me was snow in the mountains. I, like many other people in the town, went out for a little walk to enjoy our first snow, dramatic lighting, and rainbows. I'm glad we weren't at the summit today.


le reculet

Marked with a large metal cross, Le Reculet is the second highest summit in the Jura range at 1719 meters (second only by 1 meter), and directly above our town. After about 3.5 hours of steady climbing, we reached Le Reculet for stunning views of the parallel Alps and the valley between. We also got to see what is on the other side of the Jura (more fields and ridges) since we live in a bowl and can't see over the encircling mountainous rim. It was a great way to start November and a gorgeous day for a long hike. Our legs were good and tired by the time we got back home, not 15 minutes before dark. We scarfed some hot food and rested our tired legs. Can't wait to make this hike again!

Along the way:

Anyone planning to visit us, bring your hiking boots, oh and start training...



After a bit of rain yesterday, I took advantage of a break to walk around our town and take a few photos since the light was very nice. By the time I got my camera and went out, it started to drizzle again, but it was a nice walk anyway. I even had about a minute of sunshine. So, in no particular order, here are some of the photos I took while wandering around Thoiry late yesterday afternoon.