Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Söndagstur i Alsace


I söndags tog vi en tur in i Frankrike och Alsace med sina charmiga små byar omgärdade av vinfält så långt ögat sträcker sig. Det var mysigt att bara promenera runt här även om det mesta var stängt för att det var söndag. Jag älskar dessa fina byar med gammla anor med sina kullerstensgator och vackra blomsterlådor som pryder husväggar, gator och fontäner.

Alsace är som sagt känt för sina vinodlingar. Vinfälten sträcker sig kring byarna och upp längst med kullarna. Det finns gott om olika vinhus och producenter att besöka.
Så vackert med dessa korsvirkeshus som är typiska för Alsace. Nu under sommaren finns det också så mycket vackra väldoftande rosor som blommar. Många av dessa byar har också fått benämningen "Ville de Flour" pga av alla fina blomster arrangemang som pryder hus och gator.

Något som också är alldels ljuvligt att besöka i Frankrike är de franska bagerierna. Bageri-konditori där de bakar eget bröd och gör egna bakelser som ser helt förföriskt goda ut.

Det är svårt att få nog av dessa fina gränder och gator. Här stosar man gärna runt och kameran får gå varm.

Allt är så otroligt pittoreskt. Här matchar även blommorna färgen på fönsterluckorna.

Just här i denna by hittade vi i utkanten en vinträdgård där de hade planterat olika druvsorter och även satt upp skyltar som kort beskrev druvan och dess egenskaper. Kul och interessant läsning och kuriosa.

Så här ser det ut med grönskande vinfält som sträcker sig långt upp på sluttningarna. Vissa fält ligger riktigt brant till. Det är imponerande att de kan ta sig runt här med sina små traktorer.

 Än så länge är druvorna långt från mogna och ser så här gröna ut.
När man kommer in i Frankrike märker man snabbt att det är katolskt. Det finns gott om små tempel som detta, kors och Madonna figurer.

Längst med denna mur växte det Kaprifol. Älskar Kaprifol som doftar så otoligt gott. Minns hur det växte vilt i Alabama.

Vi åkte faktiskt hit för att vi drack ett riktigt gott vin i lördags kväll. En pino gris från just denna by. Vi tänkte att vi skulle leta upp producenten så att vi kanske kunde handla direkt från gården. Vi hittade producenten men det var tyvärr inte öppet så vi får återkomma en annan gång.

Vissa hus är så otroligt söta så man gärna skulle vilja flytta in direkt. Detta blev som sagt en trevlig söndagsutflykt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer days and summer nights

Summer in Basel right now. The weather is giving us plenty of sunshine and heat for the moment. I am grateful that the heat is not as bad as last year. Today we are having one of the hottest days so far with 33 degrees. A few thunderstorms are expected at the end of the week. To me they are welcome as they help to clear the air and bring down the temperature a bit.

Basel has that summer feeling right now. The evenings are beautiful weather they are spend down by the river with friends or at home hanging out on our deck. Yes, I have done my first swim of the season in the river already. Sunday I met up with my Swedish friend C and we were hanging out by the Rhine and cooled off with a short swim. However, the water was still pretty cold Sunday with only 18 degrees. That sure does cool you off.

Down by the river there is always something happening. That is THE place to hang out and meet up. People picknick, BBQ, swim, there are concerts a great place for just people watching or relaxing.

It is vacation time. Many people are out of our office. Schools in Basel are out all of July until mid August. Right now is the peak of summer. July is generally the hottest month of the year here. Summer is nice now so I do not mind staying in the city. We are having some vacation later on in mid September when we are going to the northern Atlantic coastal region of Spain. I am going to Krakow, Poland with a friend over the weekend in about two weeks which will also be fun.

The Open Air Cinema evenings are about to start. Every year they set up a big screen at the plaza by the Dome and do the open air cinema which is a nice event. There is a program so that you know times and movies that will be shown.

I am taking it slower and enjoying the summer with all it brings as much as possible. Posts on the blog may not be as regular as usual. I am letting myself go a little off-line mode which I believe we all need from time to time.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hiking down towards Kandersteg

After breakfast we started our decent down the mountain. Taking a different trail than the one we had gone up. I am glad we chose the right trail for going up. I would not have wanted to go down the trail we went up. Going down is actually much harder than going up. It puts a lot of pressure on both your legs and knees going down. My legs were sore from going down not up. The decent took us about 2.5 hours so it is always faster going down than up but challenging in a different way.

Again the views were just stunning! When we left the hut it was cold and windy. I was wearing a lot of different layers that I later had to peel off as the temperatures quickly increased as we left the top peak.

 The powerful glacier covering the top part of the mountain.

So many pretty flowers in full bloom. It felt like spring up here. As we reached the grassier slopes they were covered in all kinds of beautiful and colorful flowers.

The sun was shining again. It did not take long before we had to start taking off layers of clothes again. The temperature rose quickly once we left the top peak. Important not to forget sunscreen on a warm and sunny day like this.

There were so many beautiful waterfalls a long this trail cascading down the mountain.

The trail took us through grassy slopes, exposed ridges, stony parts. On the most exposed parts there is always some kind of extra security such as a rope or chain to hold on to.

Eventually we saw the crystal clear lake with it's turquoise water that greeted us. We were to walk to the shore of the lake where there would be a restaurant where we would have lunch.

Lilli taking a break to admire the beauty of the lake. This little girl is only 10 years old and I am so impressed by her. She did the hike with us without any kind of complaining or whining. She is so strong doing this and carrying that big backpack of hers. I am in total awe of her performance. She is also to stay in Switzerland for one whole month going to camp to keep up her German while her parents fly back to the San Francisco.

 This just looks like a stunning postcard, right?

Finally we reached the shore of the lake and Lilli went for a nice refreshing swim. Just as pretty as the water looks just as icy cold it was. Glacial water lake. But on a hot summer day like this it was very refreshing. I did not bring any swim gear but I dipped my feet and legs in, which was very nice for tired and warm feet.

We had lunch here by the lake before returning to Grisalp by train to pick up our car and drive back to Basel. Arriving home tired but happy. The best when arriving home was to take a nice long shower and get really clean. A challenging hike but so rewarding in so many ways. I absolutely want to do more hiking. I am hooked.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dusk and Dawn

There is something magical about the time frame around both dusk and dawn. I am really drawn to both. Almost something spiritual and calming for your soul to just sit and watch the last rays of light fade or slowly rise. I would like to share some of my pictures from these moments with you. Up here at the hut there was no TV or any other kind of technological distraction. Here high above the clouds everyone watched the perfect sunset before going to bed at 10 pm.

The glacier, the snow, the peaks, the clouds and the tiny speck of the moon. It is so very beautiful. The mountains are so majestic, beautiful and powerful. You feel so small in a way yet the beauty of it all is mesmerizing.

The sun has set and this is the very last light that remains for a short moment before darkness takes over and covers the snowcapped peaks.

Good night Blumisalp. Quite a special feeling to be sleeping at a height of almost 3000 meters. I did not have any trouble with the height. The last part of the hike up here was quite demanding as it was steep and the air was thinner.

I wanted to see and experience the sunrise. I had set my alarm to 5.20 but awoke by myself already at 4.55 am. It was a cold night at this altitude so I put on all the clothes I had and wrapped myself in my bed blanket before sneaking out to marvel this beautiful sunrise. This is at the crack of dawn. The very first light appearing on the horizon.

The sunrise turned out even more special to me than the sunset. I was sitting out here all alone just soaking my soul with the beauty. Feeling so lucky and blessed to be here, to be living in such a beautiful country as Switzerland is. To be able to experience and witness this moment. Just me and the mountain peaks is one of those memories that I want to treasure in my soul forever.

The mountains are so beautiful and so intimidating at the same time. They offer so much but you also need to have great respect for them and come prepared in order to do a hike like this.

 The sun finally peaking up in the skyline.

Those shades of pink and blue touching the peaks. Felt so alive and almost euphoric at a moment like this.

First morning sunlight shining at the hut. Still quiet and most people sleeping as this was shortly before 6 am. The mountaineering people had already left and the hikers would yet sleep for about another 30 minutes.

Switzerland I keep falling in love with you over and over again.