Monday, September 29, 2014

Grape picking

Today we went grape-picking at one of the many local vineyards in Aubonne. It was another example of the honesty system which we see everywhere in Switzerland. Previously we've bought apples from a neighbour in Etoy which were kept in a fridge outside his house with an honesty box next to it.

STEP 1: Choose your row of vines

STEP 2: Select a juicy bunch of grapes

STEP 3: Cut the grapes with the scissors provided and place them into the bag provided

STEP 4: Weigh your grapes at the weighing station

STEP 5: Check the amount that you owe

STEP 6: Place your money into the honesty box

STEP 7: Enjoy! (Both the grapes and the awesomeness of Switzerland)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Les Diablerets

Daniel wanted to do some specific race training in the mountains so we caught the train to Les Diablerets. We changed train at Aigle onto a tiny two-carriage train which chugged its way through the vineyards and forests and up the mountain. It was a spectacularly scenic train route and we saw a chamois on the way!

Les Diablerets is very similar to the villages in the Saas Valley but it is French-speaking. Although it is busier in winter, there were a fair number of people out and about running, biking and even paragliding. And we got to hear another alphorn performance which was fun :)

Daniel ran for 55km in the mountains completing 3,500m of altitude gain. It was a great experience for him to train on the trails and live the dream of running in the Swiss Alps.

Paragliding in the Swiss Alps

The charming village of Les Diablerets

A pretty bridge

Daniel coming in to the finishing straight looking strong after 55km

An alphorn band!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fechy Wine Festival

Today we went to our neighbouring village of Fechy to enjoy the pre-harvest wine festival. We paid 10 francs to enter and received a wine glass and a little pouch to wear around our necks to keep the wine glass in. All the ‘caves’ (cellars) set up stalls with 5-10 different wines and we simply circled the village going from stall to stall sampling local wines. It was heaven!

There were also food stalls and bands, and we were treated to our first alphorn performance complete with flag throwing!

Us with our wine glasses and pouches

Stalls set up around the village

An alphorn band

Flag throwing

Saas Valley

I accompanied the MYP 1 class from my school on their camp to the Saas Valley. This was my first foray into the German speaking part of Switzerland and it felt like another country! We stayed in Saasgrund, a picturesque village of wooden Swiss chalets lined with flower-filled window boxes. The Alps dominate the small village and there are ski lifts leading up the mountains straight from the town itself. All the villages in the Saas Valley have their busy season during the winter as they are predominantly ski villages.

We spent our days learning about the hydro-electric scheme at the Mattmark Dam and about the Fee Glacier in Saasfee, the village at the end of the Saas Valley. We caught two cable cars up to 3,500m which is at the base of the glacier, and I walked a little way along the glacier itself which was really cool!

The Mattmark Dam wall

A glacier and mountain stream trickling down near the Mattmark Dam

Beautiful Alpine woods

A marmot!

The impressive 5km-long Feegletscher (Fee Glacier)

A glacial river with waterwheel

People walking on the glacier

Me walking on the glacier!

The enchanting village of Saasfee

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Aubonne Village

Today we went for a historical walk around our new village. Armed with a map and information in French we strolled through the cobbled streets learning about the history of Aubonne and its place in the canton of Vaud. We walked through the woods for a scenic lunch stop where we met some new wildlife, before heading up to the castle and then winding our way back home.

The winding streets of Aubonne

Rue du Lignolat - our street!

A charming spot for coffee and a pastry

View of Lake Geneva over the rooftops

A trail in the woods

A beautiful spot for lunch

Some local wildlife...

The castle of Aubonne

The courtyard inside the castle

One of the many village churches