About time for an update, I should think. Blogging proved difficult this weekend, as Internet access was spotty at best, and I didn’t have much time. For now, a personal history of hiking near Gryon, Switzerland.
This past weekend was possibly the most tiring I’ve ever had. It’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. Switzerland is a beautiful place. The views are amazing, the air is crisp, the weather stayed mostly ideal. A combined nine hours of hiking took a lot out of me. On Saturday the folks at Chalet Martin gave me a tourist map with some directions to the Solalex resort (captured on video in the last update). I promptly became lost not five minutes away from the hostel and took a trail that led down the mountain from Gryon. Signs lacking any and all indication that I was going the right way couldn’t deter me – it was nice just to wander – and after an ascent out of the valley I ended up in the small village of Frenières.
I felt confident that I’d hit a trail heading to Solalex, so I pressed on, taking in the quaintness of the area. A diversion up yet another mountain trail proved dead-end fruitless, so I resorted to retreat, beginning to accept that I was on the wrong path. I asked a villager for directions, and in broken English she was able to tell me that I’d gone in pretty much the opposite direction from the way I should have started out. C’est la vie. On the way back to Gryon I stopped at a stream and soaked my head and feet, taking long, deep gulps of the mountain water. I debated a full disrobing, but chickened out at the one-in-a-hundred chance a passerby might notice.
After about four hours of sweat and toil all told, I made the climb back to Gryon and upon arrival devoured two ice cream bars, a type of consolation for being unable to reach my destination, before electing to move as little as possible for the rest of the day. That night I felt the effects of the sun and exercise in spades, but the following morning I found the resolve to put my blistered feet back into my hiking shoes, put some extra water and trail mix in my bag, and take another crack at Solalex.
Deep-chasm rivers, sunflowers, and grazing bell-adorned cows will keep you company on the walk. I arrived two hours later after experiencing a much more reasonable climb consisting of mostly rarely travelled roadway. I one-upped my ice cream consumption at one of the resort cafes by ordering the most expensive sundae I’ve ever eaten, and hands down the best. Feast your eyes:
Yes, that is a fucking gravy boat of hot fudge. Delicious.
A storm began to roll in, and about an hour into the hike back it began to pour rain and thunder. An older couple pulled up beside me in their car and offered me a ride back into town, which I accepted gratefully, plumbing the recesses of my retained high-school French education to express my gratitude. I can’t say enough nice things about the people in Gryon, each of them subscribers to that small-town mentality that begs us to say “bonjour” to one another on sight for no other reason than to exercise a pure kind of courtesy. You’ll feel welcome.
At the end of it all, my body had no idea what hit it. Monday was a day of travel, out of the Alps, back to Geneva, over to Schiphol, and back into Amsterdam, with a 50-minute delay in between. I slept like a baby that night. I’ll have more to say about the hostel soon.