A winter holiday: Switzerland & France

Hello friends,

Snow, I found snow!  In December we traveled to Vevey, Switzerland for a three week work/holiday. I adore Vevey... the entire area actually.  Vevey sits on Lake Geneva and looks at France.  During the week I work from our hotel residence, leaving weekends to explore.  Our friends often tell us that we experience more than those living in Switzerland.

Blame wanderlust... below a story told in photos.  Today I'm sharing one of my favorite places with you.

Vevey, Switzerland

This photo is the center of old town. Behind me is a 100 year old merry-go-round, and farmer's market.  You will always find adults and children feeding the ducks, it's a gathering spot.

Vevey is quiet.  I often wonder if it's the mystical nature of the lake, surrounded by the Alps.

Chamonix, France

Time for a four day getaway. We borrowed a friends car and drove 90 minutes to Chamonix, rented a three room apartment, enjoyed food and live music at a local pubs. Saturday we skied Chamonix/Mont Blanc.

The lifts were only partially open, and the conditions were icy but this didn't stop us from enjoying a lovely day. We added skiing the Rhones Alps to our list of life experiences.

We will be back.  The locals say February is the best month to ski in Chamonix/Mont Blanc.  Did you know there's a 20K (13 mile) trail?  This has been added to our must do list.

The photo below is taken at the top of the lift, 3,300 meters.  This view always amazes me. 

Happy Tracks:

Now for the highlight of our trip!  Sunday morning we headed out on a 24 hour guided adventure - spending the night in a mountain refuge.

  • Rafael and Anja (at Happy Tracks) own a boutique hiking company and focus on making guests wishes come true. They are a millennial couple who left corporate living to live in the mountains.
  • We had the most amazing experience.
  • Hiking for about two hours to the mountain hut below, enjoying hot tea and lunch before strapping on snowshoes for an afternoon hike to Fiz Massif (2,965 meters).
  • Below is the mountain refuge in which we stayed.  You have to be a member a mountain hiking club to stay here, it's not open to the public.  Some refuges are, the huts are kept open for wayward hikers. Safety.
  • I'm still daydreaming about the place.   We snowshoed for a few hours and returned to glogg, fondue, dessert, games and stories.
  • Monday morning we snowshoed for a few hours before hiking down the mountain and driving back to Vevey.

Sion, Switzerland

The next weekend we jumped on the train, for a day trip to explore Sion.  We have passed this village several times on the train.  This is a hidden gem!  A village that looks like an abandoned town from the train station, but a 15 minute walk gifted us this view.

  • The town of Sion is dominated by the famous hills of Valeria and Tourbillon, dating back to 1000AD. We hiked up to Valère Castle (upper right), then to Tourbillon Castle (upper left).  In the lower set of photos you will see the World Traveler taking a photo of me while I'm taking a photo of him.
  • We loved this village so much that we are planning a weekend visit during the summer.   Settling in Friday night, exploring Saturday, dinner el fresco, and returning to Vevey Sunday afternoon.

99% of Swizerland is closed on Sunday, especially southern Switzerland.  This makes Sunday a good travel day.

Vevey's view of Lake Geneva

You can see why I love this place.  Living in the USA, it's hard to comprehend looking at a different country when I look out the window.  Switzerland is on the left side | France is on the right. 

A stunning sunrise!

Next time...

In addition to Sion, we will visit the Grotte at St Maurice, home to Fairies Fountain.  Legend says, he who plunges his left hand into the water will have his dreams come true thanks to the fairies' magic dust.