bitten by the walking bug?

it seems dorothee got bitten by the walking bug! after my birthday walk last thursday she did a tour all by herself on friday (einsiedeln – chli amseln and retour) and was itching to go yesterday — only the really hot weather and me having to do the weekend shopping prevented us from storming the summits of the alps. today, there's no stopping her — as i'm slowly waking up this morning i seem to hear her winding up her feet, and after church it feels a bit like one of those traffic light situations: the bloke in the neighboring is pumping the pedal, the clutch disengaged, but ready to shoot off at the first flicker of green. so, it will come as no surprise that shortly after 3 o'clock we are walking over the hill to rüschlikon station to catch the train to thalwil, then to wädenswil, then to schindellegi-feusisberg. 

everything works clock-work like and we alight at schindellegi-feusisberg. we make our way towards the church where we face a choice of taking either the route up to büel and then onward to st meinrad, or the route along the sihl and through forest before climbing the mountain. frankly, the sun is burning down, and walking along the sihl sounds more enticing than tackling the incline right away — however, schindellegi's village council has other plans: the walk along the sihl is blocked due to construction work and the detour is along the highway…hmm, not really. we trace our way back to the church and follow route A.

the sun is burning down and the road uphill has very little to offer in the way of shadow. what little it has to offer is of rather brief duration and we are really glad once we reach the foresty part above büel. mind you, the views before across lake zürich were fantastic, sun or no sun. 

st jacob pilgrimwe break our walk in st meinrad (which is right on one of feeder route to the st james's way) and have an early dinner outside, enjoying a good plate of bread, cheese and cold meats along with an einsiedler lager — very nice Tongue out

we continue our walk and make our way via egg and then along the river sihl to the sihl dam (very nice and quiet walk). then it's "follow the road" around lake sihlsee towards einsiedeln. 

dramatic sky over einsiedelnwe are back home shortly after 21:00. a nice walk! i enjoyed it very much. 

birthday walk….

portrait of a beautiful cow (a swiss one)it seems like my birthdays turn into walking days: last year we were in the lake district, this year we went on an evening walk with mr r (yep, the same mr r who chased us up bockmattli). we go by car down the lake until lachen and then turn off the highway and follow a narrow road that winds its way up to bräggerhof. we park the car, kit ourselves up and off we go! this time it's "more off a stroll than a walk" (mr r) but that is a relative qualifier: it goes up the mountain (but thankfully not straight up as on bockmattli). the path is quite nice, it takes us through small woods, across incline-climing meadows, past a couple of huts that according to mr r are open on weekends and eventually we reach today's highest point, stöcklichrüz (try pronouncing that, hah!) at 1247m. a wonderful view across lake zurich as well as the swiss alps lies before us — well worth the effort of getting here Cool after a short break we continue along the ridge to gueteregg where we are arriving a bit past the closing time of the hut, but we are lucky and can still order.

thunderstorm from a far :-)

the beer, the bread, the cheese and the fantastic view combine to make this a great birthday dinner! eventually — the rain clouds are coming closer — we get going again and make our way back to bräggerhof, crossing right across meadows, past some rather interested cows, through a bit of light drizzle. a fantastic evening!

p.s.: …and, oh, i got lots and lots of books (agatha christies), a sudoku game, a bugatti (albeit a small one :-), a fantastic pencil sharpener (no unsharpened pencils left currently), a really fun "just4fun" game, and a "bocksbeutel" wine bottle as a candle light cover…

an evening hike up bockmattli

today, well, yesterday now, was the annual IBM Zurich Research Lab evening hike — this year i had (foolishly?) committed myself to joining it. we leave the lab by half past four and arrive at our starting point (about 1km past innerthal) around half past five. the weather has been hot (over 30°C) all day and it shows very little inclination to cool down soon…once everyone is ready (we are 19 in total) it's up the mountain — and i mean up. no dilly-dallying on level paths, nope, this is the real stuff: up the mountain to schwarzenegg (short reprieve, watching horses, cows, a hippy-ish farmer and his young wife [partner?]), and then onwards up through step incline full of scree, up, up, up. and up. all in all we conquer about 1000m in altitude. 

i'm one of the last to make it to the summit, and am, frankly, quite exhausted. i guess it's at that moment that i decide that i'm more of the horizontal, distance walker than the vertical, altitude-guzzling climber. however —  the view up here on bockmattli is fantastic:

view from the top (1) is that cloud showing us the finger?  lake wäggital (or was that wägital? or veggital?)
view towards...well...some mountains  view towards obersee sun about to settle down for the night

it about 20:15 when we start again and make our way back. walking down is worse than up: relatively unknown territory, lots of loose gravel and scree all over make for uncomfortable companions. the sights, though, are terrific. the sun is setting, casting its last rays over the swiss alps, a rather large variety of clouds joining in to render a spectacular performance — makes you almost forget the pains of getting here (almost!). the farmer, his bikini-clad young wife, and the horses seem to have called it a day, they are nowhere to be seen. it's really getting dark now, requiring full concentration not to stumble. eventually we make it and arrive back where we started four and a half hours earlier. it was a fantastic walk, exhausting, tiring, painful, but fantastic.

lake wäggitaler shortly after sunset

we conclude at a nearby pub — though for me it's just lots of mineral water, a large coke and a fruitsalad. driving back it seems like we are the only people on the road — at ausserthal we nearly kill a cat who foolishly had assumed the road at 23:20 to be a safe place for a cat nap…on the way back we see lightening from afar, hit some rain spots, and make it safely back shortly after midnight. done. well done.