The variety of walking trails straight from our home is extraordinary. The terrain ranges from wide open farm lands to forest trails and from quaint villages to modern suburbs and bustling towns along Lake Leman (Lake Geneva). Juno is in Husky heaven. We get a lot of stares both on the farm and in towns. Most people walk small lap dogs, Labradors or Goldens. We've yet to see a Husky or German Shepherd out and about. Juno gets a lot of French exclamations, "Hooskey!" And Loki? Well, he had 2 children look at him and run away. And he didn't even bark "boo." He and Juno are very well-behaved in town and on the farms. Neither dog makes a peep on our walks and for the most part other dog walkers are very "space-distance" conscientious; they go to great efforts to contain their own dog and provide plenty of space for other dogs walking in the opposite direction so there is no chance of interaction. This makes it much easier on Loki to keep his yapper shut. It's so different from what I've encountered in California where people leave their dogs off-leash, and just because their dog is friendly, think it's acceptable for their dogs to randomly approach strangers and leashed dogs. I think Americans have confused socializing a dog to surroundings in a civilized manner (in otherwords to ignore strange people and dogs) with being social with every Tom, Dick and Harry.
Anyway, enough obedience talk. On to the farms. Within 3 minutes from my door are the farms. The photos below seem a bit boring now that I look at them, but when you're walking through the farms, the vastness of trails, miles and miles of open farmland is just breathtaking. I could spend a day just walking through the farms in my back yard. I always tell myself, we're just going for a half hour. Ninety minutes later we're barely home.
The photo above is the start of most of our walks, though we could potentially enter the farms anywhere. The sports center to the left is a huge field of 10 or 12 soccer fields and people gather to use them in the evenings and weekends for adult and children sports. Next to it is the town's recycling center known as "The Tip." I don't know why it's called that, except that it probably refers to the tip fee for using a landfill. Recycling is HUGE here and the government has even tried various methods of enforcing it.
The wide concrete paths are open to walkers, cyclists, skateboarders, dog walkers but not cars (except those that live on the farms and one may encounter 1 or 2 cars on a 60 minute walk). And these paths go for many miles. Tolochenaz Village is to the right. It's a hop-skip-and-a-jump from my house. I haven't photographed it yet because it's under construction and it would be very boring, but I will share it later. Audrey Hepburn is buried in the town's cemetery.
I've been walking Loki and Juno at the farms in the mid-late morning when there is less traffic on it and in Morges at the lake in the evening. During peek times (after work and weekends), the paths are not as deserted as this but there is so much space that it never feels crowded even at peek times.
The farm squares vary and include everything from vegetables and vineyards to sunflowers. The field of sunflowers we've gone by (photo not shown) have since died and withered. I don't quite understand why they plant sunflowers and just leave them to die rather than cut them, but it is common to see that here. Most of the fields have been harvested in my photos. It's late summer. That makes sense.
Above, Loki and Juno spot a man taking his children for a walk. The children stop when we get to them and stare at Loki and Juno prompting me to ask in French if they'd like to say hello to them (for Bougalou Bear's Mamam: "Voulez-vous parlez 'bonjour' aux chiens?" ). They do and Loki obliges the little girl with a kiss on the cheek as she pets him. He's sweeter than he looks obviously, while some children run from him, others adore him.
My French is tres mal and I've been reluctant to speak it because I'm embarrassed, but I always try and the Swiss seem pleased with that.
We get to another crossing and stop to decide which way to go. The other day, we walked toward the vineyards and I got stung by a bee. The swelling on my leg is still huge, so I opt out of the vineyards.
Juno looks longingly behind her. I wonder why?
Ah! There's a herd of cows in the other direction. We opt for the direction toward the herd of cows.
So far, Loki and Juno have passed by cows, horses, donkeys and goats. Sometimes we'll find 2-string fences that will hold a small group of 2 or 3 goats and 1 or 2 donkeys. So far, Loki had been on his best behavior never barking "boo" once at the donkeys, goats or cows. Juno (my quiet, non-barking dog) actually barked a wee-bark the first time she saw the cows. Then she licked her chops. I kid you not. Damn Sibe.
Back in the states, one of Loki's trainers taught him the "look at the goats" game, where you teach the dog to look at something that he finds frightening and look back at you for a reward. It's a game he loves to play when he's nervous and he instantly went for it when he saw the herd of cows. When we got within 80 feet of the cows, they began to gently walk toward us with interest, which of course is quite confrontational for a dog. Loki was so nervous he began mugging my hand which he never does. He's always polite about waiting for his food. I swear, if he were a smoker, he'd be chain smoking at the pack of cows. Juno on the other hand, doesn't know the "look at that" game and a pound of juicy chicken breast couldn't lure her away from those cows. For a dog that dreams of food 24/7, I knew this had to be pretty serious for her to reject the chicken and that under no circumstances could I dream of letting go of her leash lest she'd make a run for catching herself a fresh veal dinner. Since Loki was at his limit and I was running out of food, I opted to turn around and leave it at 80 feet that day rather than try to walk past the cows and chance disturbing them. The Swiss are quite serious about treating their cows with respect and do not want anyone harassing them.
One of the farm roads leads to a castle. All of them lead to villages. We actually go quite lost today near our own village, Tolochenaz. We actually ended up on a pubic trail called The Trout Trail that leads from Morges to Lully and honors the ecosystem of the humid shoreline. The trail was heavily covered forest, unlike the open farms. But I had no water (didn't want to chance them drinking river or shore water) and it was hot, so I panicked. Luckily, just around the corner was our village, Tolochenaz and from there I knew my way home.
I keep trying to get photos of Mount Blanc. It's a really ominous mountain to photograph. The weather plays a huge role in the mountain views. The best days to view the mountains are just after a few rainy days, when the winds have pushed the clouds away. I never really thought much about Mont Blanc until the other day when I was driving Mr. Wild Dingo to the airport. I looked to my left and said, "Holy crap, that mountain really is white!" The vision was so crisp and bright white. But it's very difficult to photograph, especially with my crappy pocket camera.
Above is a cropped image of it. You can see there are clouds just above it. Someone else managed to get a really good photo of Mont Blanc here.
I took the duo to the post office to mail a letter. The village is so small, it's the only business there besides all the farming. If you want cup of coffee or tea, your best bet is to head to Morges.
Juno asks the post master, "Bonjour Madame, avez-vous un grand timbre pour envoyer ce chien Formosan à Taiwan?"
"Hey Princess, that sounds lovely. I didn't know you could speak French. What did you ask her?"
"I asked her if she thought you were as handsome as I think you are."