One of the hardest things about living here is deciding where to walk each day. I know I mentioned it before but there are literally hundreds of trails and different directions I can take just outside my house.It's not like hour home in California, there were probably a half a dozen walks at best and all of them were the same every time. The decisions were easy there. But here, even if we start on the same path, it's never the same walk twice. And here-in lies our biggest problem: do we walk far or short? Do we stay on the main open farm lands or head to the forests? Do we go through villages and towns and interact with people or stay remote and solitary? Should we take the chance and explore a new trail or stick to what we know? It's not easy being the three of us, living here. In fact, it's a chore just to choose where to walk every day. But I want you all to know, I make the best of these difficult decisions.
"Mom, do I look handsome enough to go live in that castle?"
"Big Boy that castle isn't suited for barbarians. It's only fit for a Princess like me. Unless of course you want to live in the dungeon! Boo-wah-ha-ha-ha! "
Vufflen is privately owned and is currently being renovated so some of the photos below show the renovation scaffolding. Many of the vineyards we walk through to get there are owned by Vufflens. It takes about 30 minutes to walk to Vufflen from our house. I know, what a pain to live so close to an eye-sore like this.
Above the dogs patiently wait for their photos in front of Vufflen while a Saint Bernard to the right behind a fence is barking, at first defensively, then as if to tease them into play. At the time, I have no idea what around me is privately owned and what is for public walking so I hurried up with the photos. Later on we discovered there isn't much you can't walk through in this country. Our neighbor, Marita, took us on a walk a few weeks later to Vufflen. She showed us that just behind the castle is so much more hiking where we found these trails:
A small forest just in back of the castle, with steep stairs and of course, cows. Cows are as prevalent as cats. It seems you're not Swiss unless you have at least one or two cows. Even if you keep them in the forest. I'm pretty sure there's at least one cow on Juno's Christmas list year.
The stairs seem to descend forever until ...
... they then climb.
And they climb some more until we're out of the forest and headed to another village, Monnaz. For the record, these stairs are kind of a chore too. They managed to put an exterior elevator in Lausanne so the Swiss can avoid walking the three steep hills. You'd think they can do the same here. Or at least leave some donkeys at the bottom so we can ride up. Do you feel sorry for me yet?
Surprise! More vineyards. Because if you don't have cows, then you should have vineyards. We just came out of forest in the photo above which is just behind the dogs and Vufflen is behind the forest.
The dogs have been here before and they remember where they last saw "le chat du mal" that teased them from the top of the stairs.
"Heeeerrre Kitty, kitty! Come out wherever you are. We have some fois-gras for yoooouuu!"
"Princess, maybe Mom will release me to go do my SAR stuff for the kitteeehy...."
Ever the diligent search dog, Loki takes a look over the wall to see if le chat is hiding.
"Kitteh? Are woo there? Cuz I promise we won't hurt you...much."
Just ahead to to the left and out of this photo shot, is a grape stand with "libre service." It isn't what it sounds like, "free service." It simply means "self-service," or, "take some grapes and drop some money." The Swiss are suckers, err, fans of the honor system. In fact, I pretty much haven't paid many services yet because everything here is billed. All that meat we purchased for the dogs over a month ago? We finally got the bill for it. Our first few visits to the vet? Billed. Nothing but groceries seem to be paid for at time of purchase or in advance.
This walk takes us all the way out to Echichens which turns into almost a three-hour hike.
I love the colors in this house just next to Echichens.
No matter where you are on your walk, you can pretty much see the lake and the Alps or the Juras which help navigate direction. A few days after my neighbor had shown me 90% of the trails, I attempted this walk to Echichens by myself on a dense overcast day when the mountains and the lake were not visible. I figured I could use my impecably keen internal navigation system, but I took a wrong turn at Echichens and turned a 2.5 hour walk into 4 hours. I did not have GPS or an iPhone at the time. I didn't even have a paper map. And since I couldn't see the lake or the Alps, I was screwed. There are tons of yellow walking signs for hikers, some even have directions, but for some reason they always take me further from my destination and are less helpful than they seem to be. Luckily for us, I had plenty of water for the dogs. We ended up in the "low-income projects" of Morges, which is kind of laughable when you think about some of the "projects" in the U.S. From there, I managed to find Morges train station and from there it's only 20 minutes back to my house. The dogs slept well that night.
I saw this house along a fire road and really just loved it. There's nothing particularly special about it compared to other Swiss farm homes. On the other side is a vineyard, of course. I guess it's just the way it sits on the land that makes it so appealing.
You can be lost in vineyards and the forest but you're never really far from the lake or Morges. Just down beyond the vineyards is a school and the train station. But to get there you have to walk through many more vineyardsand a few more forests. What a pain. Maybe you should jump on the first plane out here to console me.
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"Your project is guaranteed to meet superior Siberian standards or I will fatally masticate it. You have my "woo" on that!"
"I keep your project safe from crows, coyotes, and flies. I prefer to be paid in salmon treats and tennis balls."
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