This month's masthead is dedicated to my inability to shut my bottom jaw anytime I'm walking the villages and vineyards in Switzerland.
Someone needs to pinch me because sometimes I can't believe I live here, even if it's only temporary.
When Marley and his mom emailed us for a hike last week and suggested Lavaux vineyards, I jumped at the chance. The last time I rode the vineyards, I envisioned taking the dog's there but hadn't gotten around to it. So much to do, so little time.
We started with lunch in Vevvy, where I had the best sandwhich I've had since I've been here: melted cheese, ham and grilled vegetables on some amazing grilled French bread. Then we went on our hike to work it all off. I wasn't able to take photos of the steep climb out of St. Sophorin to reach the terraces because I had to focus to keep my heart from exploding. But trust me, by the amount of sweat on my tee shirt, that sandwhich was clearly worked off. Seriously Internet, you don't know how hard it is to live and walk here.
Juno and Marley take the lead along the Lavaux Terraces.
The Lavaux vineyard terraces--it's so steep, there has to be terraces to traverse the vineyards--stretch 30 kilometers (20 miles) along the shores from Montreaux (Chateau Chillon) up to the outskirts of Lausanne. Due to strong urbanisation creeping in from both sides of the area, strong protection was put in place including nominating the area as a UNESCO world herritage site and imposing many building restrictions. A dozen villages make up Lavaux, including Vevvy, St. Sophrin, Cully, and Lutry.
It's a hot and humid day and we stop to take in the views and a drink of water.
There are some beautiful houses along the pathways as well. Loki gave me a near heart attack when I saw him on this retaining wall above.
This is why. The steep drop off to the right is a long way down! Check out the waterfall to the right. It must suck to live in that house. All the noise of that waterfall day-in and and day-out plus the views of the lake. It must get old fast.
This trail was a last minute decision on our hike back. I'm so glad we did it as it became the masthead for June. The Roman ruins were just sitting there right in front of us. You just never know what lies on the unexplored path.
Although there is some evidence that vines were grown in the area in Roman times, the present vine terraces can be traced back to the 11th century, when Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries controlled the area. A chance find of Latin inscription on the worship of wine in antiquity, together with many Roman remains - Saint-Saphorin overlies what survives of a substantial Roman villa built along a main Roman highway, and Lausanne was a Roman settlement - suggests that the area was probably cultivated for wine in Roman times.
Now I know where I get my affinity for wine. Those Romans were lushes!
It's clear that even these three canines can appreciate the beauty of the land. They stop and take in the views of the lake, 500 meters above lake level.
Oh-ho-hum. Another castle down on the lake. Marley's mom told me a little about it, but I obviously didn't pay attention. All this blue and green messes with my concentration.
In the winter, the terraraces are covered with snow and it's not unusual to find off-piste cross-country skiiers on the rolling farmlands.
We spent only an hour but it was exhausting in the humidity and steep climbs. We only explored a small percentage of the terraces, so we'll be back. All three dogs had a spectacular time. Even the cracker enjoyed the serene surroundings and was on his best behavior.
Some people will never get the opportunity to enjoy this area first hand. I still can't believe my dogs get to enjoy it with me. What's even more amazing is that this walk is a mere 20 minute drive from my house and we can hike it whenever it suits us.
So go ahead. Pinch me. I know you're just dying to!