Archive for the ‘Outdoors’ Category

Puy de Dome

Freitag, September 18th, 2009

We spent some time on the highway via Saint-Etienne to Clermont-Ferrand.

Saint-Etienne Highway

We went to the major French site „Puy de Dome“ which is the highest of the volcanic mountains in the Auvergne.

Volcanic Mountains in the Auvergne

From the Puy de Dome summit there is a good view of Clermont-Ferrand.

Puy de Dome summit

But the wind was very strong at the summit. It felt like we were being blown away. It helps to be a rock climber and able to hold ourselves on the fence.

Strong Wind at Puy de Dome Summit

By coincidence our friend Manu was accompanying a helicopter test flight (once in 2 years) and they were headed towards the Puy de Dome. So we waited in the cold wind trying look and listen out for a helicopter. Finally we saw them.

Helicopter Test Flight

He was sitting in the back and waved at us. Unfortunately my camera is not so good, but you can see the guy with the white shirt.

Manu in the Helicopter

A bit later we met with Manu and he took us to a magical fountain. The water contains gas that is released from the water and as there is a kind of natural siphon structure it erupts about every second when enough gas has gathered.

Magical Volcanic Fountain

Val and Manu have bought a very nice old stone building that they have been renovating for some time already. It is getting more and more beautiful. In the evening after having some ham from a full pig leg we went to the inaugural concert of the Harmonic Orchestra of Clermont-Ferrand. They played various classical and modern pieces.

L’Orchestre d’Harmonie de Clermont-Ferrand

Forest near Lyon

Donnerstag, September 17th, 2009

The weather was beautiful today. So we set out hunting for mushrooms in a forest near Lyon. It had been quite moist lately in this region but despite searching in vain we only managed to find 3 old ones. So we had to find something else for dinner.

Hunting for Mushrooms in a Forest near Lyon

The guys went to play some tennis and the girls (Nanu and me) went inline skating.

Playing Tennis

Inline Skating

Chartreuse Mountains – Le Cirque de Saint-Meme Hike

Mittwoch, September 16th, 2009

We continued on to the Chartreuse Mountains to a small village called Le Cirque de Saint-Meme. At the beginning of the short hike was the first small waterfall.

Le Cirque de Saint-Meme Waterfall

But hiking up brought us into the clouds. The forest became foggier.

Hiking in the Foggy Forest

When we arrived at the 3rd waterfall it was hard to see it at all. It must be more impressive in the spring time when it hass more water.

Chartreuse Mountain Waterfall

Chartreuse Mountain Waterfall

But it seems to be quite moist here most of the year as some trees were completely covered with moss.

Mossy Tree

Chartreuse Mountain Small Waterfall

Hiking in the Chartreuse Mountains

At the end of the hike there was a short moment that I could see the actual cliffs of the Chartreuse mountains peaking through the clouds.

Massif de Chartreuse

Lake of Annecy

Dienstag, September 15th, 2009

Annecy is a nice small town. It is located on a lake that is perfect for sailing.

Sailing Boat Club on Lake of Annecy

Lake of Annecy

The old town center is very beautiful. I had a picture taken the Chinese style.The idea is that the person isin the center covering the building of interes almost completely and having the hand in the typical V sign.

Annecy Historic Island Building

Here is another picture of the town historical island from the other side.

Annecy Town Center

It was very nice to see Sandrine and Seb again after such a long time. Unfortunately they were too busy with work and their new apartment so they could not join us for any outdoor activity. Maybe next time we meet again 🙂


Via Ferrata D’Ugine Hike

Dienstag, September 15th, 2009

Near Thone we went on a short but nice alpine hike. It started off at 1450m altitude.

Alpine Hike near Annecy

The weather was not so good, but we were lucky that it did not rain. The advantage was we were almost alone.

Alpine Hike near Annecy

We had bought some bread and ham and tomatoes and cheese that we ate after quite some uphill hiking for lunch.

The Hikers after the Lunch Break

It started getting moister and more windy. The clouds were creeping up the mountain.

Alpine Lake

Ines Hiking in France near Annecy

The mountain ridges were quite impressive with very steep slopes.

Mountain Ridge near Thone

The route continued up along the ridge until the summit. I did then understand why climbing harness, carabiners and helmet were recommended for this route Via Ferrata D’Ugine.

Via Ferrata D’Ugine

The summit was at 2409m altitude.We had a nice view despite the cloudy weather. This picture shows the valley of Thones.

Valley of Thones

We had a short break at the summit despite the strong wind and watched the fast moving creeping clouds.

Hikers at the Summit

Clouds Creeping over Mountain Peaks

Our hike was a loop so the path we took down was different from the one we came up on. It was a more direct way and the steepness of the rough gravel alpine path gave us a good training for our thighs.

Alpine Descent

Basel City

Montag, September 14th, 2009

We were planning on going rock climbing today. Marie had organized enough gear for us. But this morning everything was wet and it was raining 🙁

So instead of going climbing we decided to have a look at Basel in Switzerland. It is a nice small university city located on the Rhine river.

Rhine River in Basel

Rhine River in Basel

We went to the cathedral and the city hall.

Kreuzgang in Basel Cathedral

Basel Rathaus

Then we drove through Switzerland past the Lake of Neuchatel to meet other friends.

Lake of Neuchatel

Ruins of Castle Landskron

Sonntag, September 13th, 2009

There are quite some ruins of castles in the Vosges mountain range between Germany and France. We went to see the ruins of Castle Landskron (Chateau du Landskron) in the Alsace.

Ruins of Castle Landskron

Ruine der Burg Landskron

This castle had been built at the end of the 13th century by the Muench of Basel.

Chateau du Landskron

Ruins of Castle Landskron

Ruins of Castle Landskron

Ruins of Castle Landskron

The were many wars fought around the castle and it had changed from being possed by different people. The main destruction of the castle happened in the beginning of the 19th century and it had remained just as ruins since then.

Ruins of Castle Landskron

From the top of the castle there is a great view over the Rhine valley looking into the direction of the city of Basel.

The Rhine Valley

Also the Vosges mountains in the North and South are beautiful.

Vosges Mountains in Alsace

And it was a beautiful day to be outdoors.

Group Photo

Ines in the Sun on Castle Landskron

Black Forest

Samstag, September 12th, 2009

We went to visit Marie and Do for the weekend who just just came back from a scuba diving holiday. As they live just at the „Dreilaendereck“ of Germany, Switzerland and France we decided to go for a walk in the black forest near Oetlingen.

Walking in the Forest

Her mother and sister also came for a visit. And the dog was happy to be on a long walk.

Walking in the Forest

Ex-Colleagues and Friends

Freitag, September 11th, 2009

It was nice to go and meet many ex-colleagues. Unfortunately many had already left the office as we arrived in the later afternoon. But it was nice to walk around and still see so many of the nice people.

We then drove to a public barbecue site with a nice view over the „Alb“ hills. It looked like it was going to rain but it actually stayed dry. I was happy to see that some of my friends came by bike.

Schwaebische Alb mit Rossberg

One of our friends had magically set up the fire and we soon could start the barbecue. Some of my friends are professional open fire barbecue guys and had specific barbecue forks (they used to give that as a present for anybody who turned 40, so if anybody had one he was usually older than 40) and other utensils.

Barbecue on over Open Fire

It was great to see these friends after such a long time. It did get a bit chilly when it got dark and the fire was almost out. Here are just some pictures we took throughout the evening.

Ines and Friends

Ines and Friends

Ines and Friends

Ines and Friends

Ines and Friends

Ines and Friends

Ines and Friends

Searching for Mushrooms

Sonntag, September 6th, 2009

After meeting a friend for breakfast my parents and I had lunch at a place that is only open on Saturday and Sunday for lunch and only has a limited number of dishes. I had traditional Franconian pork shoulder with skin and the Franconian potato dumplings but could not finish the huge portion. After that we set out into a nearby forest to search for mushrooms. It had been very dry the whole summer but just a few days ago my parents said it had rained and they were assuming that finally there would be some mushrooms.

Searching the Franconian Forest for Mushrooms

We spread out and each of us were checking clearly the ground. In all directions of the forest. My father is on the below picture

Searching the Franconian Forest for Mushrooms

But all we could find was a field of sunflowers.

Field of Sunflowers in Franconia

And they were quite big.

Huge Sunflower in Franconia