Friday, October 20, 2006

Climbing Mount Saleve

On Wednesday the 14th me and another of the Students climbed a nearby mountain, Mount Saleve. I was itching to climb it since I first saw it piercing through the clouds on our flight over. When I realised that it was an easy 2 hour climb (It's not exactly Alpine - it's only 1200 metres high) I was even more determined. We set off reasonably early, on got a bus from the centre of Geneva to Veyrier, a nearby village - half of which is in France. We passed the border and asked the staff at the cable car where the walking route was. Luckily it's well signposted, and not particularly difficult, although there were a few hairy moments. About 1/3 of the way up we reached a village, which looked like a very pleasant place to live. It is somewhat ironic that our first sighting of typical Swiss mountain village houses was actually in France!

Here we picked up our 'guide' - an enthusiastic dog who followed us for the next 2 hours! This is him:

He was an able climber, bounding up ahead of us as it clearly wasn't his first time climbing the mountain. He did have a tendency to get in fights with large dogs however, leading to us getting disapproving looks from their owners for not keeping 'our dog' on a leash.

About an hour later, after some quite steep climbs, we caught our first glimpse of the Alps, making it all worthwhile. Unfortunately it was a very misty day, leading to dark photographs; you'll have to believe me when I say it was better being there:

So that's the Alps anyway - I'm really looking forward to taking pictures of them from not so far away! We continued our climb - which was actually pleasantly civilised, not like the wilderness if you climb an Irish mountain; in fact there were quite a few restaurants and bars on the way. Eventually we reached the cable car station, and had a satisfying rest and a bite to eat. The view from here was also spectacular, as you can see the whole of Lake Geneva, shrouded in mist:

We met the others in the group, who had cleverly decided to take the cable car from the bottom, and kept on climbing to reach the top, and were rewarded by more stunning views. They pretty much speak for themselves, I'm afraid I'm not a good enough writer to enhance them. Here you go:

So that was that. It's really satisfying to know that something so amazing is also so accessible. I'm looking forward to more walks like that, particularly in the depths of winter when the place is carpeted in snow.