08 March 2009

Hiking the French countryside

Every Wednesday I have been attending meetings for a local hiking club in Lyon. The club consists of about 50 older Lyonnais men and women who enjoying hiking on Sundays. It's always a purely French-speaking crowd, which is fun for practicing and listening to French. They throw damn good hors d'oeurve parties with fantastic assortment of French and Lyonnais cheeses, saucisson, foie gras, and a plethera of regional wines. 
After partying with these lovely French people, Clara and I ventured out on our first hiking trip with them this Sunday. This group of about 15  were from the ages 21 (me) to about 65. We were driven out into the mountainous region of Ain where we would spend the next 8 hours hiking a 20 kilometer (12 miles) circuit around Cerdon, one of the many communes not far from Geneva.
The terrain varied quite a bit during the hike. It went from slightly inclining switchbacks to steep one-person-path inclines in the mud or snow beautifully framed by mossy trees. We also took paths beside snow-melt streams and waterfalls. I kept thinking to myself how much dad would love all the cliffs and rocks! Once in a while we'd run into a really old farm shack/abby/gravesite. I swear we crossed a bombed medieval church which laid in crumbling ruins (pictured above). It's very possible in this part of France!
After hiking we stopped at a cafĂ© to enjoy some of the local sparkling wine, which was grown in the very vineyards we hiked through! I bet the hike would be even more beautiful with some grapes on those snowy vines! Nevertheless, it was a beautiful day and an amazing experience that I hope to do again soon!! 

No comments:

Post a Comment