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June so far in the Forces-of-Nature Diaries
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Member#: 6644
Registered: 27-05-2007
Diary Entries: 1721

4th March 2019
Hiking - Walking: Lac Neuchatel
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Weather: Windy, showers and sunny periods.
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A good night in our small carpark for a new viewing point, the Reserve naturelle de Cheyres overlooking Lac Neuchatel but woke to the forecast strong winds although the rain hadnít arrived yet.

Relaxing start reading with a Lac view but it was a little unnerving with the surrounding trees swaying in the wind, luckily, we survived to tell the tale and were not disturbed at all:) We were still not sure what to do next with changeable weather now forecast for the rest of the week. Mag had thought of yet another alternative, heading up in search of more Swiss ski resorts but on checking the map we realised they were all too far NE so reverted to plan A head over to Bernex in the French Alps - another one of our little favourites. It was a 78-mile journey which we combined with some sightseeing to make the most of the bad weather, it would have been a small sail day on both Lac Neuchatel and Lemen but we didnít see anyone braving the cold with large wave rolling down the Lacs! Mag had noticed a large group of standing stones, my absolute favourite thing, on the outskirts of Yverdon-les-Bains yesterday, so headed there first parking near the Lac and walking past the reed beds and a forest path with loads of Chaffinches pinching the grit! The Neolithic Menhirs - Statues of Clendy were an impressive sight. They are erected in a specific arrangement certainly for religious purposes.

They were set out in lines and smaller groups, the biggest 4.5m long with the smallest only 40 cm. and were carved as human silhouettes with roughly shaped human heads. Dating from about 850 BC the stones were authentically reset in 1985 and looked amazing. We then continued around the Lac to the intriguing town of Grandson with its castle then it was off to Lausanne on Lac Leman avoiding the motorway as you have to pay 40 Euros (a year) to use that! We quickly found a Lidl to stock up but things in Switzerland seem expensive to us Ė even in Lidl!! After the mountains it felt a little odd driving along the flat valley with the Yverdon to Lausanne tramway running right next to the road, not fenced off at all. We raced the same train most of the 24 km. Lausanne is a huge sprawling place with modern high rise and lovely old buildings including Grand hotels and Casinos in fact this end of the Lac defiantly has a South of France feel about it and looked a bit like Monaco! We managed to park for lunch before a walk back to the small ferry dock just in time to see one head out into the choppy waters on its way to Evian. Most of the birds were seeking out shelter but we managed to spot swans, goosanders, grebes coots, gulls, tufted ducks and mallards before it started to rain so we quickly headed back.

The road closely follows the Lac with a footpath cycleway which would make a great ride on a nice spring day when the water is not splashing over the prom! Then we came to the most impressive really high walled terraces stretching far above us full of vines. There was little access for machinery so the vines had to be tended by hand, I bet the wine made from these grapes must cost a Franc or too! We have never seen so many vineyards!

Itís a bit of a trek around the end of the Lac but we finally reached the border which is right in the middle of the small town of St Gingolth, the last time we were here there were border police but none today, in fact none of the borders we crossed had any. So back in France we headed for Evian-les-Bains and turned left up into the mountains finally reaching the little ski resort of Bernex.

We were last here in march 2016 and parked in the same spot today. We had a cuppa with cake making the most of the late afternoon sunshine. I then walked over to the lifts at 5:45 to check out the prices in the hope that we get good weather tomorrow and the learner button was still open with loads of kids lessons taking place.

I then checked out a ski shop and fell in love with some bright orange Dynastar piste skis with - speed zone - on them, they had my name written all over them and had 30 percent off at 350 euros but I would probably end up killing myself on them. I think I had better pass on them as I have spent a fortune lately and still need a windsurfing foil which Mag is not keen on Ė not because she doesnít want me to have one but the fact that I will probably end up hurting myself using. Still no pain no gain Ė fingers crossed for some good weather tomorrow as we have only 7 days left before we are back in Blighty!

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