Our First Hike in Switzerland: Les Pléiades near Blonay

Thanks to a colleague of Arnaud’s and his family, Arnaud and I finally had our first hike in Switzerland, in an area known as Les Pléiades near the town of Blonay.

The circular route, spanning ten kilometers, has a moderate rating in the hiking trails guides I’ve found online, though we didn’t need any specialized gear (thankfully, as I don’t have any) and all the trails had clearly marked and well groomed paths without any tricky bits. Perhaps the route gets its rating from the steady uphill grade it presents; though I must remember poorly, it felt as though we went up for two thirds of the way.

Whatever the reason for the ranking, seeing it gave me an ego boost. I hadn’t found the hike overly strenuous. Maybe I’ll get into this hiking thing, after all.

Of course, you should not have to hike cowless in the Swiss Alps, and on this count we were saved: The hike had several cows to accompany us, all of which moved kindly out of our way (though they watched us with interest).

And yes, all the cows had on their cowbells, and the sound as they moved about their mountain sounded much like that of their brethren in Gruyères.

And if you see cows in Switzerland, you’ll likely find cheese—which we did. Just a bit further down the path we passed a pig sty (the literal, not figurative, kind) and then a small barn where La Chalet de la Neuve makes cheese in large copper pots. We even got a little tour when we stopped in to see if we could buy any of their fare.

In front of the entrance to the chalet, two small cows cuddled, chewed cud, and looked out on the landscape. (Wouldn’t you?)

I didn’t take pictures of the feast we had to reward our hike, prepared by Arnaud’s colleague, Albrecht, his wife, Kim, and their three amazing children, but you’ll have to take my word for it. We had an fantastic day, and really enjoyed spending the time with them and their family. And I confirmed that, as I’ve noted in the past, the best friendships come from getting a little exercise in tandem.