Buochserhorn (1807m) and Musenalp (1785m)

We had an appointment with our master confectioner to arrange a wedding cake in Beckenried on Saturday. Since I had to get up early anyways, drove all the way out there and the weather was gorgeous, I figured I might as well continue up one of the local mountains.

All this chilling on the couch...
...and good Christmas food gluttony mandates a good workout to repent.

One of the few I hadn't climbed yet was the Buochserhorn, so I set out on the white-blue-white trail at around 10 in the morning. It's an easy trail at first, but gets quite steep and exposed towards the end. Luckily there wasn't any snow on the dicey bits, otherwise they could easily have been impassable. The little snow there was was frozen solid and very slippery. In fact, a thin, nearly invisible, sheet of black ice made a few of the higher paved roads extremely treacherous. I'd often walk in the dirt beside them because that was easier and safer. Steel blue skies, beautiful warm golden light underneath the trees and the mountains casting their shadows on nearby Lake Lucerne - paradise ;-)

Mt Pilatus.
Someone put a Christmas ornament in this tree. A death sentence for next year?
The trail is getting steeper and steeper.

I had the entire ascent to myself but stumbled into a big picnic on the summit. The approach from the other side is much easier and can be shortened by a cable car. Thus there were lots of people sunbathing in the grass, having a small fire for roasting wieners with their kids and launching their wings, flying off the mountain. Great atmosphere. I just love the Swiss attitude towards being outdoors. Can't go skiing? Ah well, lets have a BBQ on the summit instead. Awesome.

Unfortunately I'm not good enough a photographer to catch this - but the light shining through the trees was beautiful.
Final approach to the summit.
Enjoying the sun.

I reached the summit a full hour sooner than the posted time, so I took advantage of the remaining daylight to scramble over the Bleiki ridge to the Musenalp. From there back down into the valley, for a total of 1500 meters and 19 kilometers.

Nice shadows and texture in the valley below.
There's some snow...
Scrambling over the Bleiki ridge.
Nice tree!



Anita an I spent the past weekend sight seeing in Vienna. I have been to the city before on my bike trip in 2004 and didn't like it very much. From the point of view of a penny-less bike nomad struggling to survive traffic on the big streets and trying to find a place to pitch a tent for the night it sucked. However, as a tourist arriving from the airport with money and staying at a nice hotel with a beautiful woman for company it works much better ;-)

Our room in the Hotel Donauwalzer. Every one of the top floor rooms is styled uniquely after one of the local specialties. We got the beer room! ;-)
Do note the functional Zapfanlage (beer dispenser). Much cheaper than the regular minibar in the room - 20 Euros all you can drink.
One of the many Christmas markets.
St. Stephen's Cathedral.
View from the tower of the cathedral.
Quite a claustrophobic climb with lots of tourists in the narrow staircase. 343 stairs to ascend.
Front row seats on the upper deck of the sight-seeing bus.
One of many opulent buildings, the natural history museum. Vienna is very baroque and very rich.
"Waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists." An art installation in the hipster museum quarter.
One of the cooler installations. Anita hated it ;-)
Cocktails! Followed by Star Wars in 3D.
Fancy and extremely delicious cafe in Schönbrunn Palace while waiting for our time slot for touring the place.
Apple Strudel show.
We had a private whirl pool and sauna for two hours ;-)


La Gomera

Anita and I spent a week of November on the Canary Island of La Gomera. A very atypical style of vacation for us, comprised mostly of chilling at the pool, slurping cocktails.

Harbor of Los Christianos on Tenerife.
The Fred Olson express ferry about to pick us up. The world's first trimaran ferry and likely the most elegant and fastest ship I've ever been on.
Breakfast on the Hotel terrace.
One of our pools. The Hotel Jardín Tecina is really nice ;-)
Sight seeing at San Sebastián de La Gomera, the tiny capital of the island.
Hiking up to the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, a sixteenth century hermitage with beautiful vistas over the island.
Dinner at a restaurant built into a cave at Playa de Santiago, directly at the harbor. Historically the cave was used to store and clean fish - and that's what we had for dinner ;-)
The beach club belonging to our hotel.
An abandoned fish factory in one of the many canyons cutting through the island. The island is of volcanic origin and nearly perfectly circular in shape. Erosion has produced an incredibly steep and varied topology.
Pilot wales.
More pilot wales. Anita wanted to keep one of the babies.
Sangria on the roof. We also got to jump into the ocean and barbecue on deck. Don't be mistaken by the seemingly calm sea. Four people on the boat threw up and balancing around on deck required quite a bit of dexterity on the bobbing boat.
Garajonay National Park, the largest park on the Northern slopes of the island. The trade winds create a very special climate here, giving birth to a subtropical forest shrouded in a perpetual mist on an otherwise desert like island. It feeds the only significant creek and is vital for the irrigation systems further down.
Hermigua and Santa Catalina on the Northern shore.
Did I mention we were lazy? We still hiked through the entire national park in a day for ~35km and +-1200m elevation. Anita on the trail after leaving the forest and following the irrigation pipes towards the village of El Cedro.
Cool goat.
View from our room.
Anita overlooking the cult mountain of La Fortaleza.
Nice vistas from the westernmost point of the island.
A place in the shade just above an 800m near vertical drop to the ocean.
The Chorros de Epina enchanted spring. According to legend you need to drink from the fountains in just the right sequence and you'll get love and happiness in your life. Mess it up and you'll be turned into a witch or warlock. This is complicated by the fact that the sequence is different for men and women.
Anita tempting fate. Empirical evidence since the vacation indicates we got the sequence right ;-)
Chocolate fountain as one of the many dessert offerings. All you can eat dinners every day are dangerous...
This was standard fare for our breakfast (!) buffet.
GPS track of our explorations.