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Archive for September, 2009

I see on my therapy sheet “Iso-Kinetic” training. What the heck is that? Well, on the sheet it is also written I should go to “Floor A”, SOMC. What the heck is SOMC? I ask an employee of the clinic.  It is the Swiss Olympic Medical Centre says he as a matter of course. When I enter the SOMC, I see myself face to face with Franz Heinzer, Pirmin Zubriggen, Didier Cuche, Dider Defago, Werner Günther,etc…. (For those who do not know them…they have written big chapters in the small history of Swiss’ sport). They are all in large format pinned against the wall. I ask the physio, Kurt Jordan, whether they were all here for Iso-Kinetic. He answers yes. I learn later that the physio knows them all personally and that he has been going with the Swiss National Ski Team since Lake Placid!!!!

I don’t have time to ask him what Iso-Kinetic is about. He asks me kindly to sit and relax on a huge elevated green padded chair, straps my body with safety belts, fix my leg against some strong mechanic arm powered by a huge electric motor I tell myself that this looks like very sophisticated modern torture and I am about to learn that this is indeed very sophisticated modern torture aimed at strengthening my knee!!!

It’s been now three and a half weeks, that I am sitting daily on that chair and I must say that I hate it but it is the most efficient thingy to get back mobility and strength. I thank Kurt for training with me as seriously as if I were Didier Cuche and hope now to be running in less than 3 months.

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It has been like this for the last 5 years. The grape harvest in Wallis have started in the middle of September instead of the first week of October. This is due to exceptional early maturity of the grape thank to good, warm weather coupled with dry winds. Today, 21 september, the sky is clear, 26 degrees, the opportunity should not be missed to harvest . We call some friendds of ours to see if we can help them. We meet the Delaloye’s from Leytron early in the afternoon. They are busy harvesting some “Gamay”. Mr Delaloye comes back from grape delivery and says with some pride that his Gamay has 93 Ochsle degrees. It is so high for Gamay grapes and when we taste some…it is so ripe, so sweet, so compact, so ready to burst in your hands. All the family enjoys cutting grapes on this beautiful sunny Tuesday. Before we leave the winyards, Mrs Delaloye brings us to a small patch of Fendant grapes and tell us to cut as much as we want for private consumption. It is so kind. They invite us then to there place to take the apéro and we taste a few wines. As we are ready to leave their company they gives us pears and apples and more grapes. We are quite overwhelmed by the generosity.

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There is no English word for “désalpe”. It happens traditionally and for the better health of all sheep every year around September. The shepherds gather their sheeps at a point in the alps and go down to the valley together to bring the herd in safe places before the first snow comes. The “désalpe” of the Gemmi is rather spectacular as sheeps and shepherds go literally down a cliff from the Gemmi Pass down to Leukerbad. Isa and I wanted our city-born-daughters to take this chance and have a closer look at sheeps. We wanted them to know that goat cheese do not originate at Wall-Mart and milk does not come out of a Tetra Pack.

So we decided to walk up to the “allmend” from Leukerbad, a meeting place for welcoming the shepherds and their livestock. Traditional music was awaiting us, including a good bar stocked mainly with white wine, raclette cheese and bratwurst. It was a day to remember for the kids… and Isa decided it was a day to remember for us all, hence cut this cute little movie!

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Wildstrubel068

10 days without crutches, a beautiful day, Marc, Rea & Leo visiting; 3 good reasons to take the cable car from Leukerbad to the col du Gemmi. Once on top, at 2308 m., I realise how much I have forgotten about the mountain.  At this height in September the wind is already cold. We are not dressed appropriately. Our light functional wears are barely enough. So we first decide to go to the wind protected terrace of the restauraPushin' trolley in the alps...nt close by. The view on the Walliser Alps is beautiful with the Matterhorn in the background. It is most probably the last time this year we see the “summer” alps. The first snow is about to come. I take the opportunity to order a “Walliser Platte” and a liter of Rivella Red, my favorite (non-alcoholic) Swiss drink. After spending an hour or so bathing in the sun on this terrace we decide to go on a stroll. On the map, there was a clear sign that this was mad for baby strollers. Well they should have specified the making, ’cause our strollers weren’t good enough…but we did not let the difficulties get in our way. So we did a kilometer or so on the stroller hostile path before taking the cable car back down to Leukerbad (1400m). To round of the day we had a raclette. Those are days to remember. Eating traditional Swiss food in the alps with close friends.

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