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Day 35 of Self-Isolation in Switzerland – A Hike To La Barillette.

Today I went for a Hike from La Barillette to La Barillette. It’s a shame that the restaurant wasn’t open to the public. It is currently marked as private, and scheduled to open on the first of May. Today I didn’t expect to do a long and physical hike. I expected to complete my usual daily tasks and then to go for the usual walks around where I live. In the end I did do such a hike, but it involved a slightly different geographic location.

The road to the top is currently closed to cars but sneaky motorbikes and cyclists can still head up the mountain. Plenty of cars were parked along the road by the first barrier. Instinctively I expected that we would see plenty of people walking up and down the road to La Dole but that wasn’t the case. The road was busy with cyclists.

Groups of up to five cyclists at a time headed up to the mountain. Some looked comfortable heading up, others looked okay, and some looked to be making an effort. I was surprised to see one person riding up that hill on a tandem and to see someone else ride up the hill on an electric bike pulling a child’s trailer. I couldn’t see a child in either the child seat or the trailer but that’s still quite a bit of extra weight to get up a mountain. Although that’s a nice distraction it isn’t the reason for this blog post.

Self-isolation means that we have to keep distant from other people but walking along paths with high traffic makes that complicated. For those with a little more energy and a lot of time the solution is to walk from the base of the Jura to the top. Initially the plan was to go up via the road but my curiousity got the better of me so I checked on Komoot to see whether I could take a side road up to the top and when I saw that this was possible I took advantage.

You follow the yellow and the Red and blue markers. We took one wrong turn so we had to scramble through some underbrush and climb up an even steeper incline. At least two or three trees have fallen across the path but they can all be avoided by going either side of them.

The trail is not used as frequently as others so navigation can sometimes be more challenging. It’s good to have some previous experience of navigating in this type of landscape. There are no sign posts and the red and blue and yellow markings are irregular. Without Komoot I would have explored more. I know that the aim is to reach the top, so from that aspect the goal is simple, but you could spend time wandering around without getting where you want to be.

During the walk you go from paths that are wide enough for cars to drive along where orienteering is easy to narrower paths where navigation is hard.

In Summer, when the restaurant is open this would be a good variant. I would have enjoyed having a fondue or Entrecôte at the top. As it so happens that’s my dinner, but prepared by myself rather than someone else.

For people who love flowers now is the ideal time to go up. You see plenty of these flowers growing in patches all over the top of the mountain. You need to go just as the snow finishes melting to see them at their best.

Less worried about the Virus.

By meeting up with someone to do an activity I went against my self-isolation rules. Two weeks ago when I was asked if I wanted to go for a bike ride I flatly said no. Now that the virus appears to be on the decline and that the number of cases is dropping I am being less aggressive about my self-isolation. I still give as much distance between myself and others. We also met using two scooters, rather than catching the same car. When I was asked if I wanted to stop for a coffee I had to say no.

People were having a big song and dance about how we shouldn’t call it social distancing because social distancing has negative connotations. Today I wanted to say yes, and I wanted to get back to normal but I couldn’t because the rules are still in place and we’re not in the clear yet. Let me point out that this is day 35 of not having a conversation within normal conversation distance, or of a handshake or a hug. It would be nice to be able to say yes to all of these things.

People, in big families, will never understand what living through a pandemic, is like for people living alone.When we get the green light to meet people again we should celebrate, not by going to a bar but by going on a hike.

That’s it for today.

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