With Matterhorn in the background

From the bottom to the top, from the top down…

In 2013 I used the equipment for ski-touring for the first time. Another activity, which like running I started in Switzerland. There is something in this country that a man wants to move. It is a pity that I came so late to the “land of wine and cheese” and so late I picked up all these athletic challenges, but:

Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on
/Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven/

Which way...?

Which way…?

As I wrote earlier – the most important is to begin. I rented boots, skis and seals skins (obviously artificial, since these nice animals are protected) during the winter in Grimentz in 2013. I stuck the skins on the bottoms of skis and headed up the hill.

Weisshorn Hotel on the other side of Val d'Anniviers (I was running there during Sierre - Zinal race)

Weisshorn Hotel on the other side of Val d’Anniviers (I was running there during Sierre – Zinal race)

It was not long and I realized that I have to move the skis sliding forward, and not raise the legs as a normal walking. Amazing feeling when approaching uphill skis do not slide down back but are locked due to the seals skins (obviously artificial, since these nice animals are protected). In addition, on the very steep approaches it is possible to support the heel using the stand in the binding and then the foot is set flat not down like the skis are.

It was my first time, so I stumbled and rolled up, but the skis and bindings worked flawlessly. For those few days I was getting up early in the morning, even in the dark and climbed to the top, to ski in peace and quiet down when the ski lifts have not yet started. Once I was able to participate in a trip with the ski club, which began at 6 am and ended with tasty breakfast in the restaurant at the top, where only after several hours “normal” skiers appeared.

No one at upper station

No one at upper station

Intoxicated by the beauty of this sport I bought a set of ski-tour equipment to climb already using my own staff during the next winter. I bought it in Poland in the sports shop “BACKFLIP snowboards.” The store is located away from the city center, but it has the latest and branded products in a huge selection. The service is friendly and professional. Before I chose skis and boots I listened half-hour lecture what is important when choosing equipment for ski-touring.

In the end I decided to K2 skis and skins (obviously artificial, since these nice animals are protected), Marker bindings and Black Diamond boots.

This year, I started the trip in Grächen about 6 am. Skis were attached to winter backpack Mammut Nirvana Pro 35. I had ski-touring shoes on my feets and the front lamp on my head to illuminate the darkness. About 30 minutes I walked up the asphalt road until I came to the village Gasenried. Then I stepped into the snowy woods and I could wear my new skis with seals skins (obviously artificial, since these nice animals are protected).

The route begins

The route begins

It was fantastic. Silence, fresh snow, croissant moon over the mountains.

Moon over Grächen

Moon over Grächen

Dawn was approaching.

Dawn

Dawn

Unfortunately I did not get far. As is usually the case with the novice hiker, I just stumbled and slide a bit from the slopes. When I got up, binding was not attached anymore to the skis, only loosely dangled apart. I put then skis on the backpack again and went down per pedes, which was not easy in this fresh, soft and deep snow with the ski boots.

From the bottom to the top, from the top down
From the darkness into the sun, from the silence to the scream
/Maanam, One-two, one-two/

I can include this event as tiring, but interesting adventure. What I am interested now is a matter of the complaint of a broken binding. I contacted by e-mail with Konrad Pajka, the owner of the store “BACKFLIP snowboards”, describing the situation and enclosing photos of the broken binding.

Broken ski binding Marker

Broken ski binding Marker

He agreed with me that the fracture should not occur in the hardware of that class, but the decision about the possible repair/replacement does not depend on him but on a quality expert in Marker enterprise. So he sent my email with photos to the distributor of Marker in Poland.

Broken ski binding Marker (bottom view)

Broken ski binding Marker (bottom view)

Now I have to wait. I will let you know how things will end…

Zaginając czasoprzestrzeń

Bending the space-time continuum

Weather this winter is most similar to the autumn. Majority of the day the rain is falling, the sky is cloudy and there is not sunny, natural source of vitamin D.

On windows the raindrops, the autumn rain knocking
Rhythmically, constantly, without stopping,
The autumn rain falling and tapping on pane…
Glass weeping… glass crying… the signs of the rain
And light, oh so gray, the colors is blocking…
On windows the raindrops, the raindrops are knocking…
/Leopold Staff, Autumn rain/

So, when clouds parted even for a moment, it is important to be ready and immediately to move on. A better weather found me recently on Saturday in the area of my own blog route, it means running route. The star closest to the Earth appeared on the sky and was shining magnificent, and evaporating forest path invited to the run. I observed that day a few additional attractions worth a description and presentation on photos…

Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
With forms that no man can discover
For the tears that drip all over;
Mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore;
Seas that restlessly aspire,
Surging, unto skies of fire;
Lakes that endlessly outspread
Their lone waters—lone and dead,—
Their still waters—still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily.
By the lakes that thus outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead,—
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily,—
/Edgar Allan Poe, Dream-Land/

The stone La Pierre à Cambot was excellent visible because all leaves on the trees around disappeared. Tables, benches and fire places are looking for the summer and for the guests.

Picnic at Standing Rock

Picnic at Standing Rock

It appeared that canyon Le trou de la Sorcière, by which you can run down to the river La Mèbre, has its name due to one lady which lives on the near tree.

Devil's Canyon

Devil’s Canyon

Knowing by heart the outstanding work of the Dominican inquisitors Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger “Hammer of the witches” (Malleus Maleficarum) I run down without a fear until the very bottom of the hole (le trou) and cross the river with my head held high.

Waterfall Le Cascade de La Mèbre presented itself very splendidly due to high level of the water.

[...] all that is carried away by the stream's silvery cascade, rhythmically falling from the mountain, carried by its own current—carried where? [...]

[...] all that is carried away by the stream’s silvery cascade, rhythmically falling from the mountain, carried by its own current—carried where? [...]

Running further in fairytales mood I have crossed the portal of my imagination and landed in Cambodia, in Ta Prohm temple where Lara Croft was looking for talisman giving power over the time-space continuum.

Ta Prohm in Canton the Vaud

Ta Prohm in Canton the Vaud

Swiss Angkor

Swiss Angkor

I hope that my finding will convince creators of Tomb Raider and next part of the adventures of brave Lara will be filmed in Canton the Vaud. In such important business matters you have to rely on recognized authorities:

Imagination is more important that knowledge because knowledge is limited.
/Albert Einstein/

After few hundred meters I came back to our dimension but did not stop improvising and just after watermill Le Moulin – Dessus I turned right, up to the hill through the bridge. Thanks to that maneuver I found interesting monument of different kind and from more recent times.

Water is a treasure

Water is a treasure

When I returned home, it started heavily raining. I finished just in time.

On Sunday I was also running in the short moment of sunny weather. This time between Epalinges and Chalet-a-Gobet. Place easy accessible from the center of Lausanne (close to Croisette, the termination station of metro). Additionally I have there excellent base at my friend house, where I can change, wash and drink a tea. It is narrow forest path but it leads from time to time by the historical route from Romain time, which was used by the merchant to move from Lausanne via Moudon and Avenches towards Bern.

Each Chalet is Full of Advantages

Each Chalet is Full of Advantages

The road through Bois de Peccau is conserved well thanks to Swiss Forest Law introduced in 1876, which efficiently hindered further deforestation and at the same time protected forest paths lead through those areas. In contrary on the city areas many historical routes disappeared due to pressure from developers to build new housing and new roads.

Continuous climb was worth it and finally I have arrived to the place which reminds a bit swamp, where James Bond was jumping over the alligator heads.

Live and Let Die

Live and Let Die

Taking into consideration the latest news from United States I was not surprised that swamp Everglades frozen and only after a moment I recognized that again I bent space-time continuum and teleported myself to other dimension. But the moment has come to return and drink hot tea, and as Anne Shirley used to say:

But the worst of imagining things is that the time comes when you have to stop and that hurts.
/Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables/

I came back to my base in Epalinges where I was offered with delicious tea Darjeling FTGFOP from first, spring harvest. Secret abbreviation in the name of this variety means that it is tea of highest quality, prepared from the softest leafs, from the top of the bud. This abbreviation can be also translated with humor as “Far Too Good For Ordinary People”.

Additionally after physical effort it is good for the balance to train brain (and vice-versa). Therefore we have played strategic play “Genius”, in which you have to equally divide forces to all pawns. It reminds me cooperation in the team and that immediately moved my thoughts to my previous team in my previous work.

My colleagues surprised me recently and provoked emotions, because they invited me for farewell meeting in the restaurant in Neuchatel and handed a farewell card with the coupon to sport shop. I have to admit that it was nice and confirmed my observations that not the raw materials, not components, not machines and not the computers but the people are the most valuable asset of the enterprise.

Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.
/George Orwell, 1984/

Lac Leman

From Ouchy to Saint-Sulpice

I am lucky enough to live in Lausanne at Lake Geneva, the largest lake in the Alps, which is also the largest lake in Western Europe. Western only, because the largest lakes in Europe are located in the eastern part of the continent and the list opens Lake Ladoga in Russia.

Lake Geneva, however, has the magic that charmed many prominent artists before me. Hmm, I think it sounded a little too pompous.

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva

Anyway, on the shores of the lake “Lausanne lyrics” were written by Adam Mickiewicz, in the near Geneva, Juliusz Slowacki created “Kordian” and “Balladyna”. In Vevey Henryk Sienkiewicz and Charlie Chaplin lived the last years of their lifes and in Morges for about 40 years lived Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Lac Leman area impressed also Karol Szymanowski, Cooco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn and Yul Brynner.

And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters and inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin to found the International Olympic Committee headquarter in Lausanne.

This time I started my trail in Ouchy, a popular place of entertainment and leisure for both residents and tourists. This small fishing port, after joining the borders of the city in the nineteenth century, transformed over the years into one of the most prestigious and recognizable places of Lausanne. Exclusive hotels were build here, like Beau-Rivage Palace, Château d’Ouchy and Mövenpick, numerous restaurants and… two grocery stores open daily until 22:00, which is a rarity in Switzerland. On the Avenue d’Ouchy, a street that runs from the lake up the city, the shop “Bazar d’Ouchy” is located, in which for more than 100 years, you can purchase all Swiss gadgets that you can dream of, and in particular the cuckoo clock, which is sometimes the object of malicious jokes:

In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.
/The Third Man (1949), by Carol Reed/

I think it is just jealousy for the peace, order and prosperity, which over the years Switzerland has established using a direct democracy.

Start of the run I set up on Place de la Navigation, near the port and carousel for children, at four stone blocks. They are here not just for decoration. These monoliths symbolize the four winds blowing on Lake Geneva and are the part of an artistic project, which took first place in the competition for the redevelopment of Place de la Navigation in 1991. The second part of the sculpture is semicircular anemometer height of 20 meters, located 150 meters away, at the entrance to the port.

Eole

Eole

It rotates in response to the gusts of wind. Standing in front of each stone block, with the feet on the wheel with the name of the wind and looking through the cut in the monolith semicircle at anemometer, you can identify which of the four winds is blowing at the moment.

Blowing in the wind

Blowing in the wind

I’m moving right, to the west by the quay and after about 200 meters, turned left to be all the time near the water. I run between the port and the large building, where oriental restaurant and a curling hall are located. At the end of the port I turn to the right and run into huge industrial quay, under big cranes for handling sand, gravel and stones. On the left side, the other side of the harbor basin steamer “Italie” waiting with the hope for a major renovation to join the fleet of “belle epoque”.

M/S Italie (1908)

M/S Italie (1908)

Ships in a total of eight all were built between 1904 and 1927 in the plant of Sulzer Brothers in Winterthur. Currently belong to the “Compagnie Générale de Navigation” (CGN) from Geneva:

Montreux (1904)
Vevey (1907)
Italie (1908)
La Suisse (1910) – flagship of CGN
Savoie (1914)
Simplon (1920)
Helvetia (1926)
Rhone (1927)

I continue to run in a westerly direction and when reaching the fence separating beneath a paid beach Bellerive, I turn:

a) from October to May to the left – and through concrete embankment on the shores of the lake to the asphalt walking alley in front of Theatre de Vidy;

b) from June to September to the right (as during summer period, the promenade at the lake is closed and becomes part of a paid Bellerive beach) – and along the Avenue de Rhodanie reach the end of the fenced area, I turned left and I run towards the lake having Theatre de Vidy on the right hand side.

I continue run via the alley to the west, I reach the port of Vidy, I run on the shore and at the end I turn to the left, as in the port of Ouchy to run all the time close to the water, and when the port is over, I turn to the right. I pass the pyramid built for the Swiss National Exhibition in 1964, at high steel monument I turn to the right and reach the main pedestrian path. I turn to the west, to the left. After a few dozen meters, I turn right to the Pierre de Coubertin stadium. It is the site of many sports events, among others, here ends up Lausanne 20 km run. In 2013 the old red tartan surface of the track was replaced by the new blue one. I run the track to the right, like on the roundabout and exit on the opposite side. I cross Rue du Vidy and a parking and through the gap in the trees run to the meadow where you can see the remains of a Roman settlement Lousonna.

Ruines Romaines

Ruines Romaines

I run diagonally through the Ruines romaines and again find myself on Rue du Vidy, on which I turn left. I cross to the roundabout, where by turning to the right, under the highway, you can reach the Musée romain but I’m running to the left, under the windows of the International Olympic Committee.

Citius-Altius-Fortius

Citius-Altius-Fortius

I realize that I am not the fastest runner in Lausanne, but doesn’t matter. Baron de Coubertin said that the fight itself and the competition is more important than victory:

The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

How easily the same sense expressed polish band Skaldowie in the song “The Bunny”:

Not the point to catch the bunny,
but to chase him,
but to chase him,
but to chase him!

Therefore I am chasing…

From the Olympic Committee there are three possible routes:

a) run to the lake and continue on the main promenade;

b) run straight the alley along the street and sewage treatment plants;

c) or run into the woods and for some time use the fitness trail.

Goal is one – to cross the river La Mèbre. Yes, this is the same river I already described before in the blog. I usually choose the fitness trial, because the sawdust substrate is gentler for the joints than asphalt. Parcoursvita leads me from station to station and on one of them I want to draw attention to the historical curiosity.

At stop number 4, behind the bushes you can see a stone obelisk on a small mound, surrounded by a hedge. It is clearly visible in autumn and winter, while in spring and summer, it is covered by the wall of greenery. I advice to go through the scrub and read the inscription on the monument. This is the place where major Davel, soldier and patriot of Suisse romande was beheaded. He wanted to bring an independence to the canton of Vaud, occupied at the time by the Bernese. He was arrested, tortured and beheaded in Vidy on April 24, 1723.

Place of execution of major Davel

Place of execution of major Davel

I’m running further on a fitness trial, until the asphalt alleys and river that I cross and through the sports premises of the university and the polytechnic, I join the main promenade of the lake. I run through the Petit Port of Saint-Sulpice, I pass the barrier, few meters further turn left and through the playground I reach the path over the lake. You can continue to run straight by the street, but I usually go via scenic area.

Path at the lake leads to the Beach of Pelican and further, up to the point where private properties come down close to the water. I turn then to the right in the gravel alley and in front of the restaurant L’Abordage join a main road and turn left.

Now the trail leads all the time by Avenue du Leman up to the Parc du Débarcadère in Saint-Sulpice. I run next to the playground and meadows, I follow the road which goes right behind the restaurant Le Débarcadère and reach the church of St. Mary Magdalene, which is the target of my trip. The church was founded by the Benedictines of Cluny in France at the turn of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. It became a Protestant church after the Reformation came into the canton of Vaud.

Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Saint-Sulpice

Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Saint-Sulpice

You can run forward towards Preveranges and Morges, but that’s a topic for another story…

I’m coming back more or less the same route to Ouchy, modifying a little, depending on the mood and comfort (variant a, b or c or … else). Planning is very important, but you have from time to time introduce deviations, break out of frames, improvise:

Do not go where the path leads, but where it does not exist and leave a trail.
/Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and essayist of nineteenth century/

Steps into the unknown

Steps into the unknown

Below the trail recorded by GPS:

Srebrna Góra

Shepherdess at Silver Mountain

Every year our family attends midnight mass. This year our choice was the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bielany near Cracow. Unfortunately after digesting 12 dishes during supper, blood had pumped into my stomach and intestines, and this of course, had a negative impact on all the other parts of my body. My legs did not want to move and my brain was drifting into the arms of sleep.

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. «Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour? he asked Peter. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak».

/Mt 26, 40-41/

Therefore, we set out; not on foot for perhaps, a run, but by car. Despite the enthusiasm, you need to use common sense. Besides, others had already spoken out strongly against a run. So we parked on Hikers Alley, located at the foothills of The Wolski Forest and from there, we made our way on foot to the Silver Mountain. Darkness…

there is no road neither the barrow ahead;
I look up to the sky, searching for stars, the guides of my boat;

/Adam Mickiewicz, The Akkerman Steppes/

I recognized the constellations of Orion, Great Bear and Cassiopeia.

After a short march through The Branches Alley, we stood in front of the first gate. On a narrow street between the walls of the monastery came to the wicket. There were already a lot of people waiting. Like us and the hermits of the Silver Mountain, they also wanted to welcome the Child.

Shepherdess at Silver Mountain

Shepherdess at Silver Mountain

Hermitage (Latin eremitorium – monastery of monks living in seclusion) on Bielny was founded in 1604 by the grand marshal of the crown Mikołaj Wolski.

Legend has said that he was a real sinner, dabbled in black magic and alchemy, but at the end of his life he stroked back and within the reparation for the sins brought to Krakow Camaldolese monk from Italy. The monks chosen a place for the seat, which unfortunately did not belong to Wolski, but to Sebastian Lubomirski, Castellan of Wojnice who did not want to abandon the site. Wolski proved to be an excellent psychologist and applied the best method for the second Pole in the style of the following joke:

The devil grabbed a German, a Frenchman, an Englishman and a Pole.

He told a German jump into the abyss but German answered he will not jump, so the devil said, “But these are the orders”. Then German shouted, “Jawohl Herr Devil!” and jumped into the precipice.

The devil convinced the Frenchman to jump, but he did not want to, so the devil said, “But these are the orders.”  “I don’t give a damn,” answered Frenchman. “But this is fashionable nowadays,” argued the devil.  “Well, if this is fashionable, I will jump”.

The Englishman was the next and obviously did not want to jump. He was not interested in fulfilling orders or in fashion, so the devil said, “Jump for the queen,” and then Englishman jumped into the abyss singing,” God save the Queen”.

At the end the devil asked the Pole to jump, and the Pole did not want to.  “But these are the orders,” said the devil.  “I don’t give a damn,” said the Pole.   But it is fashionable now,” said the devil. “Fashion does not interest me,” countered the Pole. “Jump for the queen.” “But in Poland there is no queen.” Then the devil said sadly, “So you will not jump?” The indignant Pole answered, “What, I will not jump ?!”

So Wolski organized a sumptuous feast, where in addition to Lubomirski he invited important persons of Cracow. At the end of the feast, when the guests were already in good mood, Wolski talked about his troubles with finding a place for the Camaldolese. Then castellan Lubomirski, said, “What, I will not jump?!” and signed a deed of gift. In gratitude Wolski gave him silver vessels used during the feast, which cost a lot because it offset the value of donated land. To commemorate this event, the hill became the Silver Mountain.

Thanks to that event we were able to wait at the monastery wicket in this Silent Night. Shortly before midnight, the brother porter opened the door and we walked through the grassy courtyard to the baroque church. Just beyond the entrance we trampled sinful remains of Marshal Wolski buried just under the floor (this was his request). We sat down in the icy benches in an unheated church and Midnight Mass has begun. No organs, just singing of monks and the believers who came. An unforgettable experience. Sermon was simple, sincere, without gestures, suspending voice and finger-pointing. You can see that monks are the people of prayer and contemplation. They were not prepared to receive daily contact with the believers in the church. Most important, however, was what was evident – there was faith, there was hope and there was love. And there were beautiful Polish carols.

What hast thou, the heaven better?
God abandoned its happiness,
Here to share the trial and sorrow,
Of His poor, beloved people.
Suffered much and suffered dearly,
For we all who were guilty sinners,
And the Word became flesh
And dwelt among us.

/Franciszek Karpinski, Song of the Nativity of the Lord/

When we left the church after the mass, the stars twinkled above us and below the lights of over the millennial city. Residents were calmly sleeping, eating or … returning from Shepherdess.

Cracovians, do you know thanks to whom your city is safe and intact for so many centuries? Camaldolese monks are your lightning rod.

/John Paul II during his visit to the Camaldolese in 2002/

The Valley Of The Dry Water

Gentlemen, respect the memories

Participating in sports (although sporadically yet spectacularly during my childhood in Poland) has always been important to me. However, it was upon my arrival in Switzerland that I started to run regularly, like… a Swiss watch.

Lausanne’s sporting infrastructure in particular is naturally designed to encourage more physical activity. With lakeside promenades, health paths in the city and wilder but still well-maintained trails in the surrounding mountains and forests, how could anyone resist the urge to work out?

Creux du Van

Creux du Van

Since the International Olympic Committee and Museum as well as other sporting federations are headquartered in Lausanne, people run, swim, ride a bike and rollerblade, both in the organized sport competitions, as well as every day.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
/Bruce Lee/

I started to enjoy all these favors and facilities. Motion, running especially has become a steppingstone for me from “shrunken” working mode over the keyboard. Nights and days spent in the office caused that the body in its natural wisdom sought a counterweight and opportunity to straighten up.

The pleasure of running is cleansing, refreshing, uplifting and motivating. It is wonderful to start the day with running. You wake before dawn, feel the morning chill, meet a hedgehog or two returning to his burrow, hear birds singing, wake up witnessing the morning auroras arise

When the morning auroras arise,
Thee earth, Thee sea.
Thee sing every element,
Be praised, great God!
 
[...] I can barely wipe the eyes,
Soon to my Lord I cry,
To my God in heaven,
I’m looking for him around me.

/Franciszek Karpinski, Song of the Morning/

Then you come back home, shower, eat a breakfast rich in carbohydrates and rush off to work. And there are deadlines, not mine millions to count, the atmosphere of stress at the level of surgical operation on infant’s open heart, a virtual budget and the same deviations, “proactive reactions”, coming out in front of a team, jumping on the job and building a career path. The brain is so charged with endorphin after a morning run, that all these problems are not terrible, what’s more, they are ridiculous. Yes, my dears – sport is health and a sound mind in a healthy body.

Wait a minute, I should have not to write about work and just look into the bright future. But I see that seventeen years of life cannot be just erased. That’s the way it was, sometimes better, sometimes worse and sometimes horribly, but it was a part of my life. Very big part. As the song says:

We pursue for the happiness, we reach for the stars,
Rapidly we want to change the world,
But it is most important what lives inside us,
Gentlemen, let’s respect the memories.

/Skaldowie, Respect memories/

Now, in retrospect, I see that it was a life in a golden cage.

Mirrors on the ceiling

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said, ‘we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’.
/Eagles, Hotel California/

Fortunately, I already left this cage or rather was kindly removed for the common good because I would never made this decision myself.

Who of you raise a complaint, for me his complaint
Will be like a dog’s barking, who so deploy itself
To patiently and long worn collar,
That finally ready to bite the hand that jerks it.

/Adam Mickiewicz, My Muscovites friends/

In addition to the pleasure of running, which has always been and is the most important, I managed to complete some official running events:

• three times the half-marathon of Lausanne

• Morat-Fribourg run

• Grand Prix of Bern

• 10 km and 20 km of Lausanne

• two times the inter-company course BOBST

• marathon Nice-Cannes

• two times Sierre-Zinal mountain run

Sierre-Zinal

Sierre-Zinal

and my race calendar for 2014 has been already set.

If you don’t practice you don’t deserve to win.

/Andre Agassi/

Sierre-Zinal

Why on the run?

I ran today… for enjoyment, health and strengthening of willpower. Running, like many other aspects of life, needs consistency. Receiving natural vitamin D from the sunlight, must also take place regularly. Samurais used to say that “consequence is more important than the sword”.

This time I ran in the area of Cheseaux-sur-Lausanne and Crissier. The path was so interesting that it’s technical description I placed in a separate article “Through the gorge of La Mèbre“.

As it often happens during the run, the crunch of stones under my shoes, the wind and the sun on the face introduced me into perfect mood for reflection. In previous post I wrote why Mammut. Now the time has come to explain the meaning of the second part of blog’s name…

…why on the run?

If this had happened 30 years ago in Poland, one would assume that toilet paper was thrown to the shop and I run to take a favorable place in the queue or even though subscribe to the waiting list. On the run I pray that bang goes the communist authorities, central planning and the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, and to finally the capitalism has come.

No! Mishit.

I am on the run now, when coveted capitalism dominates around the world (with a few exceptions like “Patria o Muerte” of Fidel Castro). So maybe I’m on the run to adapt to the rushing world, which still accelerates in pursuit of profit and where the name “rat race” does not apply to these rodents from “The Plague” and ” Ratatouille” but to elegant ladies and gentlemen in suits:

My colleagues are racing with me
Because everyone is ready to the race
My colleagues are the best of the better
Thirty- floor in the office building with the glass doors.

/Kazik, Youngsters/

No! Mishit again.

Simply, “one day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run” – I hope you recognize the movie I am referring to.

I was running mostly in Cracow, where the concentration of particulate matter in the air exceeds safety standards. I really liked traffic free road through the rail loading station in Bieżanow. It was built by the Germans during the Second World War. Via this route I was running towards the Monument on Mount Kaim, which commemorates the refutation by the Austro-Hungarian army, the Russian army offensive, wanting to get to Cracow during the First World War.

Monument on Mount Kaim

Monument on Mount Kaim

Sometimes I was running outside the city, mainly to Wolski Forest which dominates over contaminated Cracow hutch. I even managed to accomplished the First Run Through Będkowska Valley and run-up or rather walk-up to the Three Crowns peak in Pieniny.

Three Crowns

View of the Tatras from the top of the Three Crowns

The real (re) start, however, had a place “over the water large and clean”…

Over the water large and clean
Standing rows of rocks
And the transparent water
Reflected their black faces.

Over the water large and clean
Black clouds sailed,
And the transparent water
Reflected their miserable shapes;

Over the water large and clean
Flashed and thunder roared along,
And the transparent water
Reflected the light, the voice disappeared.

And the water as it used to be clean,
Is large and clear.

I see this water around
And all faithfully reflect,
And proud rocks forehead,
And the lightnings – I skip.

Rocks have to stand and threaten,
The clouds rain carry,
Lightnings blare and die,
Me swim, swim and swim.

/Adam Mickiewicz, Over the water large and clean/

Over the water large and clean

Over the water large and clean

La Cascade de la Mèbre

Through the gorge of La Mèbre

The trail, which I will describe as the first one in my blog is not so easy. It includes some muddy, steep and slippery places but most of it is simply a pure pleasure. I will point out in the description the areas that need special attention, but everyone who is going to run this path, does it at his own risk. I share this route with the readers of the blog Mammut On The Run since it is picturesque, varied and most importantly, little frequented. It passes through the northwest of Lausanne between Cheseaux-sur-Lausanne and Crissier where the river La Mèbre cuts a fabulous gorge in the sandstone rocks. With the suburban train LEB, the route is easily accessible from the center of Lausanne, from the initial station Lausanne-Flon. Stop where you need to get off is Bel-Air. Train timetable is available on http://www.leb.ch/.

Drivers can use the car park for guests at the Fondation de Vernand, Chemin de Praz-Lau 5, Cheseaux-sur Lausanne. Just remember not to occupy the parking spaces reserved for the foundation. It is a charitable organization, created in 1972. It looks after about 600 children and adults with intellectual disabilities and personality disorders.

Run to the end of the street Chemin de Praz-Lau in west direction, bypass the trash and utility room and on the gravel path next to the forest turn left. The trail leads to the south. After about 1 kilometer run through the clearing, where on the right hand side there is the forest tree nursery. Our road turns a slight curve to the right, back into the woods. When reach the yellow signposts Vaud Rando, turn right towards Crissier. The trail is marked with yellow diamonds.

There is a clearing with picnic and fire places a few meters to the right of our route. In the autumn and winter clearing is visible from our path while in spring and summer is covered with lush vegetation. In the clearing stands a monstrous stone – La Pierre à Cambot . It is a granite rock of alpine origin which was brought here by the Rhone glacier from the vicinity of Martigny about 25,000 years ago.

Run to an asphalt road Chemin de la Pierre à Cambot, turn right and after a few meters turn left into the path of the forest to the west. On the right, another forest tree nursery. Gravel road turns slowly to the right, due north. When get to the place where there are yellow arrows on the trees on the both sides of the road, turn left to a forest path and run down by the wooden steps. Just before the wooden bridge over the stream, turn right down according to the signs. By the wooden steps and footbridges Le trou de la Sorcière run down. Caution, slippery! I know what I write because it happened that I landed here on my butt. Carefully reach the bottom of the valley and by wooden bridge cross the river La Mèbre, which will be our companion until the end of the expedition. We leave for a moment the yellow trail. Here we ran about 2 kilometers from the start of the adventure.

Behind the bridge slightly run up and turn left into poorly visible forest path along the river taking care to muddy and slippery places. This section requires a bit of intuition, because the path I trampled for you is not perfect yet. Run further having the river all the time on the left side untill the rock wall, which bypass from the left side, all the time with a stream below on the left. After a slightly muddy ascent reach the asphalt road Chemin du Devens and turn left, running down until about 3 kilometers from the start. On the traffic ban sign, there are again the yellow markings of the tourist path. There are also brown indicators Sentier de la Cascade which will help to find the way until the finish line. So, turn left, down to the forest, following the signs. The road is strewn with sawdust. Run to the fault rock and by the wooden steps reach the riverbed and the waterfall La Cascade de la Mèbre.

Stairway to the waterfall

Stairway to the waterfall

You need to hurry up with a visit to this place, because the water of the river La Mèbre carries a large amount of sand that abrades the layers of rocks forming a waterfall. When the water will reach the softer layers of sandstone, erosion will accelerate and from the waterfall only a flat bed of the stream will remain.

La Cascade de la Mèbre

La Cascade de la Mèbre

Continue farther due south along the river and run under the highway suspended on concrete pillars above the ravine. On the left side there are concrete water tanks. Interestingly, the river disappears underground for some time. The path leads still to the south. After a slight ascent cross the gate of rock and reach the next natural curiosity – La Pierre à Quatre Sous. Looking at the surrounding rocks and roots entwined around them, creating fancy supports, it is easy to understand the speed at which spalling of the sandstone occurs. From between surrounding boulders that us run out following the sharply path sprinkled with sawdust, and on top of the ascent turn left. The path rises and falls and about 4 kilometers from the start leads us by the next wooden bridge to the other side of the river La Mèbre.

To the other side

To the other side

Just after the bridge, turn right and continue our trip along the river, which is this time on our right side. All the time we head down stream. At the next signpost continue to run by the Sentier de la Cascade, leaving a yellow trail twisting to the right. We arrive to the residuals of channels for fish farming and to the area of the old water mill (Le Moulin – Dessus). The first mention of this place appears in documents as early as 1337.

Le Moulin - Dessus

Le Moulin – Dessus

The route leads further down the river and at about 5 kilometer from the start, runs along the fence of the used cars’ parking, and then to a busy street Route de Prilly.

Route de Prilly

Route de Prilly

It is needed still to run to the right, toward Crissier to the bus number 18 (Bre) and back to the Flon where the expedition started for people traveling by public transport. A motorized and/or more motivated must follow their footsteps and reach the beginning of the route and take their vehicles or again use the green line LEB.

Below the trail recorded by GPS:

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Why Mammut?

I ran today. For relaxation, for health, and to “keep all blog things, and ponder them in my heart”. Cold weather had to temper body and spirit, according to the principle anima sana in corpore sano, and beautifully shining sun delivered the appropriate dose of vitamin D. I ran down to Ouchy and continued the route by the boulevards along the lake to the east. When I ran by Quai d’Ouchy at the Olympic Museum I began to contemplate…

…why Mammut in the blog’s name?

Because I was impressed by carton movie “Ice Age” from 2002.

Reaching deeper into the recesses of the memory, I remembered that about 20 years ago I saw Mammut live “for the very first time”, like Roxette sings. It was the orange backpack with the lovely Mammut logo. It was totally different in comparison with the backpacks existing on Polish market at that time. This backpack had ventilation system which helps to prevent annoying perspiration. It was very expensive for Polish student but I couldn’t resist. I spent my whole monthly scholarship and I bought it. The backpack was with me on hiking and biking roads and on the running paths. I have it still today. Used… dirty… scuffed… but ready to be “on the road again”.

Eons have passed since my first and only purchase of the Mammut merchandise. One day I have landed in Switzerland, the home country of Mammut and realized that I have landed in paradise. Shops full of amazing goods with the Mammut logo on them. Those products are still the synonym of the highest quality for me. I bought already a lot of them like jackets, trousers, T-shirts, backpacks and hats… and it happened – friends started calling me The Mammut Man.

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The Long Kiss Goodnight

After a humorous beginning, especially for people familiar with Polish cinematography, I will write more seriously where did I come from, who am I, where am I going and why I created blog Mammut On The Run.

My job contract was terminated after almost seventeen years of cooperation.

I fully understand, accept and support this decision. I am proud, really proud that I could contribute to the further smooth development of the organization. My current situation reminded me a fragment of the poem “My Testament” by Juliusz Slowacki:

But I beg you – let the living not lose hope ever
And bear the torch of learning before their compatriots;
And when called, go to their death one after another,
Like the stones tossed by die Lord onto the ramparts!…

Translated by Michael Mikos, author of:
“Juliusz Slowacki. This Fateful Power. Sesquicentennial Anthology 1809-1949″

Therefore full of proud I see myself as this stone tossed onto the ramparts of cost cutting and competitiveness increase. From company perspective, adapting to the changes caused by my dismissal will be challenging. It will take some time for new corporate structures to take shape and for everyone to adjust to them. However, I strongly  believe that the steps taken will put the organization in the best position to be competitive and successful in the future.

I don’t understand you – said Alice. – It’s dreadfully confusing!
That’s the effect of living backwards – the Queen said kindly. – It always makes one a little giddy at first.
/Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by LewisCarroll/

Enough writing about this piece of… the past. Cut off from it with a thick line. Throw away the veil of silence. Put among the fairy tales.

Something ends, something begins …

DSC_0479

We know each other a little…

We know each other a little… So maybe I’d say a few words about myself – first. I was born… I was born in Cracow, in 1973, in September. I mean, in mid-September… in point of fact… exactly on 15th of September. Well… thats enough about myself – at the beginning…

Words of Polish actor Stanislaw Tym, playing the role of Cultural and Educational Instructor in the cult movie “The Cruise”; slightly modified to my reality.