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.



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.



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:

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



and my race calendar for 2014 has been already set.

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

/Andre Agassi/


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

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:

2013-12-02 12.04.00

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.