Tag Archives: France

Tour de Ruan

After last year’s big vacation to Thailand, I picked something less extraordinary as summer vacation: A hiking trip in the Alps. More specifically, a friend of mine and I went on a five day long hiking trip in the border region of Switzerland and France, the so-called Tour de Ruan. Instead of doing several day trips like we did two years ago, this time we chose one big round-trip tour where we stayed in refuges over night.

We started at the Lac d’ Emosson at nearly 2.000 m. From there on we went to the highest point of the tour, the Cheval Blanc (2.830 m) right on the first day. The three refuges were located at about 2.000 m and in between them we either hat to walk through valleys or over passes. Luckily, it did not rain while we were in the mountains. It did snow a bit on the first day, though. In addition to several snow fields we crossed, we even walked through fresh snow on the way to the first pass on our last day. Apart from experiencing beautiful views to the surrounding mountains we also saw various animals, like alpine ibexes (Steinböcke), chamois (Gämsen) and marmots (Murmeltiere).

While we originally planned to do a four day trip, we spontaneously decided to stay one day longer at our third refuge, the Auberge de Salanfe. There we could just enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and at the same time let our joints recover from the previous strenuous days. With renewed strength we then could complete the fourth stage of our tour which brought us back to our starting point and the end of this wonderful hiking trip.

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A Weekend in Nice

After my recent trip to St. Petersburg I finally was ready for Spring time. It was time for the plants to turn green and for flowers to bloom. While I could get all of that in Mannheim as well, I had another chance to go on a weekend trip. And so we went to Nice.

We got there quite late in the evening, so we just went to bed in our rented apartment to go for a walk the next day. I eagerly loaded color film into my camera to capture all the colors of Spring. And then… it rained. When we came to the famous promenade at the beach, the Promenade des Anglais, it looked quite empty and it actually was quite cold. So we just sought shelter in the next cafe and waited until it stopped raining. We continued out walk through Nice after the rain, but only on the next day we got to see the sunny side of the town.


On the next day I insisted that we get up early so that we could take a stroll over the various markets in Nice. As our apartment was just a few minutes away from the old port in Nice, we could do most of our sightseeing by foot. We visited the fish market (which was not as big as I thought) and continued our walk over the farmers’ and flower market.

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During the day, we visited more parts of the city. We went to Place Masséna, one of the central squares in Nice and climbed up the Castle Hill to get a beautiful view over the city. Our walk ended in a bar at the old port not far away from our apartment.

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On our last day we took another walk through the old parts of the city with its narrow alleys and colorful buildings before we finished our trip at the place where the sightseeing part started, at the promenade. This time, however, the weather was fantastic, so we could spend our last hours in Nice at the beach.

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Rose at the Jardins du Musée Masséna in Nice, France.