Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sur Cou (1809 m)

Thanks to a recent temperature drop we decided it would be lovely to go hiking in the mountains. The trip was longly planned and awaited - our destination: Sur Cou mountain. It was our first winter hike and it surpassed all my epectations. I mean, I am very enthusiastic about mountains so it surprised me that their winter face is even more enchanting.
So, a starting couple photo and off we go...

First passage was quite easy - the path from a firm snow moved through the forest. From time to time we were passed by skiers dashing through the snow. Every now and then treetops thinned a bit showing a spectacular view of surrounding mountains. However, it took some time to see our destination - Sur Cou mountain. There are two ways to get there, we chose a steeper but shorter one. As soon as we turned left on the junction, the path became steeper and way more demanding. After a while the forest finished, leaving us on the bare slope. That was the most difficult part of the hike, since there was really a lot of light snow, not tracked by hikers or skiers. We needed to watch our feet in order not to fall down. Just one wrong step and the racquette would tilt to the side taking the rest of the body along straight into a 1-meter-snow.

The conditions changed when we approached the top. It got way windier and as a result, the snow cap was thinner, making the ascent a bit easier. Well, 'easier' is a bit subjunctive. As I was approaching the top, I was imagining I was climbing Mount Everest :) Call me crazy, but I have never gone through anything similar and although I know it wasn't particularly difficult, for me it felt like a real duel: man vs mountain. Radek was a bit faster than me so he claimed Sur Cou first and managed to take a photo of me struggling to get to top. Looks alpine, doesn't it?

And now... a cherry on a pie... The views... Although the photos never give justice to a real panorama, I won't describe much. It would be difficult for me to depict with words the feeling of exhilaration I had as soon as I found myself over the clouds... I love mountains and I learned that I prefer mountains in winter than in summer.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Visit at ALICE, CERN

This week we're having guests - our mums came over to meet their grandson for the first time. We used this occasion to show them around CERN. I mean, it's like the last chance to go underground to see the experiments because soon they will be close for visitors, getting ready for operation.

The visit started with SM18 site where magnets and other devices are assembled and tested in order to be ready for operation. Radek explained all the science behind, so mums had their private guide. Then they moved to point ALICE - a heavy-ion detector exploiting 'the unique physics potential of nucleus-nucleus interactions at LHC energies'. In principle ALICE was built to find new phase of matter: the quark-gluon plasma.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Short trip to Nyon

We had a short discussion with Radek concerning the destination of today's trip and Radek won choosing Nyon. This lovely little place is situated on the north side of Lac Leman, just 20 minutes' drive from our place. It has all constituents of a Lake Geneva village: nice boulevard close to the water, marina, castle and narrow streets with colourful facades. We had a nice walk around the village, covering all formerly mentioned elements in just 90 minutes.


There was a really nice panorama view from a castle terrace. It's a pity that the sky wasn't clear enough to see the other side of the shore well. Anyway, at the end of our trip the sun went below the clouds and we had a really nice yellow-orangish setting around. I mean, winter and cold is fun, but the sun is even funnier :)