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Archive for the ‘Lenk’ Category

Lenk is a small village that forms a string of mountain villages in the Simmental valley of the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. It takes a little effort to get there: after a flight into Zurich, we took a train ride involving 3 changes, with a final change to a mountain cog-rail train from Montreux on the Lake of Geneva via Zweisimmen which links the Gstaad-Saanenland region. Lenk is at the end of the railway line deep in the mountains. We thought it would be more fun cycling to our A-frame ‘Heidi’ wooden chalet than taking the bus that patiently snakes its way up the mountain. The 40 minute uphill cycle with all our luggage quickly jolted us out of our jet-lag!
Lenk in the Simmental valley

Not wanting to repeat this invigorating uphill cycle ride on a daily basis (the shops and town sits in the valley below), we went shopping once at the beginning of our week’s stay. It took some careful menu planning – but what fun to play around with our stash of colourful vegetables and fruit, various nuts, 1 kg of wholemeal spelt flour, nut butter, dried pulses and soy milk. Upon exploring the town a few days later, I discovered to my surprise that I could buy most of my ingredients for vegan cooking in a “Molkerei” (dairy)! There, I bought far better olive oil than at the local Spar supermarket, I drooled over the range of nut butters, various dried mushrooms, bottled eggplant, choice of spices and organic seeds and nuts.

For the full day’s hike we planned one day, Hiking in the mountainsI decided to bake us something that will sustain us – a sweet loaf containing slow burning carbohydrates. I basically used all our left-over muesli ingredients for what I called: Spicy Simmental fig loaf.

Because of Lenk’s isolation it developed a peculiar form of German which, surprisingly for me as a speaker of the German language, was incomprehensible. Although everyone could understand me at the shops, cafes and bakeries, they had to make a switch from their mountain-German to high German for us to have a conversation. Not only is the language of this valley unique, but also their building styles, food, pastries and cow in Simmental valleybread, to even the type of cows that are suitable for the terrain. A century ago there was probably also differences in the way they dressed, their music, song and dance. It is not uncommon for subtle differences in the mountain communities from one village to the next. Exploring various cultures (even in one valley community) and discovering past traditions fire me on to keep on travelling and learning!
wooden chalet

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