Sixteen women from the American International Women’s Club of Geneva hiked last Friday in the Geneva countryside. I have been hiking with the group for several years now and do it mostly for the exercise. I find that the weekly two-hour walk gives me energy and, along the way, I have made some very good friends. I wondered why the other women in the group continued to hike every Friday. As we walked and later rode the bus home, we discussed the different reasons for the urge to get up early every Friday, good or bad weather, summer and winter, to join the hikes. Here is what they said:
- It is a regular part of my week, something I look forward to
- I consider the Friday walks a special treat after all the obligations of the week
- When I was new to Geneva it was an ideal way to make friends and to get to know the region
- The hikers are a nice group of women, very welcoming
- We learn about beautiful places in the canton and nearby which are not mentioned in the guidebooks
- I love the great views of the countryside during our walks
- In each season the scenery changes – in the spring I love the wild flowers and in the summer the roses
- It is a good way to learn of hiking trails where I can then take my family
I was amazed. There seems to be a real love affair going on here! This activity of the club has turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and beloved of the members. The group has a very competent leader who has recruited helpers to do occasional walks in their neighbourhood. I am one of those sometime leaders. I have mastered four or five hikes where I can confidently lead the group, selected from the many dozen that the group leader knows and scouts out each week. There are some annual walks at special times of the year that everyone looks forward to, such as, the tulip festival in Morges in the spring and the terraced vineyards of Lavaux in the summer.
On the average there are 15-20 hikers each Friday. The meeting point is usually in mid-town, and we always travel by public transport: bus, tram or train. The hikes are two to two-and-a-half hours long and are easy walks on level ground, in the forests and the fields and villages of the region. After the hike, some stop for coffee to continue conversations they have begun during the walk. Others hurry home to provide lunch for their children returning from school.
Among the hikers are photographer enthusiasts who pull out their iPhones whenever a photo op appears. Please send us your photos from recent hikes for the AIWC website and blog, and, of course, do join the hiking group on a Friday whenever you need a boost of energy.