Arboretum du Vallon de l’Aubonne – Gentle Walk With Scenic Surprises in Morges

This vast park houses a beautiful collection of trees and plants from all over the world, including a unique and beautiful Japanese garden. There’s also a river that rushes by as you walk, a large pond with bridges to cross it and many landscapes from fields, to forests and flowerbeds. 

When you arrive at the Arboretum there’s a free parking area off the road to the right where you can leave the car. From here, you then follow the path and will quickly come across a route map of the Arboretum where you can choose from four different loops around the nature reserve, depending on how far you want to walk and what you wish to see. For our first visit we chose the Chemin Du Lac route which is around 3KM so a very short walk, however it was our second outing of the day and we also had a three month old with us so we wanted to avoid being out with her in the baby carrier for too long stretches at a time. The great thing about the Arboretum is that you can combine many of the different trails they propose for a longer walk where you get too see more of the variety of trees and plants in the nature park.

Along the walk there’s various signs highlighting the different tree species you see, as well as great sculptures – look out for the giant bugs as you start the path! 

It doesn’t take long at all to complete the Chemin Du Lac route, around an hour, and at the start and end you have public toilets, as well as a shop, restaurant and the Wood Museum. We would have loved to enter the museum but it was closed during our walk. It’s definitely somewhere we will be returning to though in the near future so I will make sure to update this post with what we find and our thoughts after we head back.

There’s plenty of picnic places on your route if you want to extend your stay and enjoy some lunch or dinner while you are relaxing in the tranquil forest or by the pond. 

We found that a lot of the route was shaded, which is good with small children, but obviously on a hot day there’s parts where the sun can’t be avoided and it definitely can get warm on the exposed longer paths. 

Overall, a visit to the Arboretum makes for a peaceful half a day excursion, and has plenty to entertain all the family as they explore this well-kept nature reserve. 

Top Tips for the Walk:

  1. Check online to ensure it is open as it depends on the season
  2. It’s probably not a great place to visit in bad weather, and even in good weather make sure you dress accordingly
  3. Bug protection is a good idea, put on some deet or a gentle repellent before arriving
  4. Pack a picnic and enjoy a rest mid walk on one of the many picnic spots
  5. Combine two of the routes to see a good variety of landscapes. But if you have little ones who can’t walk too far or limited time, the orange route is a great way to visit a lot on offer in a short space of time.
  6. Combine this with a visit to the nearby Signal De Bougy if you have young kids – there’s a free play park, mini petting zoo and facilities here to entertain everyone. We even loved it as adults with a three-month old!

Download the friendly PDF guide for more details on this hike

Gorges De La Jogne Hike – Scenic River Trail in Gruyeres

This tranquil and scenic hike follows the river over bridges and along carefully carved out footpaths until you reach the impressive Montsalvans Dam and Lac de Montsalvans. 

It’s easy to follow the walk, and takes around an hour and a half to reach the final stop at the Montsalvans Dam where you can pause for a picnic or continue on to Charmey for lunch at one of the towns’ restaurants. We always choose the picnic option as it’s so nice to sit by the blue of Montsalvans lake and refresh before walking the same path back to the car (so it’s 7km in total, taking around 3 hours without a stop).

It is family friendly, and great for kids to explore, however it isn’t stroller suitable and if you have a baby who has yet to find or only recently discovered their feet you will want to take them in a suitable carrier instead. 

If you put the destination ‘Gorges De La Jonge’ into your Sat Nav or phone maps, you will be taken to the start where you can park the car before beginning the walk. The turn off the main road to the entrance of the walk is just around a bend and can be easy to miss so try and take it slow as you approach. 

Begin the walk at the car park, and follow the path along the river until you hit a little cave, just after the waterfall, where you pass through on to a wooden bridge curving around the rock face. Then just keep following the trail until you get to the dam at the end. It’s very easy to find your way and there are places to stop and picnic places along the trail if you want a break or get a little hungry. 

We really love the walk as it’s always so serene and we rarely pass other people when doing it. We have also experienced it in all seasons, such as when we were met with some unseasonal May snow which made for a very different type of walk and views along the way. 

Be warned that they don’t open the gates to the start of the walk until April at the earliest, and it closes again for winter. I would recommend checking out their website online to see if they are open before heading there – https://www.la-gruyere.ch/en/Z10968/gorges-jogne 

Once we didn’t as it was mid-summer and our path was blocked by a fallen tree that had broken one of the bridges crossing the river, so now we always quickly check. 

Top Tips for the Walk:

  1. Check online to ensure it is open as it depends on the season and weather conditions
  2. Pack a picnic as there are not any restaurants or stalls where you can get refreshments along the way
  3. The same goes for toilets, you will need to go ‘au natural’ if you need to along the way
  4. It is kid friendly but not stroller friendly
  5. Wear good shoes as the path can be a little uneven at times
  6. Take a camera, it’s truly beautiful!

Getting back on track: Buying experiences, not things

Today I had one of them moments where you suddenly stop dead in your tracks and think, what the hell have I become and what on earth am I doing?

I will set the scene for you. I was wandering around a gorgeous home store near our house in York looking at all their beautiful grey and white kitchens with their brass handles and incredibly handy draw holders and gadgets and so on. I had the brochures in one hand, measurements in the other and after a month of debating was about to order my new shiny kitchen.

But I wasn’t excited. In fact, I was seriously nervous.

I kept worrying that the kitchen wouldn’t be right. I kept thinking that it was a lot of money we were about to spend on cupboards and draws (we have already bitten the bullet for our new appliances).

I turned to Kyran and told him this and he said ‘thank f*ck’ (sorry for the language there readers). He was feeling exactly the same and that we could be using our bonuses for something we would remember for a long longer, and probably wouldn’t want to change in 5-10 years.

It was at this moment that I had my big, what on earth am I doing wake up call, and we drove straight home, recycled the kitchen brochures, and got on the phone with our favourite travel agents to book the trip of a lifetime!

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This isn’t a blog post which says one thing is better than another. If a new kitchen is your dream, then it is the thing you should be investing in. But personally, I know from years’ of trial and error that spending my money on trips, adventures and experiences makes me way happier than buying anything material.

This is a blog post about doing what is right for you.

In my case, I booked an adventure of a lifetime to make so many more memories and have a ton of laughs with my bearded companion because I know that makes me happy. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that two years ago I began to declutter my life of ‘things’ and ‘stuff’ and I have since felt better for it.

Buying a house, reading new shiny house magazines and spending hours in Ikea almost threw me off my wagon. But this trip booking just pulled me right back.

What I have taken away from this experience is that if I am going to spend my hard earned money, I am going to spend it in a way that brings me the most excitement, lasting joy and happiness. And hey, if researchers from San Francisco University found that people who spend their money on experiences over things have an increased happiness, who am I to ignore them?!

So, here is to being back on track. Let the adventures, memories and experiences begin (again!).