Good to hear about the friend, it is always nice to get as light as possible. I honestly cannot tell you at this point about times, but I will plan to leave Switzerland as some point towards the beginning of the year, and make my way out there. I guess I haven't thought about it too much yet in terms of weather, maybe I need to. I am just planning on heading off and seeing how things go, but can definitely be in touch.
It is interesting to know about the ferry. Do you have more detailed contact info for the two routes, a name or e-mail, phone, web site? Any specific idea of costs and departures, what paperwork needs to be done? Good to hear about another traveller headed eastern bound