Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Summer 2003

Alison's late summer visit, with castles, caves, and an inch of snow



You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Alison Peck, a hard-working employee of the US Federal Government, having just returned from extremely difficult duties in Australia, including some time on the Great Barrier Reef, was immediately rushed into further service with scarcely a moment's pause for catching up on the sitcoms, and found herself in Sardinia for a while in September 2003, comparing notes with astrophysicists residing there. And then, in a whirlwind, off to Zermatt, Switzerland, for still another astrophysical conference, spent in good part (at least during the coffee breaks) hiking about near the Matterhorn with fellow astronomer Satoki.

And then, the two of them, down the rail line to visit the Elderly Dad on Lake Geneva for a while.

A rainy visit to the old favorite, the Château de Chillon, in late September 2003.

Alison departing the Chillon crypt with her digital camera as big as Delaware.

And now it's off to another tourist favorite, and rightfully so, the castle and village of Gruyères, on a grisly afternoon in September 2003.

A quick view of the Castle, before passing the H. R. Giger Museum and wandering on into the castle itself.

Satoki's photo of Alison and the Old Dad at Gruyéres, September 2003

Here are the same old friends (above) in the same spot a hearty quarter of a century earlier.

Alison and Satoki

The Château de Gruyère's neat little gardens are a magnet for digital cameristas.

Like Alison.

Flower. Etc. {Yawn}

The medieval town of Morat (Murten in German, located right on the "Rösti Curtain", the Swiss linguistic frontier), in September 2003.

The Tour of the Ramparts of Morat (Murten)

Not content merely with lingering over breakfast and reading all the newspapers that could be got in English, Alison dragged her Fond Papa out to the Grottes de Vallorbe, astonishing Carlsbad-type underground limestone horrors of considerable beauty.

Alison in the Caves of Vallorbe, near the spelunker's display. The guy on the left is, like many of his betters, not real. (The guy on the right, however, is real.)

This guy is not real at all and has never been. These are more caves, "fairy caves" according to the trail sign (pretty brutish fairies lingering in these dark old holes, I'd say) not far up a forest trail from the Grottes de Vallorbe.

Alison photographing whatever fairies may be lurking still. (Most left in the early part of the last century.)

Romainmôtier, the old abbey, where (since the 6th century) monks once trod in a profound depression, waiting in vain for anything to lighten the monastic mood.

Mont Pélé, a raw weather hike that looked like it wasn't going to make it before dark.

Mont Pélé

Mont Tendre, early October 2003, two Drs Peck under the holy pylon in a raw wind.

Alison Peck, October 2003

First snow of the year, October 2003, astrophysicists queue up to be the first to reach the hut at Mont de Bière.

The thriving metropolis of Lausanne, seen (with Alison's Sony telephoto) from somewhere up near Mont Tendre. Stretching out there in a luxurious manner with Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) on the right and the mountains of Leysin and Diablerets behind.

But let's go home. It's time for More Cheese.

The narrator cruises the International Herald Tribune whilst whipping up a quick fondue de fromage to celebrate Alison's September-October 2003 visit to the old country. Alison's sentimental visits to Switzerland require many many dinners of cheese (fondue, raclette, croûte, etc.) for old time's sake.

Visit's over, Alison's gone back to Mauna Kea, alas, to find still more Active Galactic Nuclei or whatever. As if we hadn't enough already.

But coming back to Europe again soon.

Summer 2002


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 12 November 2003, updated 2 March 2014.


Alison Beth Peck