Dwight Peck's personal website

A visit to see Pierre and L.-C. in the Pays d'en Haut

Pierre and Laurie-Carroll, great friends from a quarter-century ago at the American College of Switzerland, have got themselves a real fixer-upper in L'Etivaz, and have truly fixed it up. And it's long past due time for a visit. 24 September 2006.

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.

A greyish 24 September 2006, so far, but perhaps it will brighten. We've turned off the motorway at Bulle and we're speeding past the Castle of Gruyères on our way into the Pays d'en Haut region (which probably means something like "the Highlands" -- it covers all the Swiss region around Montbovon, Château d'Oex, Saanen, Gstaad, and the Col des Mosses) to find out how Pierre and L.-C. are doing after all these years.

And it looks like they're doing just fine. That's the fixer-upper on the right. L'Etivaz is hidden at the foot of a long hill down from the Col des Mosses, on the way out an exceptionally vicious gorge to the village of Château d'Oex. It's barely minutes from Leysin, and once upon a time, in our Leysin years, we hiked, skied, and ran all through these hills roundabout.

The fixer-upper well on its way to being fixed up. Pierre and Laurie-Carroll (and all the daughters) have become astonishingly skilled at all the woodworking, kitchen-tiling, furniture-making, and general fixing-up.

After a fondue the size of the state of Delaware, it's time to turn in.

The view northward, the next morning, out towards Château d'Oex. The shadow of the house is about 600 metres long.

The cliffs above the house. That's looking up in the direction of the Rochers du Midi and the Col de Base, much of it a nature reserve on the far side, where once we used to go camping to hear the chamois and ibex pattering around on the rocks all night like rain on tin rooftops.

Pierre with an early-morning beer stein full of coffee, as we get ready to head off for home and let him get on with his furniture-making. Pierre and L.-C. are soon off, too -- to northern Pakistan (him) and Mali (her) -- but there's a hope we'll see them again at Christmas.

An incredible house. Individual rooms for ALL the daughters, guest rooms, and the barn thing at the top of it is presently mainly a furniture-making workshop.

Pierre and L.-C.'s fixer-upper in L'Etivaz.


As long as we're over this way with a little free time on our hands, let's stop in for a look at Bulle on the way home.

Bulle, as long as I've lived in the region, has been a big traffic jam with some charm if you can take your eyes off the oncoming cars long enough to glance out to the side. The major motorway from Vevey to Fribourg and Bern and points north passes nearby, and everybody turning in towards Gruyères, Zweisimmen, Interlaken, Lucerne, Austria, and the Danube Delta has had to file ill-naturedly bumper-to-bumper through the suburbs of Bulle. Oblivious even to the charms of La Tour-de-Trême, the lovely bumper-to-bumper suburb.

But massive construction works out by the motorway seem to indicate, in September 2006, that the Swiss are on top of this one, and a solution is probably in sight. Here's downtown Bulle.

In front of the castle, looking towards the museum

The second street, in front of the castle; the high street is just over to the left.

Again, out the front of the castle, with a carnival or circus set up in the street.

And the view from inside the castle courtyard.

Time to depart from Bulle now and go back to the Jura. In case we miss anything going on over there.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 8 December 2006.

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