possible, over the years, we always try to spend Christmas with the Doctors Durham,
not just because of the turkey, but also because of the stuffing.
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.
ready for Christmas
out from work early, with an over-priced ham sandwich in the car along the autoroute,
we've arrived in bustling downtown Ollon, near Aigle, in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland,
for an exciting and familial sort of Christmas. We're bringing along a funny hat
as a present for one of the Doctors Durham, a few gift books, chocolates, and
a few bottles of tasty wine.
no turkeys. Here, some
Durhams, on Christmas Eve, are waiting for the Christmas turkeys to go half-price.
And at 3 p.m., they did, and we bought lots of them, and we had them re-label
our chickens as well.
kids with a lively sense of family irony
majestic Tour d'Aï peeping up over McDonalds and exhaust plumes.
Coop's Brico+Loisirs (i.e., DYI + Leisure) and the Dent de Morcles, the top parts
of which once made me wish I were shopping at the Coop instead.
Grand Muveran, from the Tamoil service station at Collombey, 24 December 2007.
morning (only just, 11:36 a.m.). The Opening of the Presents.
Swiss UEFA football mascotte hat (not appropriate for most social occasions);
Dwight's hilarious Swiss 'Small But Beautiful' T-shirt, size XXXL.
gets a Hong Kong martial arts Vampires combat series of movies on DVD. (Mercedes
is a martial arts enthusiast, but not a vampire fan, so far as we know.)
off for a Christmas day hike to Solalex
Mercedes and Andrea mix up the turkeys and stuffing, etc.)
Villars, Switzerland, the view of the Grand Muveran
Villars (we're driving into the trailhead area), the view of the Dent de Morcles.
Villars, too, the view of the Dents du Midi
now our hike commences
-- from near Barboleusaz we're trudging along prepared paths towards Solalex.
nearby ice as we lope along the trail
machined trail yields to a well-trod human snowshoe track up alongside the creek.
Durham, mostly in red (Doctor Durham can do blue,
Durham discussing politics on the little trail up to Solalex
Miroir (Mirror) on the side of the Argentine, seen from near Solalex.
a bustling trailhead in summer -- probably one of the most visited hiking and
picnicing spots in all of Switzerland, in fact, unbearable in summer -- pay-for-parking
all around here when the snow's gone. But from here up that valley leads to Anzeinde,
oh so lovely, and, to the right from there,
up to the glaciers and down to the Pont de Nant, and straight ahead, down into
Derborence and out to Sion. The walk up that gorge is memorialized by Ramuz in
Chapter 3 of his novel Derborence, and
quite apart from that, it's a bitch of a ski back down if you're on crosscountry
of the two restaurants at Solalex . . .
. . the one that's open in winter and has got the Lunch-mobile up from Barboleusaz.
other restaurant. Marta and I returned from a hike here, in the early 1990s, and
downed a few beers thinking of a nice fondue, and when no menu came, we asked
for one, and the astonished waiter said "Oh, no, there's no menu. The chef
will be along in a little while to advise you." So we took our custom
and the snowshoe that just won't obey!
view up from Solalex towards Anzeinde. Not for us today, we've got dinner (stuffing
made by Mercedes) waiting.
Lunch-mobile preparing to depart
preparing to depart
self-photo before we descend
self-photo before we descend. We took more than 150 of these, and these two are
last look at Solalex before dashing down for Mercedes' stuffing
back at the trailhead. Contemplating Christmas stuffing.
ready for Christmas dinner
(homemade stuffing in the pan) is off to the University of Aberdeen as their newest
professor of linguistics there.
in the series of Durham/Peck Christmas photos, but without Marlowe this year.
the traditional "people under the Santa Claus rug" photo.
back next year.