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.
attitudes towards workers' holidays are so humane -- five or six weeks of paid
leave for almost everybody, and sometimes they just throw in the Christmas to
New Year's week. Somebody's thinking of the workers
and not just the Bosses.
nine days of wandering about in the forest with not a care in the world can make
going back to work . . . painful nonetheless.
not when you go back to work on the 3rd of January, and the 5th is SATURDAY! A
wonderful, snowy Saturday, at that.
is the Hotel at the Col du Marchairuz (1449m), 5 January 2008, as we're just setting
out southwestward in the forest.
has always been a special favorite, and we were pleased to contribute, as an Ami
du Marchairuz, to the renovation that was completed a few years ago. This
road wasn't even kept open in the winter until the early 1990s, but it's now a popular centre of winter family fun.
popular, in fact, that
on a fine day in winter there is virtually no parking space, casual strollers
jostle shoulder-to-shoulder within a few hundred metres of the carpark, and Geneva
drivers with summer tires block the road gliding sideways.
your intent is to get away from it all in the silence of the snowy woods, you
really don't come here now unless the weather is really not so good. Like
we, the Royal We (Pluralis Majestatis), are
clumping off into the forest, exploring about a bit, trying to get lost and refind
ourselves over and over again, in the direction of the Crêt de la Neuve
to the southwest, up and down the little knolls and dells, in the lovely wet new
time for a commemorative photo before the dark comes along
then back to the hotel at the Col du Marchairuz at day's end.
hardy diners undaunted by the road conditions, and the place looks warm and lively.
hotel serves as the "Maison du Parc" for the protected area throughout
these forests, and the management organizes educational lectures and walks in
the area on a wide variety of environmental subjects.
through here on a week-long run the length of the Jura mountains in the mid-1980s,
I (Singularis Majestatis) had the privilege
of staying in one of the little rooms upstairs, basic but cheap -- well before
the renovations. Sitting in the restaurant in the evening, reading my Dorothy
Sayers novel for the third time on the trip, I was entreated by the Town Council
of Les Brassus, who wished to have their council meeting there, to remove myself
to the overflow room adjacent, which was then rather church-hall functional. They instructed the waitress
to keep my beer glass filled throughout the long evening, and she did a very good
job of it. I have fond memories of the hotel at Marchairuz,
but of that occasion almost no memory at all.
Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey novel was Murder Must Advertise, which I first
read in 1974 whilst living in a B+B (£3.30 the night) on Shaftesbury Avenue, and it turned out that the fictional advertising building on Shaftesbury Avenue in
the novel would have been precisely where my B+B really was.)
are some of the wood sculptures of the incredible Paul Monney of St-George, two
of more than 60 works scattered throughout the region (some of them nearly inaccessible
up in the forests).
of Paul Monney's works can be seen at the bottom of this page.
excellent, quiet early evening, and time to go home and take a shower . . .
. . if Dieter's door locks haven't frozen up.
day, Sunday, 6 January 2008, back to the same region to answer some unresolved
questions about which trails go where.
good snow this weekend, but not enough to get us through the winter.
little limestone cliffs and hollows. Each with its own story to tell.
back again to the hotel at Marchairuz. And back to work tomorrow morning.
we've been viewing two of Paul Monney's wood carvings above, this is an opportune
place to work in some photos of another one, "Le Chamois", permanently
on the roadside (it's still connected to the root system) on the tiny road called
the Chemin de la Glacière that leads up from St. George to the cave system
called "La Glacière".
of Paul Monney's works can be seen here.