Onward and Upward
Gstaad here we come
Copyright Vladimir `Kagan June 2, 2014
Having celebrated my sister’s birthday in Forte dei Marmi, fulfilled my family obligations in Geneva, attended the wedding in Torino, there was nothing left to do but head for the hills: The Bernese Oberland, in the Swiss Alps.
I wanted to visit my beloved cows, the fields of wildflowers, the snow capped mountains and the vistas that bring thoughts of ethereal wanderings – the joy and brevity of life, the urgency of creativity.
The week was forecast for rain, more rain and thunderstorms; that did not deter us; rain or shine I was heading for the mountains. As it turned out, the weather was lovely: sunshine mixed with clouds and an occasional drizzle thrown in for variety. (If you’re looking for a cushy job, try Meteorology it’s the only profession where you get paid for being wrong and won't get fired.)
Our chalet is tucked into the midst of a farmer's field surrounded by odiferous pastureland
Arriving in the late afternoon, we were greeted by a low-lying mist, moist on our face and the pungent perfume of spread manure. (If only I could bottle the mountain air mixed with the scent of new cut grass, the cow manure and the aging cheese... You probably wouldn’t like it, so I won’t try.)
We stayed in my niece's chalet located in the little hamlet of Les Moulins. If your not careful, you've passed right though it and are in Château D’Oex. Château D’Oex is famous for its winter ballooning, where eighteen years ago Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones took off in the Breiting Orbiter for the first none-stop balloon flight around the world.
The tiny capsule where the two balloonists lived for a month circling the earth
Our neighborhood has narrow, steep one-lane roads cut between waist-high fields of wild flowers. Scattered cows are grazing on steep hills leaving rutted paths with their hoofs. Weathered ancient chalets, with deep overhanging roofs shielding the tiny windows are hung with neat white lace curtains and framed by green shutters. Our chalet is a peaceful haven, conducive to creativity.
Every spring there is a happening at this time of the year; the cows are driven through the elegant streets of Gstaad on their way up to their mountain pasturelands, there to graze and make milk all summer long. Chris and I were there at the propitious moment to photograph this scene.
There are only a few friends left in the mountains at this time of year. It’s the mud season – the shoulder season before the summer crowds take over. We visited with old friends who live in a 1500 chalet – we drop in on the neighboring farmer and disturb him while milking his cows. We have a traditional breakfast of a croissant and hot chocolate in the neighborhood bakery – a traditional Fondue in a mountain cafe is a must, so are Rösti and Geschnetzeltes (slivers of veal in a cream sauce)
A visit with an old family friend, Huldi Bach, turning 89 and going strong
How can we leave this idyllic place? Not all good things should come to an end.