10 August 2011

High on the Alps

I'm dizzy. From oxygen starvation and eye-candy gluttony up in the Swiss Alps.

I live in the foothills of the Jura mountains, if such an elevation-challenged mountain range (highest peak, Le Crêt de la Neige, an embarrassing 1,720 meters) can be said to have foothills. Compared to the Alps (highest peak, Mont Blanc, 4810 meters), the Juras are molehills. If the Alps are Sophia Loren, the Jura are Gwen Stefani -- equally sexy, but, you know, different.

I formulated this complex theory recently while visiting Switzerland's three most famous resort towns: Zermatt, Gstaad and St. Moritz.

Each town is wonderful in its own way: Zermatt, a fun tourist town; Gstaad, beautiful chaletland; St. Moritz, redolent with the frisson of money, lots of money). But each of these towns is only there because of the Alps.

In Hawai'i, where I lived for 30 years, the focus, ultimately, is always back to the ocean. Switzerland is yang to that yin (or vice versa if you prefer).

I feel the pull of both, but right now I'm drunk on the Alps' rarified air, and jutting Lord of the Rings landscape.

When I go to Hawai'i hotels I prefer the cheaper "mountain view" rooms not because they're cheaper but because I find that view more interesting. No wonder I love Switzerland.

But I wouldn't want to live in an alpine village walled in by massive cliffs. I think that after a while, I'd be looking up over my shoulder waiting for a biblical flash flood or earthquake. To really live and breathe I prefer more open skies.

So please, respect for my little homey range. Plus its got that whole Jurassic thing going on. Hey Alps, do you have an official scientific Geologic Period full of dinosaurs named after you? Oh, sorry.

But don't feel bad. You're beautiful. Even in the distance from my house.

1 comment:

  1. A stunning photo, that picture above, a perfect example of successfully making a mountain out of a molehill.