Although I’ve been to France many times over the past 10 years, I’ve actually never been to Paris. Yet when the chance presented itself to remedy this, joining Rogier and Fabian to spend two nights there on their way back to Holland, I reclined the offer. To most traveller’s horror I assume.
The thing is, when offered to go with them, all I could think of was how sick I am of travel right now. It may sound a bit entitled, or spoiled, but I just couldn’t get myself to pack my bags, again. I’ve been going to and from places for almost a year, and for now I just want to stay put until I get my visa. Then I’ll go back to Oz and I can finally pick up life again and stop wasting time waiting.
I wonder if other travellers ever get sick of travel. Maybe I’m just not the type to flutter around the globe aimlessly without a proper sense of direction or goals. Then again, perhaps that makes me dull.
justify my time spend
The last week was spent with the guys buying bottle after bottle of wine, and me aimlessly fluttering around the supermarket without a proper sense of direction or goals, waiting for them to fill their carts and head for the registers. It was still fun though, and I brought home a whiskey on every trip, to justify my time spend. We made a lot of toasts to friendship and spend many evenings talking about anything, while feeding the fireplace blocks of wood well into the night. Discussing cameras, photographs, Dutch songs from our highschool times, our childhoods, work related stories, and many more subjects.
The week before that was spent at roughly 1300 meters above sea-level. We stayed at my aunt and were given the top floor, where normally my cousin resides. The guys brought snowboards, but I’ve never been a big fan of winter sport, and this winter was no different. We did bring snowshoes (those tennis racket things) and made good use of them. We had one trip of the paths in Lauenen, where we traversed one of the Lothar spots. Lothar (and Martin) where tropical storms with hurricane elements that hit France, Switzerland and Germany in December 1999. It created small hurricanes in wooded areas, ripping trees from the ground, which were mostly left to nature. This was the first time I found it difficult to see them from the valley, until we walked into one. We formed a single file and with jumping and the occasional slide we made our way through, and eventually down. In the middle we halted to take some photographs, and while waiting for Rogier to set up his tripod, we saw and heard a crow singing. A very rare occurrence, making the day even more special. After coming down, we found ourselves in a little dead-end, where an old cabin loomed in between the trees. It looked abandoned and on closer inspection we decided it was. The ceiling was collapsing due to rotting wood, so we didn’t enter it, but it was a nice find nonetheless.
my little misstep
On our way back, we came across another patch of fallen trees. The sun didn’t penetrate that part of the valley and therefore the snow was thick, and combined with all the tree trunks, tricky. At one point I was in front of our little caravan, and while trying to find a path across a big tree trunk, the snow underneath my feet gave way and I fell to the ground, while my right leg disappeared underneath the snow. I was reading a book by Joe Simpson (Into The Void) at the time, and had just read about him breaking his knee on the Siula Grande. You can imagine what fun thoughts flashed through my mind for a second.
Thankfully my little misstep wasn’t near as big as his fall, and I got pulled out of my predicament unharmed by Fabian. My cousin, Mirta, in the meantime had to pull out Rogier from his own snow hole, after he came running up laughing to take a picture of me being devoured by the landscape.
We had a laugh and headed out again, eventually coming to the bed of a mountain stream. It runs straight from the glacier high above us, and will eventually join the Rhine and the North Sea. As we milled around a bit, discussing the next direction to head in, some people appeared on the tracks on the other side of the stream. They where discussing if they should ask us if we needed help, but I guess we looked the part and they walked on. Not long after, Mirta found a wide bit with the water running low, and we crossed the stream and made our way back to the car, following the track.
The next day would be our last in Switzerland, so we decided to go for another walk with the snow gear, this time up the mountains we could see from my aunt’s house. We climbed for an hour or two, then found ourselves a spot in the sun and build a fire. We had lunch there and just relaxed and cracked jokes for some time, until the sun hid behind the mountains and we packed up and walked back down. We figured we should start driving back to France at around five in the afternoon, but didn’t actually set out until half past six.
As promised in the last blog, I will add some pictures of the figure skating girl. She emailed me back to tell me she liked the pictures. I’ll also add some pictures of the Volvo’s I found racing around the airport, while the guys were snowboarding. If you’d like to see more of them, just visit my Flickr page by clicking the link or scrolling down to the bottom.
A little status update about the house; the guy still hasn’t responded to multiple emails, voicemail, and messages left at his place of work. So the next step will be legal action, and putting the house back on the market as soon as we can. I try to look at the whole ordeal as some extra money, and not as months waisted and stress for nothing. But those two views still alternate the dominant position a lot.
For the coming weeks, waiting for my visa grant, I’ll be milling around the house in France, smoking meat, taking photographs and whatever I can think of to keep me busy. There are definitely worse places to wait to return to Australia, although I’m experiencing homesickness for the first time in my life, and I can’t say I savour the feeling. Fingers crossed it won’t take much longer now.