I’m sure there is no need to tell you where I have been! I have had a sleep deprived but glorious, baking- hot week out with the family in Switzerland. (Very busy 3 year old!!!)
When I got off the train after arriving in the village it was totally incongruous to see people in shorts and T-shirts shovelling snow. This region has had an inordinate amount of snow this winter and on my first day, when it had suddenly turned to hot weather, there were a few patches of very grey, flattened grass starting to show through in the sunniest spots. By the time I left some of the banks and meadows were completely snow free with a profusion of tiny, pale crocus and little purple alpine anemones poking up. Although, the drift at the back of my daughter’s building, as with many other properties, must have still been 2 metres deep. On the train journey back to Geneva, only a week later, as I got lower and lower down the valley my outlook became greener and greener with fruit blossom breaking out, banks of spring flowers and vines starting to shoot their green tendrils. By the time I reached Geneva it really seemed like summer had arrived.
The winter snowstorms had caused a lot of damage up the valley and there were the remains of several big avalanches up against the train tracks. Scattered with trees and debris sticking out at all angles. There were also a couple of new landslips and broken and bent trees all over the place. Our usual walks, bar a couple of paths, were off limits due to the risks of further avalanche and in fact on my first morning the authorities were setting charges to trigger avalanches in predetermined places. Spectacular viewing!
Whilst I was there my son in law participated in a very prestigious ski mountaineering race organised by the Swiss army. Teams of 3 ski overnight 53 kilometres of the high alps (up to heights of 4000 metres) from Zermatt to Verbier. His team did extremely well and came in 14th in their category. The Italian race winners set a course record of an amazing five and a half hours. All very exciting.
Now I am back to play catch up at home…. loads to do in the garden and the house – my sunny alpine break rapidly becoming a fading memory…though couple of sketches as a reminder…