~creux du van~

June 13th, 2009

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Over our last full weekend in Switzerland, we were visited by dear friends from North America and Germany. This was a lovely turn of events as it invited us to step out of the relentless fugue of job hunting, moving, planning, and into tourist-time in our own fleeting neck of the woods.

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When we accepted a second contract here, I began to research adventures we could make close to home, rather than always hopping in a car and across some border or another. An exciting to-do list had just been hung on the fridge when we got the word that the whole Swiss landscape would shortly collapse like an accordion in an oompah band: alps, lakes, meadows, cows, and all.

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The first adventure on said list was Creux du Van, and I’m pleased to say–though it’s bittersweet–we made it to this wonderland of the Jura mountains before departing for more urban climbs. The enormous, horseshoe-shaped rock wall is part of the Chemin des Crêtes du Jura between Basel and Geneva. It was created by erosion from water and ice, and is just under a mile wide and with cliffs up to 700 feet high. Peering over the edge it’s a straight-down drop.

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Wild chamois and ibex goats, marmots, badgers, wild boars, falcons, fox, deer, and hares all hang out here, as well as some charming pigs and domesticated goats at the Métairie du Soliat.

The alpenblum were in blum, the cow bells chimed, the hills rolled, the sunshine and butterflies sparkled and flitted on the edge of a dream. The soundtrack was Manfred singing a rather risqué song popular in WWII: Roll me over, in the clover, lay me down, and do it again…

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Wandering from the path we found the farm of the original proprietor of Solait, who had spent 62 years there before retiring 19 years ago. He was tending to his greenhouse garden in bedroom slippers, trousers, and suspenders, looking like a very spry 70, when in fact he was a charming 81 years old. It’s the air, I’m certain. Plus the occasional roll in the clover…

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I was nibbled by goats, snouted by pigs, and righteously licked by a gang of cows. A very fine day.

2 Responses to “~creux du van~”

  1. […] Some photographs of the lovely Métairie du Soliat at the peak of the Creux du Van. […]

  2. angelina says:

    That sounds like my kind of perfect day!

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