Sep 12, 2016


So we go for a walk along the Augstbord water pipe, a duct that exists since 1320 and distributes meltwater among the villages in the neighborhood. Last time we visited was 8 years ago, when we got almost killed by falling rock (Michael, for unclear reasons, had stopped walking, perhaps waiting for Chang behind him, and 6 seconds later, at the exact location were he would have been, a massive rock slipped and would have killed him---not making this up). So we avoided the trail for superstitious reasons, but then Chang got his new Nikon D3300, and we had to go.

Click for a larger picture

It's funny how memory works. You don't remember anything about the trail 8 years later, save for the falling rock, but then, five minutes into the hike, things come back, and you recall having walked past this house (the Swiss call it "Hütte" --- hut). Last time, you remember, the structure was empty, or abandoned. This time, a dog (center) charges down the slope, barking, and, upon arrival, turns immediately on its back in expectation of cuddling and caresses. 

We continue. We're above the Matter valley at ca. 2100 m (Zermatt and Matterhorn are up the valley to the south (to the right of the picture), and frontal you have the entrance to the Saas valley that plays such an important role in Michael's story The Fountain of Geneva (Roman Emperor Hadrian, a shadow of Antinous, an erotic SWAT team, crazy Vikings).

A thunderstorm breaks (almost), we turn around. There's the dog again, plus his master, Marcel. "She has her beauty from me," Marcel opens the conversation (he means the dog, a Border Collie mutt). Marcel is a cowboy, really, he guards cows during the summer, and lives here. We talk about (a) language, how the Swiss dialect relates to ancient German, (b) the locals (god-fearing, superstitious Catholics, still), (c) afterlife, and (d) we promise to be back soon with a bottle of Fendant, the favored local wine (also mentioned in Michael's story). Later, during dinner at the Moosalp, the favored local restaurant, Carmen, the publican, tells us that Marcel writes plays.

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