I might have mentioned before the Swiss propensity to celebrate things with cheese and alcohol, and on 26 September 1993 they voted to have another one. Swiss National Day. So every year on 1st August. That’s how it works here – you just ask everyone if they want another bank holiday and, amazingly, everyone said yes…
Now, despite the fact that the weather went from stunning blue skies to cloudy to rumbles of thunder to complete monsoon, the Swiss didn’t let that stop them from having a proper party. And a parade. And – as is the custom here – a full marching brass band.
So we went and helped them out – fortuitously taking cover underneath the canopy of The Pub Mont Fort’s bar. And despite the weather it all went rather well and looked a bit like this…
Kat and Don doing model poses: The rain arrives: The band carries on regardless:
They even seem to enjoy it: Finally a load of local kids with lanterns swim past:
I had a great text from a mate in London this week: “So what are you actually doing in Switzerland when there’s no snow?”.
His understandable points were what do you do (see our previous blog on this classic ski instructor question), how do you make ends meet and isn’t it a bit dull.
And it made me laugh a bit because I got it when I turned on my phone back on after getting off a flight to Geneva which approached along the lake, taking in epic views of the snow on all the peaks over 3000 meters – from the Bernese Oberland across to Mont Blanc.
(The picture above hardly does it justice but click on it and you can zoom into it and pick stuff out).
Best of all though, the Grand Combin (that’s the really big mountain on the other side of the valley from Verbier – you know, the one with the slanty glacier on top) stood out like a sore thumb – fresh snow on the summit and the biggest one for miles around… You can just see it here, next to the wing tip:
And I sat in my seat like a grinning idiot, brimming with excitement and just stupidly happy to be coming back. So when I got that text from Lee it seemed to underline why it’s amazing to be in the mountains at any time of year. It’s an amazing place, in a brilliant (if a bit quirky and cheese-obsessed) corner of the world.
And, to underline this, when I got off the bus to Verbier, the fact that it seemed appropriate that it was the warm up for Swiss National Day – basically yet another reason for the Swiss to have a party, eat cheese and drink white wine.
Which made it somehow more perfect, and is also the reason I’m typing this with what feels like a pair of knitting needles behind my eyes.
So are there better places to live? Yup. Probably. But why on earth would you bother looking for them when you can be here?