röstigraben: crossing the invisible potato border

One day during our honeymoon in Switzerland, we drove to Täsch and then took a train to Zermatt, which is where you visit if you want to see the famed Matterhorn, sometimes referred to as the Mountain of Mountains, or Berg de Berge in German. As we walked Zermatt’s long main street to reach the lift that would take us to the Matterhorn “glacier paradise,” … Continue reading röstigraben: crossing the invisible potato border

from newlywed to retiree: on places, and what it means to love them

It’s interesting what we block out when we dream of or anticipate a place.

We must ignore the great unspooled ribbon of mind-numbing highway. The ugly big-box stores. The cloud cover that renders a day as colorless as a lump of pizza dough.

Sometimes I think we reserve those kinds of stringent observations for home: to criticize what we are used to and tired of. Continue reading from newlywed to retiree: on places, and what it means to love them

stranger things: the hitchhiker’s guide to the auvergne

“The fact that we call them and know them only by first name, points to the strange intimacy of road tripping with strangers.

Do you sit in the front or the back? Should you sleep or maintain polite conversation? How likely is it that you and your conducteur will be belting out show tunes and exchanging emails by the end of the ride?” Continue reading stranger things: the hitchhiker’s guide to the auvergne

secret garden: serre de la madone

Menton, France has a Secret Garden beauty, rich as it is in dilapidated grandeur.  There are candy pastel hotels tucked in the hills, once wedding cake-grand but now closed with broken windows. The small downtown area houses murals, fountains, and statues that show their age. A striking yellow staircase leads from the Basilique St. Michel down to the sea, but it begs for a fresh coat of … Continue reading secret garden: serre de la madone