If you turn left outside the front doors of Beau Réveil and walk for a couple of hundred metres, just past the Swiss Hotel Management School, you reach the Stairs of Death. The stairs aren’t anything special on their own. Crumbling. Uneven. Obnoxiously long and notoriously difficult to descend. But, if you follow them to the bottom and continue on, walking through the lower village, you can feel the exact moment you leave the LAS bubble. The frequency of familiar faces lessens and you start to come across beautiful wooden buildings and houses with bright red and green shutters. It’s one of my favourite walks to take in Leysin.
I’m telling you this, reader, mostly because I often forget that Leysin isn’t familiar to you. I spend a lot of time talking about the big things. The adventuring, the museum-going, the galavanting in different countries. With the exception of a couple of cool expeditions though, the first two weeks following my last blog post were extremely quiet. It’s reminded me of all the things that made me first fall in love with this little town. Leysin is skiing and a vast expanse of mountains and hiking. Yes. But it is also made up of subtleties. It is Dan who works in the kitchen and is the guardian angel of my lactose-intolerant self. It’s saying ‘bonjour’ to passing strangers on the streets and buying Swiss chocolate on the way home from work with Jessie. It’s the big stone water fountains at the bottom of the Stairs of Death and hearing church bells chime every half hour. It’s being a part of a staff where I can get caught up in talking about vertigo and fatalism at 3pm on a Sunday in the middle of nowhere. And it feels important that I tell you about these things. Leysin wouldn’t be home without them.
Understated aspects of Switzerland aside, there has been some excitement mixed into the past few weeks. Anthony invited me to join his faculty family for a night at a Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant in a town called Gstaad. Gstaad – brimming with high-end stores, stuck in a seemingly permanent Christmas state, and boasting one of the highest millionaires per capita in the world – is anything but understated. We pulled up to the parking lot of the restaurant, Megu, and parked our chunky school van in a corner far away from all the sleek luxury cars. The restaurant itself was warm and ambient. We walked to our table, following a runway of stalactite lights, and took our seats amidst the cologne and fur coats. I felt undeniably out of place, but successfully managed to avoid making a scene until the first round of chef’s sushi arrived… at which time I managed to drop my sushi from up high into the soy sauce, sending it splattering all across the (fancy) white table cloth. The waiter behind me (thankfully) quickly brought in our next plate of sushi and strategically placed it to hide the worst of the stain and the rest of the evening continued without a hitch. The food was amazing. Of course. I forgot to take pictures, but I’ll let your imagination (or Google) do the work. I promise it was exactly as fancy as you think.
The rest of the week was simple and perfect. I spent the Sunday in Martigny chaperoning a school art trip and took a short hike to Prafandaz with Jessie for some wine and rösti (a classic Swiss dish made of grated potatoes with different toppings) and a fantastic lookout point.
And with that you have almost been brought up to speed, dear reader. This week has marked the first half of my March break and I, in nervousness and excitement, have experienced my first taste of solo travel in Poland. I’ve meandered my way through Warsaw, Kraków, and Wrocław, and in two short days I’ll be meeting up with Jessie and we’ll take on the Czech Republic together. In an effort to keep this post readably short though, I’ll save the details of my country-hopping adventures for next time.
I’ll do my best to update Liminal Space again by this time next week, but until then, wish me luck!
PS. The kitchen staff at Belle Epoque love to dance while they serve up lunch. Dan (my aforementioned guardian angel) asked me to put together a playlist to introduce him to some new music. So, this is what the kitchen staff will be grooving to at lunch when I return from March break:
- Better Than – Lake Street Drive
- I Got You – KJ Apa and Hayley Law
- hold on – Flor
- Electric Indigo – The Paper Kites
- Waves – Dean Lewis
- All Day All Night – Moon Taxi
- Dreamers – Mighty Oaks
- Swim – Fickle Friends
- Fall – Family of Things
- Back to Your Love – Night Riots
- Never Going Home – Hazel English