Dwight Peck's personal website

Christmas 2007 in Ollon, Switzerland

Whenever possible, over the years, we always try to spend Christmas with the Doctors Durham, not just because of the turkey, but also because of the stuffing.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Getting ready for Christmas

Sneaking out from work early, with an over-priced ham sandwich in the car along the autoroute, we've arrived in bustling downtown Ollon, near Aigle, in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland, for an exciting and familial sort of Christmas. We're bringing along a funny hat as a present for one of the Doctors Durham, a few gift books, chocolates, and a few bottles of tasty wine.

But no turkeys. Here, some Durhams, on Christmas Eve, are waiting for the Christmas turkeys to go half-price. And at 3 p.m., they did, and we bought lots of them, and we had them re-label our chickens as well.

Durham kids with a lively sense of family irony

Leysin's majestic Tour d'Aï peeping up over McDonalds and exhaust plumes.

The Coop's Brico+Loisirs (i.e., DYI + Leisure) and the Dent de Morcles, the top parts of which once made me wish I were shopping at the Coop instead.

The Grand Muveran, from the Tamoil service station at Collombey, 24 December 2007.

Christmas morning (only just, 11:36 a.m.). The Opening of the Presents.

Andrea's Swiss UEFA football mascotte hat (not appropriate for most social occasions);
Dwight's hilarious Swiss 'Small But Beautiful' T-shirt, size XXXL.

Mercedes gets a Hong Kong martial arts Vampires combat series of movies on DVD. (Mercedes is a martial arts enthusiast, but not a vampire fan, so far as we know.)

We're off for a Christmas day hike to Solalex
(whilst Mercedes and Andrea mix up the turkeys and stuffing, etc.)

From Villars, Switzerland, the view of the Grand Muveran

From Villars (we're driving into the trailhead area), the view of the Dent de Morcles.

From Villars, too, the view of the Dents du Midi

And now our hike commences -- from near Barboleusaz we're trudging along prepared paths towards Solalex.

Some nearby ice as we lope along the trail

The machined trail yields to a well-trod human snowshoe track up alongside the creek.

Doctor Durham, mostly in red (Doctor Durham can do blue, too.)

Dr. Durham discussing politics on the little trail up to Solalex

The Miroir (Mirror) on the side of the Argentine, seen from near Solalex.

Solalex, a bustling trailhead in summer -- probably one of the most visited hiking and picnicing spots in all of Switzerland, in fact, unbearable in summer -- pay-for-parking all around here when the snow's gone. But from here up that valley leads to Anzeinde, oh so lovely, and, to the right from there, up to the glaciers and down to the Pont de Nant, and straight ahead, down into Derborence and out to Sion. The walk up that gorge is memorialized by Ramuz in Chapter 3 of his novel Derborence, and quite apart from that, it's a bitch of a ski back down if you're on crosscountry skis.

The Solalex Lunch-mobile.

One of the two restaurants at Solalex . . .

. . . the one that's open in winter and has got the Lunch-mobile up from Barboleusaz.

The other restaurant. Marta and I returned from a hike here, in the early 1990s, and downed a few beers thinking of a nice fondue, and when no menu came, we asked for one, and the astonished waiter said "Oh, no, there's no menu. The chef will be along in a little while to advise you." So we took our custom elsewhere.

Lisa and the snowshoe that just won't obey!

The view up from Solalex towards Anzeinde. Not for us today, we've got dinner (stuffing made by Mercedes) waiting.

The Lunch-mobile preparing to depart

Lisa preparing to depart

A self-photo before we descend

Another self-photo before we descend. We took more than 150 of these, and these two are the winners.

A last look at Solalex before dashing down for Mercedes' stuffing

Lisa back at the trailhead. Contemplating Christmas stuffing.

Lisa, ready for Christmas dinner

Mercedes (homemade stuffing in the pan) is off to the University of Aberdeen as their newest professor of linguistics there.

Apogee of Durhamness.

Today's Chef

Nth in the series of Durham/Peck Christmas photos, but without Marlowe this year.

And the traditional "people under the Santa Claus rug" photo.

Come back next year.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 30 December 2007, revised 24 March 2014.

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