Today I stepped onto some innocuous looking ice and immediately fell over, which means that winter 2014/2015 has officially started for me. The ice in question was in Val Ferret, one of the more remote-feeling mountain valleys of Switzerland. The valley leads right to the border with Italy. After the success of last weekend, Tanya and Friedemann and I were in the area for another pre-ski-season hike.
It was cold and our walk was characterised by the presence of freezing fog; the fog left its icy mark on anything it touched. The trees were coated in a heavy rime. The ice on the tall grass fell clean off if you so much as brushed past. And throughout the day the fog settled on us too, freezing onto our hair and the wool on our hats.
As we headed higher the cloud thickened and we spent most of the walk wandering in grey, across snowy slopes, enjoying being the hills.
On the way home we stopped to buy a hot chocolate at a restaurant in a little village, but we were overcome by the delicious smells from the kitchen and instead upgraded to a fondue for a late lunch. Molten cheese, bread, and potatoes – the Swiss know their stuff, and this was exactly right for a meal after a walk in the cold. Comfort food indeed.