La Vie Villageoise, #3

La Chapelle de la Famille

At is so happens, this chapel belongs to the family of the matron of this home in which we now live.  All of her children were christened there, following a family tradition dating back . . . I don’t know how many generations, except that her husband, the gracious Monsieur B. from my post entitled “Finding Home,” waved his hands several times in the backward direction, suggesting the string of ancestors.  This chapel, and the many homes in this corner of the village that belong to the same family, are quite a bit of the history.

With time, I will know some of that story.

Makes me downright salivate.

Farther down that same passageway. . .

La Source de la FamilleI’ve shown this water trough once before, but did not know then, as I do now, that is was the family’s private water source for . . . (hand wave gesture indicating “way back”).

I also did not know that Dalton’s bedroom would overlook this pump, and the trickling water sound would put him to sleep every night.

Official tourist wandering trail

What I also didn’t know is that our little street bears one of these signs, which means it is a designated wandering (or hiking) trail on the Swiss government’s maps system. (Which system, you gotta appreciate this, is a SERIOUS enterprise.)

I learned it was a designated route when, during the move when I was standing, hands on hips in front of the moving truck in the road, a group of five impressively equipped wanderers wandered toward me.

I noticed they spoke Swiss German, so I sopke to them in High German. One man responded.

I also noticed they had two German Shepherds (or would that be Swiss German?), and they slurped noisily in the water trough.  I’ll not invite you to bathe there, as promised earlier.

“Hello, you look like you’re looking for something,” I offered to the man with olive green army grade hiking boots.

“Yes. We are. Which way to Rue St. Jacques?”

The dogs were nearly dunking themselves front legs and all in the trough.  The woman with a yellow tank top and a chestnut braid down to her waistline, yanked at their collars and blurted something quiet and cute at them in Swiss German. That language is cute, though incomprehensible as a real language.

“Rue St. Jacques? Um, Sorry, I’m pretty new here myself. Never heard of it.”

I turn to the movers and ask in French if they know the road.

“Only one I know,” says the moving team leader Monsieur Tin Tin, as he calls himself, “is in the middle of Geneva.”

“Yes,” says the head of the hikers. “That’s the one.”

“You’re walking to Geneva?” I ask, laughing a little. It’s a 25 minute drive. But on foot? And with hounds?

“Yes. We are walking. Of course.” And he lifts up his walking sticks. As if they will do some magic or something.

The woman with the braid, who has taken a swig from the fountain and wipes her mouth with the back of her hand, echos, “Yes. Walking.”

I smile and shrug at the moving crew, feeling conspicuously sedentary, and put in my place. Wuss-like.

“And from Geneva?” a moving crew member asks jokingly, as if they could possibly go any farther. “Where are you heading from there?”

“To Lausanne.  Then Basel. Then Zürich. Then, uh, Bolzano.”

I now see they have calves like stones. And I’m wondering about the magic in those walking sticks.

“So. . .you’re walking across. . .”

“Yes. Das ganze Land.” The dogs shake off forty liters of water from their fur. Then sit at attention, staring at me.

And then all five wanderers give a jaunty stamp-stamp of their boots, shrug up their enormous backpacks, wave swissly, and walk off down the pathway.  Heading across, yes, the whole country.

I think I mentioned to you somewhere the Swiss invented walking.

My neighbor’s trusty — and stationary — guard dog watches them go. . .

© Melissa Dalton-Bradford and, 2012. This work (text and images) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. . . which means, as long you’re not selling it, you’re welcome to share, but please remember to give me a link and mention my name.

6 thoughts on “La Vie Villageoise, #3

  1. I love this description. We lived in Lausanne for a while. Switzerland is wonderful. I can just see the pilgrims and their sturdy calves.

    • Heidi—Your words are spot-on: “pilgrims” with calves that are “sturdy.” All of life here, come to think of it, feels “sturdy.” And I forgot you had been in Lausanne, but now that part of your life comes back to me. if you loved it, I should, too.

  2. Ah, Melissa……you have transported me to that magical place! Your ability to notice and so beautifully describe the most minute detail makes me feel like I’m with you. I hope to be, someday soon! THANKS for your postings…..I so look forward to each one. Much love to you!

    • Geri, dear sister, please come some day when your life settles, too. I know you’ve been under your own avalanche and are only now beginning the process of slowly digging out. Until then, it is nice to sample some beauty. . .I’ll keep posting if I know you’ll keep reading 🙂

  3. It looks beautiful and so different than anywhere we’ve ever been. Glad you are getting settled. We miss you guys!

    • Gayleen, I just found the right place to eventually hang a certain precious family photo collage. So you know that I miss you and am thinking of you regularly. Yes, I’d guess a little Swiss village is galaxies away from your life in Dubai, and I know for sure it’s nothing like our shared life in Singapore. The contrast has been jolting, but quietly so. Much love always. . .

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