Chronicles of a writer abroad

Of mountains and maniacally-working men


We have a long way to go until the non-snowy hiking season starts. It’s currently the time of year when, if you live in Switzerland but don’t regularly ski or snowboard, you might begin to pine for the green flavour of mountains. I’ve just begun to attend a Spinning class in which the instructor says, as we pedal standing up with high resistance in simulation of a hill, “now imagine we are summitting such-and-such mountain of 3,700 meters…” but somehow this doesn’t quite succeed in making me feel as though I am there.

What does somewhat scratch the itch are these pictures of trails that I took throughout last year. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about a picture of a mountain trail that makes me feel happy inside. How about you — any of these tickle your fancy?


We will, in fact, be heading to the mountains again on Thursday — we’re returning to Davos, site of our Christmas trip. The occasion for this visit is a ski trip put on each year by Stelian’s company. The trip always takes place shortly after the annual paper-submission deadline for a  conference that is the holy grail of the computer graphics field. Stelian and his colleagues have been at work 14-16 hours a day on average, for the last week (including the weekend). Yesterday the “abandoned spouses” met for coffee and commiseration — which also includes the telling of stories that are amusing to us as outsiders to this crazy process. (The best one I heard involved a colleague of Stelian’s who called his fiancée at work and said “Sorry, I made a huge mess in the kitchen, and I didn’t have time to clean it up.” She went home to find large gobs of melted candle wax all over her kitchen and coating her oven mitts. All in the name of research!).

Anyway, after so much exhausting work (and, on my part, so much exhausting observation of exhausting work), it will be nice to have a few days of relaxation in the mountains. Well, I confess that I will not be relaxed as I enact my annual OMG-I-forget-how-to-ski ritual, but the rest of the time will be good.

Then next week Stelian and I are heading to Barcelona for five nights! We are doing so because Stelian didn’t manage to use up his 5 weeks (!) of vacation last year, and he has to take the remainder now. We are looking forward to somewhat warmer temperatures, eating tapas, architecture by Gaudi, and being by the sea. Also, tying in with today’s theme, we are planning to do a day trip from the city in order to see Montserrat, one of the craziest-looking mountains ever.



5 thoughts on “Of mountains and maniacally-working men

  1. SO jealous of your plans for barcelona!! I keep hearing what a fantastic city it is, can’t wait to hear your review of it! enjoy the warmer weather!

    • I know — everyone in Europe talks about how great Barcelona is…my curiosity about it became intolerable! Will definitely do a full write-up (with pictures) when we’re back!

  2. I love the first hiking trail … it’s fun to see which one really grabs you! Have a good celebration in Davos and then on to beautiful Barcelona – I hope it’s everything it’s been made out to be!

  3. Wow, Barcelona should be a great and well-deserved vacation! My top two recommendations are Park Guell and seafood paella (or really any kind of paella)! Also the Palace of Catalan Music has beautiful tilings on the exterior and a stunning interior–even if you don’t care about Catalan Music.

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