“Travel is addicting. It can make you a happier American, as well as a citizen of the world….
It helps you understand and appreciate different cultures. Travel changes people. It broadens perspectives and teaches new ways to measure quality of life.” Rick Steves
In the one thought leads to another vein, I was reading about the resurrection of a ski resort in Kosovo, when the images of skiing in Canada and visiting the Alpine village of Chinaillon edged their way from my memory bank. Beyond my introduction to and enjoyment of French culture in Quebec, I relished those swift runs and dazzling vistas of the Laurentian Mountains – snow-capped peaks, chipmunks dashing across the frosty landscape, birch trees tucked among narrow trails – adventures I’m so glad to have enjoyed.
Unfortunately, I never skied in France, but we enjoyed several days of wandering through ski country in the summer. Anchored at a charming gîte in Chinaillon, we explored the gorgeous Alpine landscape from Annecy to Mont Blanc and many points in between.
We could step through our door to the parking area to be greeted by roosters prancing about, while hikers with their staffs made their weigh up the bouldered hill behind us. As far as the eye could see, lush carpets of green spread over the hills and peaks – the domicile in summer of grazing sheep and cows.
We gained the understanding that knowing cowbells can ring through the hills (so the farmer can find the fellas) is worlds apart from standing at a remote ‘pullover’ in the mountains and hearing it yourself. The experience adds color to an otherwise black-and-white image.
I’d still love to ski in the Alps, but I’d also welcome new opportunities to meander through the stunning landscape on a sunny, summer day. One village after another offers floral shows beyond imagination. Icy streams race down the mountains. Quiet cafes offer some of the world’s finest views and a friendly conversation with locals. The sum total is simply exquisite!
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