Monday, August 31, 2009
end of a holiday
We’re just off an alpine forest trail near the Kristberg peak, high above the Silver Valley. V. is asleep on Anette’s jacket, and I’m lying on pine needles in the sun. Anette and Adinah are up at a panoramic lookout and goddamnit, they took our lunch of liverwurst and bread with them! We’ve been in the mountain region of Montafon, in the far west of Austria, for almost a week now. I’m taking pictures of tiny little mountain flowers. It is clearly time to go home.
Please don’t misunderstand: it’s been wonderful, it’s been great. These Heidi valleys and lunar mastiffs are gorgeous. Our daughters have been super troopers about hiking with us. And we’ve been staying at a “wellness hotel,” with sauna and indoor heated pool, where they do everything but pour the breakfast buffet down your throat for you.
But every vacation comes to an end, and I’m always ready for the end credits before anyone else. I’m usually set to get back to work—looking forward to it, even. I am American, after all. Plus, when you stay in one place for more than a few days, your hosts’ initial hospitality usually starts to thin. I regard this as a natural reaction to feeding and housing strangers, and despite all the smiles, hotel workers are, in the end, sort of human. This summer, when we camped next to the ocean in Sardinia, the campsite staff had had their fill of us after the first week or so, even before we melted one of their kitchen cutting boards on our grill. This week, our romance with our hotel ended when the owner told us Adinah and V. are not allowed in the sauna after all. This may or may not be because V. had just pooped on the floor outside of the steam room, but we’ll never know.
I’d like to come back here next year. I adore mountains, of any shape or divination, on any continent, all the time. It's just that enough is enough.