You may remember one evening when we sat by candlelight and listened to the story of our cousins' family tradition making Genepi Maison. The story was more than one about a family recipe, but a father and his long walks in the mountain with his sons. This week we went to visit their family chalet in the Alps. It is a house that began as one family's weekend home, and has progressed now that the children are grown, married, and have children that themselves have grown, into a place shared by all of the cousins for family meetings, weekends and holidays.
Spirit of the mountains and family are intermingled in this little house that holds a surprisingly huge number of people when all the beds are rolled out. I loved the spirit of respect for others too. Little plaques and framed reminders about how to keep things pleasant for everyone, not to leave your belongings trailing about, where things are kept and how to maintain everything from the aerating equipment in the upstairs shower to the ski rack in the mud room were everywhere. Rightly so. Because of the careful planning and guidelines set by Philippe's father, everyone in the family gets an equal welcome in the chalet. These are useful rules that set a good example for the children and prepare for many happy years. I will run my country home this way one day.
In the winter of course the slopes provide endless entertainment, and in the summer you can go up into the mountains and walk or climb. Adventurous cousins have embraced a special relationship with the hills. What they call a little walk is a hard core hike for someone like me. Their commitment to mountain sport reminds me a little bit of the sailing culture I grew up around.
When we were out walking, green things were just beginning to sprout from the ground after the melt. The snow had picked up lots of rocks and put them down in new piles and formations. The trails we enjoyed were mostly clear. Waterfalls and gorged streams rushed melted snow to the valleys. Hamlets and towns are nestled in between the mountains, one after another, reached by twisting roads at vertiginous heights. Spring smells gorgeous. I was singing "The Hills are Alive" all week long!
The little pies are a local specialty sold in the town.
Labels: Spring 08