Good things come to those who wait…and those who harvest…
They say ‘good things come to those who wait’.
We believe ‘good things come to those who harvest’.
After our picking and processing efforts earlier this week, we headed off to the alps for a break with friends.
We spent 3 glorious days in a place called Pila in the Valle d’Aosta, which is high (1,800 metres altitude) above the town of Aosta and has spectacular views of Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) and the Matterhorn (Monte Cervino).
Pila is very busy in summer (walking) and winter (skiing) and the number of huge accommodation buildings and restaurants attest to this.
However, the vast majority of these facilities were closed when we were there. Summer is ending and owners and managers were taking the opportunity to rest before the winter season starts.
Our B&B had once been an alpine dairy farmhouse. There is a black and white photo on a wall inside the building that shows the farmhouse surrounded by acres of alpine fields. There are no other accommodation buildings in sight.
The photo is dated 1965, the year I was born. As I stood there looking at the old photo I felt strangely responsible that this peaceful piece of perfection had been ‘developed’ into a ‘resort’ during my lifetime.
On our first morning, we woke to an alpine breakfast, perhaps the best I’ve ever had. There were meats, cheeses, yoghurts, fruit, breads, brioche, croissants, biscuits, cakes, tarts, juices, tea and coffee.
In an attempt to walk off the chocolate brioche, croissant, jam tart, cherry flan and nutella crostata, we set off immediately on an 8 hour hike that involved 500 metres of ascent.
We struggled uphill on black ski pistes, wandered along high alpine grazing areas and pondered several old decaying stone buildings. We spotted birds of prey playing lazily with the thermal updraughts, marmots running between their warren holes and stopped to gaze at trout in the lake of a glacier long gone. We panicked when the track took us along a narrow ridge whose sides plunged hundreds of metres into valleys singing with cow bells. We paused to inhale pine oil that the sun had encouraged out of the conifers and eavesdropped on an alpine farmer talking to his cows.
As I stood looking out over the Aosta valley and across to Monte Bianco and Monte Cervino, I paused to say a prayer of thanks for the beauty and the opportunity…certainly proof that ‘good things come to those who harvest’…