Smuggling into Absinthe-land

Sunset in Tramelan, smuggling into absinthe-land

And in just one inno­cent, harm­less, typ­ic­al day, we just broke our high peak record: that of the Brocken, at 1142m, was sur­passed by a wild and secluded moun­tain pass, that of the con­tra­band­ists, up to 1246m; we could have prob­ably been a metre high­er, but the quick­sand-mud bur­ied our wheels for long. But no wor­ries, for quite a while, we’ll have a con­stant record-break­ing habit.

Most of Europe usu­ally takes the ste­reo­type of a German as the epi­tome of metic­u­los­ity, effi­ciency, punc­tu­al­ity and clean­li­ness; but they, Germans, say that of the Swiss. You must listen to Leon repeatedly point­ing out that Swiss people do vacu­um their forests. There was not a single needle there. That pure green col­our. There’s no won­der how they cre­ated Absinthe here, they just took the green­est of all the green­ery around and threw it into spiritus.

Prior to arrival, we had no idea what to do. But in Pontarlier, a city char­ac­ter­ised by hav­ing all of its busi­nesses closed when you need them the most – could you ima­gine all kebabs and baker­ies closed at mid­day every day? –, a series of serendip­it­ous events gave us an offer we could not reject. A per­fect align­ment of places provided by acquaint­ances of my uncle Beto –crack­pot, we owe him a big hangover now – and my friend Luca – a cyc­list I had the pleas­ure to host in Kraków (mom, if he cycles through Spain, fed him until he explodes) – turned up, a per­fect route that will not be too long to kill our budget due to a lack of afford­able kebabs, but neither so short that feels like rush­ing through the coun­try without see­ing any­thing. A per­fect tour through authen­t­ic vil­lages and people, a relaxed plan to eat and drink and enjoy the climbs with no hurries.

Sunset in Tramelan, smuggling into absinthe-land

Mountains are filled with un-pho­to­graph­able views. Ups and downs are deli­cious, cows reign the lands, and clouds are sup­por­ted by wind­mill-columns. Colours are quite strong here: how was that thing about the RGB in com­puter screens? Take the red clouds, the green lands, and the blue sky, and you get a flag of col­ours Claudio de Lorena would have seen him­self in trouble to paint. Take a sun­set, add a lake, deep green pines, shiny green grass, the clouds close to you, quickly mov­ing, shaded by the sun­shine’s palette, and sud­denly add a slowly approach­ing rain. Gaze at that grain in the sky, syn­chron­ised with the blurry sound of the drops pour­ing over the lake’s sur­face, quickly over­tak­ing you. Let your­self be speech­less, reck­on the words to explain such an event, a mélange of incid­ents that no blog, no post­card, no talk, could pos­sibly illustrate.

Grainy rain at sunset, Tramelan. Smuggling into Absinthe-land

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