Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Boy, my blog production really has slowed down of late, hasn’t? Well, this marks my 200th post. Significantly, it also marks my third wedding anniversary*. Coincidence? I think think so.
In any case, I’ve been more than a little swamped in the last few days. Sadly, this has not been of the traveling-Europe-having-zany-adventures kind of swamped, but more of the why-is-it-all-my-freelance-clients-give-me-assignments-at-the-same-time-it-must-be-a-conspiracy kind of swamped. So why am I writing here about this, instead of, say, nuclear physics? Because I love you, that’s why.**
I did manage to escape my office and increasingly wonky laptop long enough to take a hike this past Sunday. Now that Sami the Finn has returned to the land of Frozen Monosyllabic Angst-sters in the North, Amynah and I find ourselves hiking with, unexpectedly, Amynah’s boss Brigitte***, and her husband Alain.
Amynah and Brigitte, on one of the less perilous sections
They chose a hike in the southern Vosges that translates roughly as “The Trail of the Rocks.” Having seen photos of the trail on-line, I had assumed that this name referred to the views it affords hikers of the bare granite cliffs that loom over the Munster valley.
I was wrong.
Turns out that when the French call a trail “The Trail of Rocks” they really mean that the trail is made up of rocks. Lots of them, all sharp, and crazed angles and covered in wet, slippery leaves.
Alain explained that the trail was built in 1915. With my razor sharp grasp of history, I asked if the folks in the neighbourhood didn’t have more pressing things to do at the time than hacking trails out of cliffsides.
See that cliff? We had to climb that.
“Ah, it was made by contrabandieres” explained Alain – men running illicit merchandise back and forth over the border between what was then the Kaiser’s Germany and wartime France. Given how much trouble I was having navigating the steep, rough ups and downs of the trail, I had to give those smugglers of yore, traversing this route while burdened with backpacks of blackmarket cheese or what-have-you, a tip of my hat. Or would have, had my hands not been otherwise occupied holding on for dear life.
Smugglers made this? I guess they have a more industrious breed of criminal around here
*The leather anniversary, apparently. You do not want to contemplate my underpants right now, trust me.
** In that needy, craving approval, writer-reader way.
***Who, amusingly, complained all day that she was fatiguée from a dinner that had gone until 1AM the previous night. I'd have called her on it, had only I known the French word for hangover.