Friday, July 13, 2007

July 12, The Expedition to the Ochsenberg

Roshi and A. and I and Roshi's 6-year-old daughter S. went to visit Heidi's alp. I myself was satisfied already when we turned south into that part of the upper Rhine Valley. Suddenly it looked just like I imagined: the mountainsides going straight up, covered with a patchwork of forest and meadow. Recent rains had dusted the tops with snow, and high high up straight up in the air there were scattered houses and farmsteads. We stayed the night of the 11th in Triessen in Liechtenstein, about 15 kilometers from the Swiss border and another 10 km. from the town of Maienfeld.

In the morning we set forth, following the signage for the Heidiweg, and were soon walking on the path to the ersatz village of Dorfli, now called Heididorf. Dorfli was full of Japanese tourists, and a flock of very tame miniature goats. The tourist took a lot of pictures of S. petting the goats. We went on up the path, however improbable it was to commit ourselves to a four-hour hike. And up and up and up. (S. kept wanting to know whether Heidi had walked on this rock, or picked up that particular stick.)
looking down at Maienfeld from the beginning of the Heidiweg

more pix on flickr .
It was about as much as an old man, a fat lady and a little girl could manage. A. was the only one of us actually up for it. At about 20 minutes below the Heidihutte we were about to give up when along in a car came the man whose job it was to hang out at the hutte and impersonate Heidi's grandfather. He gave us a ride the rest of the way up.
looking down at Maienfeld from the beginning of the Heidiweg

And so we saw it, the place on the Ochsenberg where it pleases the town of Maienfeld to pretend that Heidi took place. Near enough to Jenins where Johanna Spyri summered, and near enough to any place she might have meant, if she meant any real place. There was more forest than I expected; the grass was green green green. There was no way we were continuing on to the high meadow where Peter took the goats, had Peter been real, and had this been the real hutte where Heidi lived with her grandfather. So what we saw was what we got, and it was fine. Green meadow, and forest, an astonishingly long view down into the next big valley, a small herd of artfully belled cows, and the mountain sides all around the valley looking just as I'd imagined for more than five decades.

2 comments:

ceeinbc said...

Love the description of your Heidi hike -- just as I imagined all those years ago, too. I so loved reading Heidi. I'm still amazed & often thrilled at how a well written book can bring conjure up such vivid pictures in one's mind's eye. Your pics are a lovely, bonus. Thanks for sharing your experiences with this armchair traveller, Mir! :)

Cheers,
Cee

ceeinbc said...

It's just as I had pictured it all those years ago, too! I still find it awesome how a well written book or story can conjure up such vivid, lasting images for readers.

I really enjoyed the description & pics of your Heidi hike, Mir. Thanks for sharing! :)

Cheers,
Cee