Tuesday, June 2, 2009

wistfully alps

Being distracted in class made me do it. Googled image 'alps'. European Alps one of the most beautiful things on earth. Oh well, all mountains I have seen are beautiful. 

My love affair with the mountains (only snow topped ones, mind you) began when I was a kid reading Heidi set in the Swiss Alps. When I was that age, I wished to be a shepherd strolling along, without worries on the Swiss Alpine mountainside, brushing my toes against mountain flowers (and alpine anemone, a breed of flower that apparently grows on the Alps) and drinking fresh milk and fresh butter/cheese on bread every morning after waking up from the hay bed.

It got reinforced watching the Sound of Music, set in pretty Salzburg, Austria, overlooked by the Alps again. This time I didn't want to grow up in a mansion among 6 other kids and being taught to sing in a horse driven carriage, but I did want to see the tall steeples and stone paved roads.

And again, it got reinforced during my fascination for the Second World War, when all my imagined stories were set in Austria, and victims, a innocent family whose house got burned by the Nazis.

Last, but possibly the most important one, was brought home when Sirion School started and Gabalpur, a small hill station was discovered. This is set in the Himalayas, possibly somewhere close to Mussoorie or Naini Tal and so on. 

So yeah, I have quite lost my point already, but I love mountains, like crazy. 

I will illustrate. I went to Darjeeling and Gangtok (small hill cities in the lower reaches of the Himalayas) and was very gutted because there was mist and fog and mist and fog. But then the two weeks long holiday was made when I saw the Himalayas, (Mt. Kanchengjunga, the third highest peak on earth) one early morning. I saw it only for five minutes or so when the early morning sun rays parted the cloud for that short five minutes. But that five minutes made the whole two weeks journey worth it. Very much. 

It was divine I tell you.

Anyway getting back to today and now. As I said I googled 'alps' and here are some results.

BTW here is an interesting blog I discovered about comparison between the Alps and the Himalayas:

The Alps are beautiful and dramatic, but in quite a different way to the Himalayas. They 'behave' differently, the rock is generally more stable and the snow/ice conditions are different as is the weather. NB a thunderstorm in an alpine valley is not to be missed. The only mountains I know which are "like" the Himalayas are the Southern Alps of New Zealand. They are also much smaller but the weather and conditions are more similar. It is no wonder that one of the first men up Everest was a New Zealander IMHO. 

(What the heck does IMHO even mean?)

Anyway there are more:

 For myself, nothing compares to the Himalayas. I walked part of the Annapurna circuit some years ago and saw Kangenjunga recently - but didn't have enough time to trek unfortunately. Next comes the Southern Alps (NZ) - these are definately NOT beginers mountains, but are well equiped with mountain huts and rescue teams when needed. They are VERY prone to avalanches and rock falls and the hardest work your legs will ever do is carry you across a morraine-covered glacier in this part of the world. They are also reasonably free of the commercialisation prevalent in the French/Swiss Alps, and easy to get to.


Now do you catch my excitement? New Zealand Southern Alps are similar to the Himalayas. Well here are the few pictures from Google Image search for 'Alps':




2 comments:

Navarino said...

Good good man.

i am said...

heh, so nice places man. sigh.