Since the in-laws have a holiday flat in Davos, we go there pretty regularly. Which is of course a great luxury – almost free holidays in sought-after mountain resort! – but honestly, it’s not where I’d naturally choose to go. I know, I know, my diamond shoes are too tight. I’m not complaining. There it is, though: Davos is too big to be charming, too small for city life, and while the flat is perfectly situated for just slipping into the forest on the slopes of Schatzalp, being high up a very steep path, it’s frankly really hard work in ski boots, or with small children, or (oh crap) both. So I’m in this odd position of spending more holiday time than we spend anywhere else in a very nice place that… well, that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself. But it’s growing on me.
I’m ambivalent about the whole holiday home concept anyway. Partly because of how it distorts the local housing market, partly because the world is so big, wouldn’t you rather spend your holidays exploring new places? But of course the advantage of returning to the same spot over and over is that it does become a sort of home, and it’s very comforting and easy knowing where things are and how to get around and what’s interesting to do. And we do keep finding new things to do. Armin’s natural inclination is to head up to the highest peaks every chance he gets, but that completely fails to charm the kids (and I have my limits too; I’m much keener on forested valleys than bleak rocky mountaintops), so we’ve been motivated to explore whatever activities are on offer. Turns out there are quite a few. This week, we took in a jazz concert in a swimming pool (no, literally: for one song they got in the pool), went on a summer sledding run, rode a few cable cars and walked a few Wanderwegen, hired a pedalo on the lake, rode big-ass scooters down 7km of valley road… and there’s still a lot to go back for. Like I say, it’s growing on me.
Davos has its own specific, rapidly changing and highly unpredictable microclimate. Every day this week, my phone predicted rain – and frequently insisted it was raining heavily right now – but every day was more or less sunny. (At least in parts. See “rapidly changing”. But what it wasn’t, was cold and rainy.) Until Friday, when my phone swore blind it was hot and hazy, while we were getting drizzled on. Makes planning a little tricky.
One of the reasons I’m not super keen on the super high mountains is that I have a little fear of, not heights, but steep slopes. Put me in a glass box a mile high and I’m totally cool with that. Same if I’m on an open platform with a nice steady handrail. But on a narrow path with a steep drop off to one side… I’m really very uncomfortable. I had thought I had mostly gotten over this, but taking small children up there has brought it up all over again, and then some. I mean. The path isn’t that narrow and it’s not like we’re facing imminent death, but those kids? They have no fear, and they have no sense. They run blindly straight toward the cliff edge. They stand with their backs to the drop and hop around. They freak. Me. Out. It’s not fun. It’s really really not fun.
Davos and I have one more little bit of history. Almost every time I’ve stayed there, by the end of the visit, I’ve gotten sick. Usually quite suddenly and intensely. (So you can see why it’s not big love between us.) This time around? First Max, then Armin, and finally Claudia came down with a shortlived but intense virus (I presume). I escaped with nothing but a sunburn and an insect bite. Both of which can be considered normal and predictable, at least for someone a bit stupid about precautions, but both of which were a notch or three up from normal on the weirdness scale. None of this interfered much with our holiday (the virus manifested as afternoon lethargy, evening fever, and was basically gone in the morning), but still, it’s weird and annoying and I want to know why that supposedly healing Magic Mountain has it in for me.