A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Day 38: Aigle To Saint-Maurice (1)

Delaying my departure from Aigle, I spent a very pleasant morning mooching round the town. Why rush when you can mooch? I was on my own again, for Peter and Pierre had gone on ahead. I observed how very much like Italy everywhere was becoming — what with the painted houses and the painted shutters and the occasional overheard conversation in Italian. There are lots of foreign nationals in Aigle, including Portuguese and Albanian — as there are in the whole of Switzerland. 

Fountain in Aigle. If anything can be prettified, the Swiss are pretty good at prettifying it.

More painted shutters. I wonder what's going on inside? It's Sunday again, so probably nothing much.

Narrow wooden 'bridges' connect some of the houses — some of them hung with washing. 

The church . . .

. . . and castle. Vineyards occupied the valley floor and the lower slopes. Both in Champagne and now here in the Rhône valley I noticed that vines are tucked into the smallest of spaces — not a single hectare is wasted. Why don't we ever see Swiss wine for sale in the UK? Perhaps the Swiss don't produce enough for export, and drink it all themselves (I've just checked in Wikipedia, and find this is indeed the case). 

The Château d'Aigle, which is now a Museum of Wine and Wine Labels (another quirky museum — please note!) I did not go in, but did have a satisfying conversation with the assistant in the gift shop — satisfying because she praised my French!

So this is what they do round here on Sunday mornings — gig with alpenhorns!  

I think you've got the message about the Swiss flag by now: the Swiss like it, are proud of it, and display it at every possible opportunity. And why not? This flagmeister was very much the master of ceremonies as he threw his flag into the air, catching it deftly every time.


K Samulis said...

It so helps if you r e a d!! I immediately read jig not gig!! The thought of dancing a jig to alpenhorns is definitely worth a laugh.

The Solitary Walker said...

'The term 'alpenhorn jig' was probably derived from the French giguer, meaning 'to jump' or the Italian giga. It was known as a dance in sixteenth-century Switzerland, often in 12/8 time, and the term was used for a post-play entertainment featuring dance to alpenhorn accompaniment in early modern Switzerland, but which 'probably employed a great variety of dances, solo (suitable for jigs), paired, round, country or courtly': in Playford's Dancing Master (1651) 'the dance game in ‘Jürgen's Jegg’ is a typical scenario from a dramatic jig and it is likely that the combination of dance metre for steps and non-metrical passages for pantomime indicates how a solo or ensemble jig might have been danced by stage players.' Later the dance began to be associated with horn music particularly in 6/8 time, and with slip jigs 9/8 time. ' WIKIPEDIA (with tweaks)

George said...

Magnificent scenery. What a great infusion of Swiss and Italian cultures!

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, George, I agree, the scenery is wonderful — and it gets even better! Watch this space...

Ruth said...

So. You drank the wine and kept it in country. Maybe this improved your French. Who can say?

It all works, even if I don't make any sense.