graydonstravels.blogspot.com. He has been on some real adventures. I have said it before and I will say it again: I am a fraud of a traveler compared to Graydon.
It’s my first time here but I have been nearby in Les Diablerets. Can you imagine that in four months of Europe, the only new places I have been are just a few towns in Switzerland, a village in Hungary and Muenster, Germany? I am mainly here to visit friends, but you would think I could mix it up a little. It’s embarrassing.
Leysin has always had some resonance for me because just before my first real trip ever to Europe with my best friend, a friend of his, a guy not prone to exaggeration, sat us down and told us about his time in Leysin at a sort of commune. We were in rapt attention as he described a place where people gathered every evening around the dinner table and had exalted conversations that didn’t exist in our worlds as suburban punks. This was our romanticized idea of Europe we had wanted to see, but we never made it and I have never met anyone who knows anything about it.
Graydon is teaching at a boarding school here in Leysin. I get to eat with him in the school cafeteria, which is a paradise for a traveler, but maybe less so for those paying $60,000 a year for their kid to be here–which makes this school more expensive than Harvard.
He lives and works in the former Leysin Grand Hotel where the likes of Gandhi, Nehru, Tsar Nicholas II and Josephine Baker stayed and where the piano upon which Stravinsky composed “The Rite of Spring” sits for anyone to play.
Just down the road is the former Club Vagabond where Mick Jagger, Pierre Trudeau and David Niven once imbibed and which is now a center for Afghan refugees!
We did a hike with all the students to the top of the mountain above Leysin. After so much sitting around in Hungary I’ve been a hiking madman the last few days. Hanging out with people like Graydon and Monika, it’s good for my physical and mental health. It just goes to show that no man is an island. I should patent that phrase.