I spent about 48 hours at the lovely Hotel Paxmontana in the tiny village of Flüeli-Ranft, outside Luzern Switzerland, for a research-group retreat. One of those grand countryside hotels, recently renovated, Paxmontana is nestled above a valley with a 180-degree views including two lakes and several snow-capped mountain ranges. Behind the hotel is a narrow stream valley echoing with the bells of cows grazing its with hillside pastures – and the bells of several small churches that enjoy reminding everyone of the time every 30 minutes, around the clock.
Despite our short visit, the weather and light shifted frequently – from overcast to sunny, from light drizzle to heavy snowfall – leading to opportunities to photograph the same scenery in dramatically different conditions. I attach just a couple shots here; check out the photo gallery for more.
The valley is best known as the home of Bruder Klaus, also known as Nicholas of Flüe. Born in 1417, he is the patron saint of Switzerland. “Despite being illiterate and having limited experience with the world, he is honored among both Protestants and Catholics with the permanent national unity of Switzerland.” He left his family to live as a hermit in this tiny valley, and (according to Wikipedia) had a “reputation for wisdom and piety” that caused many to travel from afar to seek his advice and counsel. Soldier, farmer, hermit, ascetic, saint – interesting fellow!