Far over the Misty Mountains Cold…

Sometimes you get some of the best experiences when you’re really not looking out for them; such as these photos which were taken out of the window on a scheduled flight over the Alps from Milan to Dusseldorf, late on a December afternoon last year.

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As the plane lifted out above the cloud inversion from Malpensa airport, a spectacular view was revealed, with range upon range of alpine peaks backlit by the rosy glow of the setting evening sun; the scene somewhat reminiscent of the cover of the hippy-dippy “Moonflower” album by Carlos Santana. Strangely enough though, not one of my fellow passengers so much as batted an eyelid or glanced out the window, choosing instead, to pull down their blinds as if somehow distracted by nature’s magnificent fireworks outside.

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We flew in a line that took us more or less over the Central Alps, directly over the Zermatt area on the Swiss Italian border. Mt Blanc in particular looked majestic with its plume of wave cloud caressing the summit as seen in the photo below (the big peak in the background – centre right). The large pyramidal peak in front of it is the Grand Combin, another 4000m peak, which (being a bit of a nerd) I later identified using Goggle Earth.

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Over the Christmas and New Year period it was great to actually get acquainted with the snowy peaks of the Alps again, but from a bit closer up this time.  The views below are taken from the Hochgrat mountain near Oberstaufen in the Allgäu Alps which is pretty much one of the first high ridges that you encounter when heading South from the lowlands of Bavaria. There are great vistas towards the central Allgäu, towards the Swiss Alps and the Bodensee (Lake Constance) lurking somewhere down there below the clouds.

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And an unexpected bonus – there was snow to ski !! …or simply to enjoy the mountain scenery in this beautiful part of Bavaria for a few days – as well as encountering some of the mountains’ snowier local residents perched happily on a forested hillside…

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Now sadly back here in greyer lands – without the benefit of the white stuff. However in the Allgäu I heard that more and more snow is falling today; roads are blocked and many happy kids have had the benefit of a day off school. The snowy slopes and the great majestic peaks of the Alps beckon…

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