I have been more than happy to adopt the weekly photo challenge set by WordPress over this last month, and just before leaving England noticed that the subject beckoning this week was ‘refuge’. This struck me as a particularly apt topic for anyone passing time in the Alps in the middle of winter. Each day is punctuated by retreats into refuges without which the cold and snow would be so much harder to endure. You could say in fact that my week has been one long refuge, broken by occasional sorties into the big outside.
The Café du Centre on the main street has been truly at the centre of it all for me. My principal refuge is a tiny warm inviting haunt with five small tables welcoming the ebb and flow of locals and visitors. Two sisters have run the bar for the eight years I have intermittently visited. Immaculately and stylishly dressed, they stand six inches above even the tallest of customers as they froth the milk and dispense espressos. They bear such a striking resemblance to each other that they might well be twins, but I can rarely recall seeing them stand side by side to enable a proper comparison to be made.
It was their height, however, that commanded most attention in the early days. I could not recall ever having seen such Amazons: 6′ 8″ was my best guess. For a couple of years I marvelled at their height and wondered how they found such well cut jeans to fit.
One day I was leaving the café, and happened to drop a book. I turned, and bent down to pick it up. It had fallen on a step between a gap at the side end of the bar. As I raised my head, I realised the ‘step’ was in fact the floor behind the counter. The Amazons had been serving from an area raised at least 8″ above the rest of the floor.
The ladies are now the ordinary mortals they have always been, but they still serve up a mean espresso.