I was in Davos, Switzerland a few weeks back doing some work for the World Economic Forum, which explains my long absence from this blog. Between preparing for Davos, being there and recovering from a week of very long days, I’ve been fairly steeped in Forum stuff since just after Christmas. It costs an estimated $40 000 to be an official delegate, between travel, accommodations and accreditation (super famous people and heads of state get a discount on the latter) and once you’re there, and have run the gauntlet of the 4 000 Swiss troops guarding the place, you’re free to go hear the Prime Minister of Japan talk about economic reform, listen to Goldie Hawn wax lyrical on mindfulness or attend one of the many many cocktail parties taking place during the course of the four-day Forum.
Not so for the worker bees. I was staying in Klosters — two buses, a train ride and a 15 minute tramp on an icy road away — and when I wasn’t note-taking at meetings, I was either traveling back and forth to the guest house, trying to find something to eat or looking for Matt Damon (who isn’t as easy to find as some would have you believe). I did manage to spot George Soros, Kofi Annan, Gordon Brown and Fareed Zakaria but that was small comfort.
I stayed in a nice little guest house in Klosters, which was festooned with snowmen for some reason. Not real ones, although there was certainly enough snow all over the place. Seriously bad art in the rooms. Ceramic clown levels of bad. The place is run by a trio of middle-aged ladies who looked enough alike to be sisters (but I don’t think they were). The head lady — Erika — had a great shock of magenta-coloured hair. Now here’s a thing. When Italian women turn 40, they all rush out and henna their hair. But because their natural hair color is dark brown (at least in Central and Southern Italy), it goes a weird shade of maroon. I remember my friend Linda (who lives in Paris) telling me once that French women over 40 all dye their hair blonde, which probably looks a bit better than maroon.
Anyway, the Bargis Gasthaus has a restaurant, which seems to be quite popular among the local citizenry. It’s always full in the evenings and since the place only has a few rooms for rent, it’s got to be mostly locals eating there. The ladies do all the cooking and then sit at a table in the kitchen cracking jokes and drinking homemade schnapps. They are hilarious. The food is very hearty and comes with great quantities of vegetables, boiled and unadorned. I had a very nice chunk of garlic-crusted lamb with rosti potatoes my last night there. I also ate lots of sausages. Never found any raclette, although I searched high and low. I bet Matt Damon found the raclette.
Anyway, if you ever go skiing in Klosters (which is apparently where the British royal family likes to conduct their winter sports), you could do worse than the Gasthaus Bargis. That’s Erika on the home page (minus the magenta hair).