It was raining this morning in Zurmat. The clouds spilled over the mountain peaks and down into the valley, catching in the tree tops, shrouding the sleepy cliffs in a foggy layer of gossamer, cloaking the mighty Matterhorn in a heavy grey flannel .

Lower down, below the tree line, remnants of the clouds float above the rocks like steam billowing into the chilly morning air. Drizzle coated the all but empty streets, where the first grumblings of the day were building toward the impending bustle of hotel trolleys and construction lorries. It was a morning that begged for an hour mores sleep wrapped in the warmth of a white down comforters and a good night’s sleep.

Through the mist you could hear our troop approaching, speechless for once, as the low rumble of our luggage wheels on the narrow asphalt road echoed down ahead of us. A line of drowsy burros pulling their burden behind them made its way to the train station and platform number 5.

We are leaving our mountain hideaway, with its pine trees and birdsong and crisp mountain breeze, and heading back down to the crowds and the traffic and the soot of the big metropolises of Paris and London. In our leaving, I cannot help but think of Whitman and Thoreau and their appreciation of the simplicity of a life among the trees and the rivers and the grass beneath their boots. There is a wisdom beyond words in the woods, and a calm that I have no doubt could settle the most anxious of souls.

As it is, the kids are waking up and the volume of their chatter grows in steady increments, chipping away at the peace of the damp mountain morning. Already I can hear the faint echo of an iPod and the shuffle of a deck of cards as they prepare to distract themselves from the beauty passing them by outside the window of our aluminum train.