24 Hours Off in Paradise

As soon as the clock started ticking for my twenty four hours off I set off for a hike. The trailhead was just around the corner but I somehow managed to spend 45 minutes looking for it. I started the hike hungry, frustrated, and unfortunately, with a very honest heart rate monitor.

The Ute trail is one way to get to the top of Aspen Mountain, also known as Ajax. I’ve hiked longer and higher, but I don’t think I’ve ever done a full hike with an average heart rate of 161. That’s what it is when I run. Fast.

Like with every mountain, you spend spend long, desperate hours huffing and telling yourself it’s worthwhile, then at the summit, you spend about fifteen seconds feeling proud of yourself and another ten taking pictures and then… you’re ready to go down. Anticlimactic.

But this is Aspen. A gondola takes you down. And this is Aspen, so the gondolas play music while you ride. And – have I mentioned this is Aspen? – the music system is solar-powered. And little blond angels float around showering you with hundreds of dollars in cash…

Everyone who is not here to be blond and spend money (or to be a young Israeli and make money) is here for the Aspen Music Festival. It’s a big deal. So after my hike I headed over to the music tent to hear Mozart, Haydn and the gang. I don’t know if it’s because I was alone, because it was free or because I was so happy to be free myself, but the concert was 100% classical and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I visited the library (one of Aspen’s hot spots, in my eyes) and then strolled into an enticing little French restaurant. As if I were not a nanny but a chic young woman on vacation. My delicious crepe was overflowing with rich cheese and caramelized onions, and with my book and my surroundings, I felt very close to heaven.

The next morning I went to a yoga class. When the teacher started pouring sandalwood on us, and talking about our “inner heels” and feeling like mountains, I lost her a bit. But, so what if I was just lying down with my eyes closed and calling it a yoga pose? I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

No one stays in paradise long, though; I, too, tasted the forbidden fruit by answering my phone and heading back to work.

z

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