Nietzsche made me do it

For a very long time, I considered myself a Hyperborean.

In Greek mythology, the Hyperboreans are giants who live "beyond the north wind", high in unforgiving mountains, perfectly happy in seemingly unbearable conditions. The Greek poet Pindar said that "neither disease nor bitter old age is mixed in their sacred blood". I thought of this as I found myself perched on a granite escarpment at 2,400m, overlooking the Val Fex on the border between Switzerland and Italy.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 30, 2018, with the headline 'Nietzsche made me do it'. Print Edition | Subscribe