You are the only place I’ve ever visited where I smile at the thought of going uphill. It’s probably an attitude (not altitude) thing because it seems like you are always going up, raising my heart rate to levels that I’m not sure is safe. Up, up, up. And all the darn time. What I learned is going up is intentional; going down is forgettable. Up requires regular patronage to God’s beauty. It happens for me about every 83 seconds, hands on hips with labored breathing. On the way down all focus is on the next step and trying not to break a leg. It’s up where you look your best.
Have you ever seen a model or actor in person and been disappointed? Switzerland, you are the opposite. Hotter in person, for sure. Starting with the train ride into the country and then up the Swiss Alps, your reputation holds true. You are stunning, but not in the elegant and sophisticated style of Italy. No, your beauty is in your confidence and strength. Perhaps you get this from your German heritage?
I listened to the roaring water, breathed in the crisp and clean mountain air, saw for myself your spectacular snow-capped mountains surrounded by waterfalls and took in the picturesque prairies with yellows, purples, blues and reds. Yeah, you’re best experienced in person.
We quickly learned that the apartment we rented was perfectly suited for most of our meals and our activities would be powered by our own two feet. You charge $7 for a Coke, $38 for pizza, $65 for steak and $98 (per person) for a round-trip gondola ride like it’s no big deal. On the plus side, your beer is not much more expensive than a Coke. I do respect that you are expensive but not in a snotty way. The price is what it is. We felt no judgment from you even when we looked at you incredulously when you made us buy an orange trash bag for $3 and told us it was the only trash bag that would be accepted in the public trash bins. It did make us evaluate what we consumed and how much we threw away. Was that your point? If so, well-played.
Zermatt, where we spent most of our time, is surprisingly distinct and unlike the American Rockies in three ways; farming, faith and fondue (no, this is not a new political slogan for the rural aristocratic wing of the Republican party).
This original alpine village is a working farm. Cows, chicken and black-faced sheep with bells around their necks dot the surrounding hills. There actually was a black sheep in each flock we came across and it seems like they all got along. If I somehow come back to this earth as a cow or a sheep, this is the place I hope to be
Speaking of religion, your dozens of churches and crucifixes every 100 yards is a reminder that it’s acceptable to publicly display faith, even when it is increasingly unpopular to do so. Don’t ever lose your commitment to show your faith. In America, where I live, there are parts of my country where we take down all symbols of God, not to mention Christianity. It felt comforting and refreshing to us for you to acknowledge the presence of a creator whose work cannot be missed.
Finally, your fondue. Just add wine to the cheese, cut up some bread, add raclette and you are set. Everything else is optional. Other favorites include the Rosti (hash browns with all sorts of extras on top) and your German sausages. The skinny little forks are fun too.
Besides leaving our money in Switzerland, we also have left you one other parting gift; Jackson’s appendix. Don’t make that face! We had not planned on this.
As we travel around the world, safety is our top priority. Thank goodness for travel insurance or our big adventure may have ended on country number two. It all came about in the most unusual way. Saturday’s annoying pains turned into Sunday’s concern which turned into Monday evening’s surgery. No offense to Egypt or France, but it was clear that the Roaming Stones World Adventure was in a difficult position of waiting it out or addressing what was an early and worsening stage of appendicitis. Five Swiss doctors who spoke only broken English came to the same conclusion; the appendix must come out
So there you have it, we are leaving you with the most precious possession we have; part of our son. You are welcome.
I leave you, Switzerland, with some final shout-outs and, respectfully, a handful of “try harder” messages.
- Nice work on the chocolate. It was hyped and it delivered.
- Stop smoking (I told the same thing to Italy) – it’s ruining the air and your lungs.
- Good job on diversity; I had no idea who was French, who was German or who was Swiss. Your citizens could all speak English. I also found speaking German is impossible.
- We hardly saw any Italians. Milan is only three hours from Zermatt! Then again, why would you ever leave Italy?
- It’s a long story but a half-drunk citizen of yours presented me a Swiss Army Knife over a beer in Visp. He then harassed us for the next hour. All I could think was, dude, you just gave me a knife.
- I don’t wear a watch, but they all looked sweet.
- The Matterhorn. NO WORDS.
So I’m neutral on you Switzerland (see what I did there…neutral). Just kidding. You are an amazing place.