All posts filed under: Switzerland

Two Riders Were Approaching, the Wind Began to Howl

CHRISTMAS 2010, SOMEWHERE IN THE SWISS-GERMAN HEARTLAND I’ve never enjoyed Christmas much as a (relative) grown-up, but I loved my introduction to the European version. In Australia, backyard beers and sizzling sausages on a 30C afternoon, followed incongruously by hot, heavy — and admittedly delicious — pudding drowned in custard and littered with antique threepenny coins, had just never worked for me. But this felt like the real thing. It actually seemed possible to believe that something deeper or more meaningful than an orgy of shopping, eating and bad television was taking place in this ancient little town between Zurich and Lucerne.

Lugano: A Swiss-Italian Interlude

I’ve been sick for five days now, but I’ve enjoyed my time away from school, even so, and did a great though slow and medicinally enhanced walk yesterday. After I hit “PUBLISH” on this post I’m going to endeavour to get my sorry carcass out there to hit the magic number 50. It’s sunny and enticing, too good a Sunday to waste. I set a vague goal of 100 outings for my year here but at this rate I should exceed that.

Waist-Deep in the Weg der Schweiz

The legendary pact sowing the seeds of the Swiss Federation was signed, so the story goes, in 1291 at Rütli Meadow on the shores of Lake Uri — the Urnersee — a bay of Lake Lucerne. The significance of Rütli in the Swiss psyche was further enhanced in the dark days of WWII, when, surrounded by German (two million troops in occupied France alone!) and Italian forces, General Guisan mobilised the Swiss Army, summoning his officers to the site to outline his Reduit (“redoubt”) plan. Rütli is also the start of the 35km Weg der Schweiz (Swiss Path), opened in 1991, commemorating the 700th anniversary of the Rütli pact.

An Audience with the Queen of Mountains

I’ve had some exhilarating experiences on snow, but it’s been a volatile relationship. I’ve been unnerved by the stuff in Japan and the U.S., and I’m also not very tolerant of prolonged or extreme cold. Where most other hikers on the PCT last year claimed to love the High Sierra, I couldn’t wait to get back down on solid, clearly discernible ground. Switzerland in early winter was the setting for an occasionally testing but always magical reacquaintance.